Hotel Food and Beverage Cost Term Paper

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In this regard, Neely advises that a "Menu has to deliver the desired target food margin percentage whilst offering a variety of tastes across a range of price points, and conform to the expectations of the brand concept" (252).

Storeroom Control. Clearly, without adequate security procedures in place, a hotel's storeroom can turn into a major center for pilferage and other shrinkage. Key control is essential to this security if electronic locks are not in place (Sunstrom 59). If physical keys are used, or a combination of approaches is elected, Sunstrom recommends that the key numbering system follow that recommended by the American Hardware Association (AHA). Under the AHAs system, the grand master key is designated with a single upper-case letter; the next level of master keys would be the previous letter designation and another letter. Change keys (these are single keys that operate a single door) are designated with a combination of letters and numbers. Special purpose keys, such as A1, A2, are used when it is desirable for the grand master and a change key to both operate a door; Sunstrom points out that this type of locking arrangement might be used on a storeroom or private office (59).

This author also recommends that the security manager know all personnel who have access to key cutting equipment located on the property because, "Most common key blanks can be purchased at a local hardware or discount store. An employee may purchase blanks and then use the property's equipment to cut the keys. This is especially likely if the property has an effective key control program where keys cannot be taken off the property and where all blanks are controlled" (Sunstrom 60). Ideally, the equipment used for key cutting should be kept in a locked cabinet; if this is not possible, Sunstrom suggests removing a critical part of the key cutting equipment, such as the drive belt, and securing it elsewhere (60).

At any rate, "A problem faced by most security professionals in the lodging industry is the question of who gets to take keys for the property home and who has to turn keys in daily. The number of employees authorized to take keys off the property must be kept to an absolute minimum," and comparable security measures must be taken for electronic key cards as well (Sunstrom 60).

Food Production. For example, Gary Alan Fine (1996) reports that, "In particular, chefs, because of the managerial demands made of them, must be skilled in many different types of tasks. This range is exemplified in a phrase, often repeated, that 'a chef is many things,' claiming multiple intelligences necessary for occupational success" (91). Because each hotel setting is unique, food production management requirements will vary; furthermore, depending on the type and quality of food under production, portion control and food costs may become problematic. In this regard, Fine points out that: "Professionalism is embedded in the choices of work. Cooks take professional pride when experience and expertise permit them to cook without relying on recipes, using approximate amounts. To an observer, their informal judging of ingredients is impressive and to a diner, worrisome. The cooks at the better restaurants taste their creations and correct them if needed" (91). Further complicating the management of food production in some hotels is that fact that many management-chef relationships are anecdotally problematic as a result of the independence and power of top chefs in the hotel hierarchy (Atkinson & Butcher 25).

Beverage and Bar Control Laws. These laws vary from state to state, so it is important for the management of any hospitality establishment that serves alcohol to be aware of the controlling legislation in their state and locality. Indeed, those in the hospitality industry who seek to serve alcoholic beverages can be held liable for what happens to their clientele. For example, in his essay, "One for the Road," Mark H. Beaudry (1997) points out that:

Hotels and restaurants put themselves at risk each time they serve a customer beer, wine, or liquor. An intoxicated patron can slip and fall, get into a car accident, injure another guest, or get involved in any number of altercations that could lead to a costly lawsuit against the company. In many states, restaurants and hotels can be held liable for an intoxicated customer's actions, even if those actions occur off the company's premises. The result can be the loss of millions of dollars and the business's liquor license. (80)

Notwithstanding the risks involved, the profitability of alcoholic beverage sales and the investment made in the infrastructures required to serve it means that most hotels and restaurants cannot afford to discontinue its sales. Therefore, it is the responsibility of hotel security manager to ensure that procedures are in place to help minimize the risk of alcohol-related incidents. According to Beaudry, alcohol awareness training programs are a valuable technique that a hotel's management can use to educate workers about how to prevent and recognize intoxication as well as how to handle an already intoxicated customer before someone gets injured. Today, the majority of states leave it up to the individual hotel or chain to decide whether to conduct an alcohol awareness program for their employees; however, the trend is that more and more state and local governments are beginning to require that companies provide such awareness training for bartenders, waiters, waitresses, and other employees involved in the sale of beer, wine, and liquor (Beaudry 80). The Educational Foundation of the National Restaurant Association reports that alcohol awareness training is now required in Alaska, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, and Washington state; of these states, Oregon, Delaware, and Hawaii have developed specific state-developed programs that must be used, while Utah has adopted standards that must be included in a company's training program.

Five other states (Texas, Wisconsin, Illinois, Florida, and Arizona) do not currently require corporations to provide alcohol awareness training; however, these states have developed standards that must be part of any program given (Beaudry 80). Besides the foregoing states, a number of local municipalities also have specific requirements; for instance, Clark County, Nevada, home of Las Vegas, mandates that all companies conduct alcohol awareness training by county-approved instructors (Beaudry 81).

This author recommends that the first step towards implementing any alcohol-awareness program in a hotel is to compose a short but strongly worded policy that clearly sets forth the intended corporate mission to serve alcohol in a safe and responsible manner. According to Beaudry, "The policy must be signed and supported by the chief executive officer to send a strong message from the top that the corporation will not tolerate irresponsible service. The policy should be distributed to all company departments and be part of the employee manual" (81).

Food Service. A final consideration for those involved in the preparation and sale of food items is, of course, the actual food service involved. Following the hotel industry's record losses during 1995, it has been "looking for innovative food and beverage concepts intended to first and foremost make the hotel a center community" (Lee 38). The American Hotel and Motel Association Hotel suggests that a hotel's food service "must be good enough to lure guests downstairs and innovative enough to keep them from walking out the door" (Lee 38). Furthermore, Cetron, De Micco and Williams (1996) point out that today, restaurants and other food-service enterprises who ignore these trends do so at their peril because the food service industry is big business. In fact, by the year 2000, there were more than 750,000 locations that offered food service in the United States, with sales of over $350 billion (representing approximately 4.5% of U.S. gross domestic product), and more than half of all consumer food dollars will be spent eating out (8).

In this regard, the president and chief executive officer of the National Restaurant Association, Herman Cain, maintains that better food has both local customers and travelers alike returning to hotel restaurants in record numbers: "Many restaurants in hotels are extremely competitive in both the quality of food served and the dining service" (Lee 38). Furthermore, properly managed, a hotel's food service represents a major profit center; poorly operated, though, the food service component can doom an entire hotel chain (Baum & Ingram 69). There is a near universal consensus that hotel food service must take local tastes and preferences into account, even if a specialty menu is in place (Lothar 7). This author also recommends that portion control methods be followed scrupulously, and that the restaurant's hours of operation be prominently posted in conspicuous points throughout the hotel and in the guest rooms.

Conclusion.

The research showed that the success of hotel's food service component today depends in large part on identifying and responding to local menu preferences, effectively controlling costs, establishing timely budgets, and pricing goods as accurately as possible. The research also showed that hotels that feature quality food service are well…[continue]

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