One of our favorite things to do at the Hosco is speak directly with people in the industry to learn their stories. From the USA to the UK and Europe to the Middle East, this year we’ve spoken with hospitality pros from all over the globe.
We’ve chatted with people working in world renowned establishments and others who’ve opened their own businesses to become hospitality entrepreneurs. Throughout this process we’ve been lucky to learn about a diverse range of jobs from barista to sales director.
To end the year, we’ve decided to gather some words of wisdom we received from these inspiring hospitality professionals. Sales tips, useful industry advice, philosophical musings on the meaning of hospitality–there’s bound to be at least a few of these quotes that resonate with you!
Cocktail legend Brian Silva’s advice for aspiring mixologists
“Come prepared to be a bar-back and really look after the bartenders. Check the ice, glasses, freezers, fridges, then check again, because one day when all the ingredients and kit are there, we’ll know that person is ready to be put in front of the public and that’s a real thrill.
This is one of those trades that you can have in your back pocket for the rest of your life and you’ll never be without work or contacts. You’ll become part of a tight, global community and you can travel the world on it. When someone has been with you for a while, you know when it’s time for them to go, and it’s an amazing thing to see them take flight.”
Hotel industry veteran Manual Santos on what it takes become the best at what you do
“In an organization, when you join, you always hear, the flagship hotel is that; the best director is that; the most creative person in the company is that; and the one who has the best results is that. Immediately when you join an organization, you want to know who the key players are that people talk about.
Then, you peel the onion.You start understanding why – what makes other people talk about them? Is it the result? Maybe they launched a successful concept, etc. Then you have to position yourself to be in their league – and that takes time, and it also takes courage and strategy.”
Executive Pastry Chef Kimberly Brock Brown on how to get your start in the industry
“My main piece of advice would be don’t wait until you finish culinary school to start your career. If you’re in school, get a job in the kitchen. That way, when you do finish your degree, you’ll have real world experience and truly understand how a kitchen operates. The book knowledge you gain from school is great, but it can’t replace hands-on time in a professional kitchen.
My other piece of advice would be to make as many friends and connections in the industry as possible, it’s a small community and if you get your name out there as a solid and dedicated chef, it’ll be easier to find good jobs.”
Glovo’s Executive Chef Tommaso Dainotti’s insights for hospitality newcomers
“The most important thing is to always do what makes you happy.
Choose the path you want to take, find out what makes you happy at that particular time in your life, and base every future choice you make on that. Because a happy chef is a chef who cooks better, so if a person feels today that they want to work in a Michelin-starred restaurant and then tomorrow they wake up and decide they want to change and they say to themselves: “I’m going to open an ice cream shop“, then that’s what they need to do.
Follow your dreams and, with the right application, no doubt you can do it.”
Director of International Sales Ozgur Yucesan’s tips for hotel sales success
“I would tell them to always focus on the personal touch because small things can make a big difference. The focus on creating special experiences is what makes us hospitality professionals and not just someone taking an order or providing a service.
I think storytelling is a big part of it, especially in the sales department, because when we are basically meeting with a B2B procurement or travel manager, we are telling them a story about the experience that their travelers will enjoy when they sign a contract for their guests to stay with us.
The second you create this trust, then that’s when you gain that client for a longer term, sustainable business partnership. That’s how you create your repeat business and sustain your job and living.
It all starts with listening. And after that, telling your story about the product and services, highlighting how they can benefit your client. But to build trust, you truly have to listen to their needs and tailor a proposal with options to meet their objectives and goals as much as you can.”
Regional Director of Sales and Marketing Denys Courtier on what hospitality means to him
“Passion, creativity and attitude. In hospitality we’re all on stage. You can train people to serve, to do check-ins, clean rooms, but being able to bring something extra to this world is essential.
In fact, in Paris we didn’t hire staff from the hotel schools. Instead we went to artistic schools because we wanted people who know how to move, how to express themselves and how to adapt according to the client. Americans, for example, are not like Parisians, so you need to be able to read people. This is crucial in the luxury industry.”
Event management entrepreneur Jovanka Tomasevic’s advice for rookie event planners
“It would be to know that everything comes with time and experience. You can’t go from hospitality school to planning massive events for a 5 star hotel in just a few months.
You need to be patient and know that if you work hard to gain experience and have a passion for what you do, opportunities will come your way. You just have to keep your eyes open for them.
I would never be in the position I am today with my own events business if I didn’t dedicate myself to learning and building experience in this field. I always took on new challenges and that helped me gain so much knowledge. Most of my current clients are people who knew me from my work in hotels before.”
Brewmaster Matt Boder on owning and operating a brewpub/restaurant
“It can be a bit chaotic.
We brew all of our beer on-site at our brewpub. So sometimes I will be brewing a beer then it gets really busy in the pub and I’ll have to come out of the brewery to jump behind the bar and help out.
I love being behind the bar and pouring my beer for people but when it clashes with the brewing process, it can be stressful. Even if I have to step in and help, I’m always keeping track of my timers so I can run back into the brewery when I need to.
One of my favorite things about owning my own brewpub and making our beer on-site is that I can see how people feel about the beer first hand. It’s really special to be able to make a beer and then watch people enjoy it in real time.
It also gives me the opportunity to talk to my customers and get their feedback. Getting direct feedback like that can really help you understand what works and why so you can continue putting out beer that people go crazy for.”
Craft beer expert Tommy Hahs on helping customers choose the right beer
“The challenging thing is that there are layers to craft beer drinkers. There’s people that don’t really drink beer but they’re in Portland and they want the beer experience. There’s casual and regular beer drinkers in the middle, who like craft beer but aren’t obsessed with it. Then there’s the beer nerds who come in to try something new from an obscure brewery they can’t get anywhere else.
I have to figure out which category a person falls into and try to speak to them in terms they’ll understand. We have so many beers to choose from that they’re bound to find something they like. I’m just here to help navigate the menu.
But, I always try to be quick about it. Any good bartender or server knows the faster you help someone decide, the sooner you can turn people over and make more tips.”
Coffee shop manager Fefe Schillagi on why being a barista is such an interesting job
“I guess the closest job would be a bartender. You serve drinks, there’s regulars, people want to discuss their problems with you. I definitely find myself in that classic pose–leaning on the counter, cleaning a glass and listening to someone’s story. You’re kind of like a therapist.
But the big difference about being a barista is that you see people first thing in the morning. Often they haven’t even brushed their teeth or are properly dressed for the day. Sometimes, I’m the first person they see.
So, I get to observe my customers kind of like a social experiment. Some people really need coffee and it affects their mood when they don’t have it. I see people who are quiet or cold in the morning and then come back later in the day acting completely different.
I’m a tarot reader so I’m interested in mystic, astrological ways of looking at things. I always thought that the moon’s phases affected people but I never had evidence. Then during the last eclipse, everyone was always talking about how bad they felt or how they didn’t sleep well. I don’t think you really get that with any other type of hospitality–it’s unique to being a barista early in the morning.”