Hospitality bosses told of service delivery amid lingering weaknesses | The new times
The Rwanda Development Board (RDB) has revealed some weaknesses in the country’s hotel sector in the latest assessment that the institution has done on a number of hotel establishments.
In a survey conducted last month, hospitality experts from RDB visited more than 50 hotels and restaurants including 3, 4 and 5 star hotels and bars in Kigali for a week.
Hospitality establishments were assessed through mystery shopping, targeting areas such as staff preparation and work ethic, guest arrival and greeting, guest seating and menu presentation, the service (taking orders, clearing the tables after the service and the calendar), knowledge of the products by the waiters/waitresses, language skills, among others.
According to the findings, RDB indicates that there are weaknesses in a number of areas, for example, in staff preparation and ethics, where some hotel establishment staff have been observed without uniform, while others others wore a mix of uniforms and jeans or just regular clothes. .
Not wearing name badges and wearing faded uniforms were also among the issues noted, in addition to some unprofessional practices like the tendency of some staff to gather in corners to chat and sometimes forget to serve customers.
RDB also noticed problems with the arrival and reception of guests.
“In many entities, guests come and never get noticed,” the report said, adding, “A guest sits for a long time (some up to 10 minutes) without any attention from service personnel.”
“In most places no one sees you and no welcome…. No seat offer as no staff present. You will have to raise your hand or shout for someone to take care of you. Smiling is an almost non-existent practice in most of the entities visited.
The report also claims that in almost all the entities visited (except about 3), no service procedures are followed either for taking orders, serving food and drinks and even cleaning soiled tables.
“In the majority of entities visited, waiters take orders by head – no order from the captain or notepad to write down orders. In some cases, menus are not even provided. After order is taken, no server never repeats the order to ensure that it is consistent with the client’s order,” the report read.
RDB also deplored the fact that throughout the service the staff is not listening.
“Once they deliver an item (food or drink) they disappear and you have to look around for someone to help you,” it reads.
The report also cited issues in hospitality staff’s product knowledge, where many servers don’t understand menus.
“Even in the best hotels, it is difficult to have a waiter who can properly explain the buffet or the menu – it seems that this knowledge is left to the chefs. Knowledge of the menus is a big problem”, reads one .
On a positive note, RDB says it has noticed that language skills among top hotels seem to be good.
“You find waiters who can speak good English and a few who also try French ü Communication in most of the intermediate establishments is in Kinyarwanda and has good English skills,” he noted.
RDB recommended more engagement efforts with hotel owners or managers to understand their role in improving services.
He also recommended strict adherence to SoPs (standard operating procedures), as well as strengthening enforcement aspects of human resources and related regulations in the industry, and intensifying training and continued collaboration with partners.
He also alluded to the possibility of imposing severe penalties for cases of poor service delivery.
In an interview with The New Times, Nsengiyumva Barakabuye, the President of the Rwanda Hospitality Association (RHA) said that a number of measures are being taken especially during this month of May to address the glaring issues regarding attitudes , skills and customer service among workers in hospitality establishments.
He noted that they have already identified trainers to help in this regard, and these will provide refresher courses to employees at selected hospitality venues, while larger hotels (4 and 5 star) will be encouraged to carry out continuous training of their staff since they are busy.
In addition to this, he said that hotels have been asked to increase the number of employees to ensure that their employees are not overworked, so that they are efficient.