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Career Connections: Hospitality Management

9 minutes

(male) Do you know what hospitality is? Hospitality is the friendly reception and treatment of customers at a place of business. Your overall perception of restaurants, events, even going to the movies, is partially shaped by how you're treated at these venues. We will talk with several individuals and look deeper into the world of hospitality management and learn a little more about this career path.

(female) Getting ready for a guest-- it's an ongoing process. The things that delight me are crisp, pressed, percale sheets, fresh-cut flowers, rooms that are meticulously clean. I have so many guests that return repeatedly, you get to understand what they need or want. You anticipate that. Some people are on business, some are here for a month. Every guest is different. I am responsible for making sure they are happy and feel welcome in my restaurant. In terms of hospitality, you have to bring yourself in and realize the experience is not about you, it's about your guests. An average day would probably consist of constantly returning phone calls, time management, knowing what phone call to return, what email to return, answering emails. Every morning, I have probably an average of 15 to 30 emails in my inbox-- things to go through, people wanting information about what a wedding planner does, former clients seeking a reply to a follow-up from a meeting.

The accounting, business, and home economics classes, classes that taught how to figure out a recipe, how to balance your checkbook. But I think having the history of why certain religions have certain beliefs were core for me because so many wedding ceremonies are based on tradition and religion. They have to talk. They've got to talk and have speech. Speech and math are very important because they've gotta know for budgets and other things. They've gotta know what things cost, what they're gonna charge. That's very important. You don't price something at $1.25 when it costs $1.00.

(Rodgers) For myself, take as many art courses as you possibly could. All the visual input impacts the guests.

You have to know what will work and what will not work. Our job is staying ahead of problems. Art classes will be really important. Learning the color wheel and knowing what colors match create a nice continuity throughout events. The way things are laid out, i.e., your candy, display, what you see behind me. It must be pleasing. You have to sell them pop, not just show you have pop. In the decorative arts, you could certainly learn things and your eye could be trained to see things differently. I try to set up an environment that someone's totally relaxed and comfortable in.

You have to understand numbers, whether you're buying something, you're pricing it out, you're trying to calculate what your percentages are, figuring your sales tax for the day. Whatever it is you're doing, math is important. I mean, how to charge people for something. They bought 24 units and they're $5.00 each. How much is that? You've gotta be able to tell right away what that is.

(Lauber-Cobb) It's a constant factor in my everyday workload. I have-- in different areas-- I have to know how to pay my coordinators hourly. We calculate taxes and what percentages to have to take out of their paychecks. We have a payroll area in back of the house. It's important keep up with the finances and know whether things can or can't be afforded.

One thing that I wish, if I could do over again, is to speak another language. I can only imagine something as satisfying than speaking to someone in their language. We cater to everyone here. Sometimes we might have a wedding reception-- a Jewish wedding ceremony. But their customs, religion-- what is important? World languages are very important as to different things that walk in the door. If you're talking with Polish people, you have Indian people, Spanish, whatever, you need to take care of their needs. We're a melting pot in the United States. You're going to run into Hindus and Asians and Ghanaians. You might have Jewish people that speak Hebrew. I think it's so important that we offer more, that we're willing to take that extra step to learn what it is that that person represents and what customs that they have.

Customer service is what hospitality is all about. You've got to make sure you have good customer service or you won't be in business long. I like to make people happy. I hire high school students. I hire when they're a junior. When they go to college, they know what to do. I like that about my job. The part I enjoy the most is absolutely paying attention to the details and making things beautiful. If it's someone for a night, a week, or a month, they feel like they're in heaven. So I'm always thinking, I'm always creating, I'm always coming up with another way. You pay attention to your guests. The sense of accomplishment when that bride walks down the aisle or dinner is served in 20 minutes and the night is progressing smoothly. I have a real need for pleasing people and I am a total-- You have to be in this field-- In this field, you must be a people-pleaser. It comes with time and really reading people and just being kind and doing to people how you would like to be treated.

Funding to purchase and make this educational production accessible was provided by the U.S. Department of Education:

PH: 1-800-USA-LEARN (V) or WEB: www.ed.gov.

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Hospitality-related careers include bed-and-breakfast manager, wedding planner, and restaurant owner. Viewers will understand that both the fine arts and financial literacy are important in this line of work. Part of the "Career Connections" series.

Media Details

Runtime: 9 minutes

Career Connections
Episode 1
5 minutes
Grade Level: 7 - 12
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Episode 2
6 minutes
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Episode 3
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Episode 8
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