Next Mini Conference
for Upscale Restaurant Owners and Executives
To Be Announced
Topic of Discussion
Cooperating with upscale restaurants to raise the level of hospitality by using creative and thoughtfull...

Concepts, Methods and tools will be discussed to raise hospitality to an exceptional level. read more

2014 Hospie Winners
San Fernando Valley
& Pasadena
Ventura County Westlake Village
& Agoura Hills
Briana Feehan
11334 Moorpark St
Studio City, California
Michael Robb
Lure Fish House
60 S California St
Ventura, California
Kris Johnson
Trattoria Neapolis
336 S Lake Ave
Pasadena, California
Quintin Bauerle
Tuscany il Ristorante
968 S Westlake Blvd
Westlake Village, California
Timnesha Solise
Ruth’s Chris Steak House
6100 Topanga Canyon Blvd
Woodland Hills, California
Shelby Borg
La Dolce Vita
740 S B St
Oxnard, California
Coach's Corner
Restaurant Owners Just Don't Get It...
Sean McGillivray
When I recently asked Hospie candidates to tell me how they would define hospitality, I was quite surprised to observe how many had difficulty giving me a clear and concise answer. Often they would confuse service and hospitality. It was also common to have individuals from the same restaurant have quite different definitions of each.
In school, the starting point with any subject is first to understand the language of a subject including important definitions. At upscale restaurants, it is not possible to have an exceptional level of hospitality consistently delivered to each guest unless staff and management are speaking the same "Hospitality" language.
Hospitality has several important layers that must be considered, examined and understood by all concerned if the highest level of hospitality is to be delivered to guests. In this column, I will discuss several of those layers.
Hire people who connect… the first layer
In our several years of research on this subject, restaurant people repeatedly told me there were some individuals with whom they worked really well and there were others with whom they simply did not. It became clearly apparent that restaurants paid little attention to considering staff and management hospitality during the hiring process.

Where an individual previously worked often was the determining selection factor. The fact of the matter is where an individual previously worked has little or nothing to do with their compatibility with existing colleagues.
Recruiting first to principles, then to the restaurant vision collaboratively with existing key staff members will provide a solid foundation for developing exceptional hospitality.
Avoid the management "wet blanket"... the second layer
In recent focus groups with individuals who worked at more than 300 upscale restaurants we received no stronger message than the impact a negative or disrespectful restaurant owner or manager can have on their staff.
This proverbial "wet blanket" will stifle even the best efforts of a great staff attempting to deliver a high level of hospitality. Management must understand the complexities of delivering exceptional hospitality including their role in providing an excellent workplace environment.
Hospitality between staff members… the third layer
Consistent with the first two layers of the "hospitality recipe" the third layer naturally follows and sets the stage for implementation with actual restaurant guests. Hospitality extended by each and every member of staff and management to each other is a critical ingredient to the recipe of delivering exceptional hospitality to guests.

Exceptional hospitality cannot be turned on and off like a switch controlling light or sound. Rather, it is best delivered from an environment in which all members of management and staff continuously demonstrate courtesy, graciousness and genuine interest in the work of each other.
We have observed the impact of a negative exchange between staff or management and their subsequent inability to deliver exceptional hospitality. On the other hand and conversely, the positive exchange between staff or management can have a marvelous effect on their ability to deliver that high level of hospitality.

Extending hospitality between all management and staff members is a practice that should be developed, reinforced and rewarded. It begins with the welcome each person extends to each other and continues throughout the shift.
Precise hospitality concepts, skills and tools… the fourth layer
With the first three important layers of hospitality in place, we are now ready to move on to the next step… teaching the concepts, skills and tools to be used when extending hospitality to guests. This process is far too detailed to cover in this column and is the focus of our cooperative development classes.

In short, four of the fundamental skill categories that should be implemented are; (1) the welcome (2) the approach pause (3) the taste standard (4) integrated hospitality.
Each of these skill categories requires understanding, development and practice. Just as an orchestra or athletic team must work effectively together, a restaurant should also work together to deliver hospitality as a team. Great teams and orchestras practice together to make their performances exceptional. Upscale restaurants are no different.

Virginia Rometty the IBM CEO believes that analytics will provide the biggest marketing edge for businesses in the next decade. Restaurants should use analytics as a tool to measure, monitor & track the level of hospitality extended to their guests.

I will have more on the subject of analytics in my next column.

Previous Newsletters      
As a former financial, hockey and now a coach of Upscale Restaurants, Sean believes the key to developing exceptional restaurant hospitality lies in coaching. This column will consider thoughtful, creative and innovative subjects.

You may schedule Sean or one of his colleagues to demonstrate hospitality methods and tools at your restaurant. Contact Sean at