The Pawns of the Hospitality Industry!
With Covid around us heads will roll – no doubt about it. And what are a few heads if we have so many? Let’s learn from the game of chess to prioritise, gain perspective and rule the end game.
Pawn, Bishop, Castle, Queen, King??? Which is the weakest piece on the chess board? Did you say ‘pawn’? The answer will surprise you. It’s actually the KING that’s by far the weakest! The King can hardly defend himself and if he’s trapped (check mate) – game over.
Philidor (an 18th century Chessmaster)! “Play the pawns well; they are the soul of chess: it is they which uniquely determine the attack and the defense, and on their good or bad arrangement depends entirely the winning or losing of the game”
Business is a lot like chess but in the same way some of us misjudge who is the weakest and who is the most powerful. Take the hospitality industry we often undermine the capability and impact created by our front end personnel; Waiters – Housekeepers – Security Guards… . They are the ones who directly interact with the guests! And if we learn to play these ‘pawns’ well we can defend our King (business owners/ shareholders/ stakeholders) and win. But we have to master the ‘pawn game’, that is learn to value and use our frontline personnel right.
Things WAITERS have in common with PAWNS
1. Pawns engage the most with the opposition while your waiters and housekeepers engage most with the guest.
2. Pawns do the majority of the simple work, and so they’re the highest in number. In a restaurant or hotel we have maximum waiters, housekeepers, front office personnel compared to Managers.
3. Chess matches are lost if we take a captured pawn or two for granted. Hotel groups too focus on papering and training executives and management while ignoring inefficiencies of the front line team or even the loss of a few.
4. In chess when attacking or defending the pawn needs support of each other and a bigger piece. In hotels the frontline team needs teamwork which includes the of seniors.
6. As a pawn moves forward, if they make it to the end safely. they now become ‘Queen’ – the most powerful piece! Similarly as our waiters gain experience and master the craft they must be promoted. In his book ‘Good to Great’, Jim Collins research showed that internal promotions are far more likely to be successful in comparison to hiring someone from outside the system.
Remember that your customer-facing personnel (Waiters, Front Office Staff, and Housekeepers) make the biggest impact on your business. The way they handle customers brings in sales and makes or breaks your brand. Are they motivated and trained to convert walk-in customers to loyal patrons?
Covid or no Covid! Focus on your pawns and you will master the game – in the end. Check — mate?