I have been working in the hospitality industry for almost six years now and I can tell you: Fiesta! I am enjoying my work and I am working in a great team, but sometimes it is comparable to a horror. Do not forget, you always have to smile, because ‘the guest is king’. Since complaining-free-Monday (yes, last Monday it was the so-called ‘klaagvrije maandag’) is behind us, I will share some juicy – and complaining – stories about my life as a waitress at a restaurant with you, before I am going to the serious – mandatory – part of this blog.
First of all, I am bombed with rhetorical questions as: “Can we eat something here”? What do I think when I get that question? Well: “Of course not! We are selling bikes sir”. Or: “Do you have a toilet?” My thoughts: “No we are all peeing outside in the bushes!” As a waitress, I have to answer all those questions politely. Working in the hospitality is a profession.
However, I am not finished yet. Things as: may I have a white Chardonnay? (Chardonnay exist only in a white wine), I would like to have a Baco-Cola (It is Bacardi-Cola or, the abbreviation, Baco), and – my favorite – a Bailays on the rocks without ice please (on the rocks is WITH ice), such things could be funny sometimes, but are mostly quite annoying; like really annoying. For some comments as: “Wauuuuuw that looks tasty!” I got my standard reply as: “Thank you, and what do you think of the food?”
Another situation that commonly occurs is when you are welcoming a guest and asks: “Good evening, do you have a reservation?”, which is followed by a look as if I am talking Chinese. Those guests are typical people who think that making a reservation is needless, especially on the Saturday evening.
People who never know if they want something to drink illustrate another example. Guest Dracula orders another drink, while I am asking whether someone else wants something to drink, and – you can guess – no reaction. A bit later I am serving the ordered drink and Guest Dracula 2.0 decides to order a drink, no problem! I am asking again: “Does someone else want something to drink?” And – again – no reaction. Well, you can guess one more time… Guest Dracula 3.0 decides to order a mineral water when I come back with the ordered drink, for the third time.
However, I will finish this complaining-Wednesday and continue with the serious – mandatory – part. Many hospitality organizations are facing some schedule problems on a weekly basis since they are working with many part-time employees. Examples of schedule problems are (1) arranging replacement and (2) reaching all employees at once for some important information.
We have no control over the behavior of the guests, but we can partly control the schedule problems by increasing the efficiency and effectiveness. Last year, a helpful and easy-to-use application regarding schedule problems is introduced: Flex-Appeal. Flex-Appeal includes the feature Flexchange, a simple planning tool that is able to work alongside each planning system. Mostly planning systems can only schedule employees. However, after the scheduling, the real hassle will show up: (1) employees who – after closer inspection – cannot work, (2) sickness cases or (3) regarding the reservations it will be extra busy and you need an extra employee. Flexchange captures this. Some features are:
- Replacement Calls: place an extra shift to the right group of employees quickly. The system will show an indication of the salary to potential replacement employees, what motivates them to take the shift.
- Swap Shifts of Employees: by using the Flexchange, employees can find a replacement for a certain shift quickly. They manually insert the shift in which they cannot work. In that case, the application will send a message to all colleagues who may take over the shift.
- Summary of Changes: the employer has an overview of all the changes that take place in one week and is able to approve or reject these changes (Flex-Appeal, 2015).
A benefit of this award winning system (ING, 2014) is that it can be applied to many devices, like smartphones and tablets instead of only the PC. Currently, my working hours are scheduled and denoted by making use of a pen and paper. When I cannot work, it is a time consuming task to find a replacement. In my opinion, Flex-Appeal is a great application and makes the tasks more efficient – it is practically in use – and more effective since you got what you want quite quickly. Of course it is not only applicable at hospitality horrorganisations but also, i.e., supermarkets and call centers. What do you guys think of this application?
“An application that connects colleagues“