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The Mysterious Case of the Non-Hospitable Hostess

The Mysterious Case of the Non-Hospitable Hostess

I’m at the St. Regis, one of the high-end hotels in New York City. I went for breakfast, and there were six tables occupied, the hostess showing me to mine. Yet there was only a single waiter on duty, apparently, and he was hustling, very polite and very efficient, but things took longer than normal.

As the hostess passed by I said, “Is he the only one on duty?” and she said, “Yes” and never stopped walking. She never offered to get me something, to pour some coffee, to fetch some juice, both of which were a few feet away from her. She didn’t care, her job was finished, I was in a sitting position.

Her hair and makeup were in place, and she was carefully put together. But she saw her job solely as “seating people” and not “maximizing the dining experience.” She was focused on a singular task, not a business outcome for her organization. Her manager is at fault, but so is she. It only takes common sense to understand that you should look beyond your nose and that pouring coffee is neither demeaning nor something that demands special training. Assuming you have a working brain.

Written by

Alan Weiss is a consultant, speaker, and author of over 60 books. His consulting firm, Summit Consulting Group, Inc., has attracted clients from over 500 leading organizations around the world.

Comments: 2

  • December 18, 2019

    The word ‘host” has become a noun and not a verb. The Host position in most Hospitality businesses has been broken for some time. I’ve been ranting about this for 4 decades. Technology just worsens the breakage since they now just stare at a screen and grab menus. It’s transactional thinking run amok in Hospitality.

  • Alan Weiss

    December 18, 2019

    That’s a great insight. They’re focused on a single, narrow task. And now many have “seaters” and the host doesn’t even leave the podium.

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