How to choose a heart of the house hospitality management firm
by Steve Wilson, President and CEO of The Service Companies
- What services does the firm provide?
The largest firms offer all back of the house services including turnkey housekeeping, stewarding, kitchen cleaning, casino cleaning, security, landscaping, laundry management and valet parking services. A one stop shop helps coordination and requires less management time.
- What does the firm say about quality guarantees? Ask for service benchmarks, and better yet, a guarantee that those benchmarks will be met.
- Does the firm specialize in hospitality and your market segment? Specialization can translate into saving and time and money.
- What cost savings can we anticipate? Depending on the number of services chosen, savings can be anywhere from several percentage points to up to 20%.
- Who handles immigration and other governmental regulations and who is liable if there are problems? You want your company to handle all government and workplace checks including drug testing and background checks for immigration and criminal records. If they do this, they're liable in the event of any issues, which is what you want.
- How well does the firm treat its employees in terms of opportunities to participate in retirement plans, health insurance, discount programs and training? The best firms have high employee satisfaction and employees with a sense of pride in their work. They need to feel the company is looking out for them in all respects – from benefits to professional training and career development. Companies with training programs should be a must.
- Other factors to consider:
- Longevity in business This is usually for the long term, so you want minimum risk with the company you're doing business with. A fairly new company might make a lower bid, but there's a risk in business continuity that should be considered.
- Financial stability. Try to find out about the ownership. Is this an organization that is well capitalized, that can invest in its personnel, and will it be around for the long term?
- Ability to handle spikes in demand. Has the firm's track record indicated they can grow with clients? Ask for case studies and client references and longevity with clients.
- Management's credentials. Have senior executives been in the industry? Industry knowledge shortens the learning curve and minimizes stress.
- Will current employees be retained and if so, at what pay rate? Maintaining current employees and using the hospitality management company to "add to" staff in the beginning will make for a smooth transition and help keep any staffing problems to a minimum.
About the author:
Steve Wilson is the President and CEO of The Service Companies (TSC), a one-stop-shop for heart of the house management in the hotel, casino and vacation ownership industries. The 24 year old TSC today serves nearly 400 properties in 40 states, the Caribbean and Mexico with 6000 employees. Before joining TSC, Wilson spent 20 years with Hyatt Hotels including general manager positions at several high-profile domestic properties.