Running an F&B business? Get the best Operations Excellence tips from the Hospitality Industry

Every time we book into a five-star luxury hotel, we expect a certain level of service delivery. The way standards are upheld across individual properties worldwide is no mean feat. At Astreem, we believe that while growth and expansion are important aspects of growth, the ability to maintain operations excellence is critical in sustaining hard-earned growth.

Operations excellence in hospitality is crucial for providing high-quality service, optimizing efficiency, and ensuring guest satisfaction. This involves a combination of effective management, streamlined processes, and a commitment to continuous improvement. By and large, the hospitality and tourism industry sets the bar for quality operations, and we thought there might be some insights on operations excellence to be gleaned from seasoned hoteliers.

We met with a few Hoteliers to ask how they manage Operations excellence in their properties, often with a 500-800-strong team supporting the daily operations. While different Hotel Brands placed emphasis on different areas, operations excellence still surrounded the framework of mindset, skill set, and Tools set.

Operations Excellence

More than a methodology, it is a culture.


Regardless of the brand, everyone we spoke to started at the level of “Mindset,” which stems from the organization’s core Brand promise and culture. Being able to articulate and demonstrate the brand promise to every individual across every department and level of the organization is key to ensuring service levels are being met.

The people are the oil that delivers the Hotel’s brand values, and ensuring the right cultural fit of every employee makes this possible. The right mindset starts with the brand statement of the entire organization.

For example, Ritz-Carlton strongly emphasizes empowering employees to make decisions that enhance the guest experience. This empowerment is guided by the company’s motto: “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.”

The Ritz-Carlton, a renowned luxury hotel chain, has left an indelible mark in pop culture through its appearances in literature such as E.B. White’s “The Trumpet and the Swan” and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Diamond as Big as the Ritz.” Its prominence in both the literary and hospitality worlds underscores its esteemed reputation.

Exclusive hotels like The Ritz-Carlton and Four Seasons contribute to their high room rates. Factors such as the extensive staff required to maintain exceptional service, operational overheads, prime locations, and customer demand play pivotal roles. These hotels prioritize customer experience, evident in their commitment to employee empowerment. Empowered staff members are better equipped to exceed guest expectations, enhancing the overall guest experience.

In the business world, The Ritz-Carlton’s emphasis on employee empowerment serves as a model for business leaders and business teams. By prioritizing employee satisfaction and empowerment, businesses can elevate their customer service standards and solidify their position as industry leaders.

Other larger chain hotels that belong to the Marriott International group center around the concept of “Travel Brilliantly,” while other brands may have more generic Cultural statements.

However, brand promises are only statements, and when they are put into action, they can be futile in delivering customer service expectations. As emphasized by Mr. Pratik Vashisht, Director of Rooms at St Regis, “ Execution is very important. 40% well done is better than 100% well said.” (clip)

Mr. Abhishek Panshikar of The Oberoi Group says, “ The culture of an organization is what defines a place, a hotel, an organization. The litmus test on how a department operates is when the manager is NOT there”.

People in Hospitality Management

From grassroots to management: Every level plays its part in delivering exceptional service.


Across the board, the experts we spoke to cited that a Stakeholder-Centric Approach that prioritizes customer needs and expectations, offers personalized and collects feedback for continuous improvement.

At the Oberoi, the Vice President and General Manager, Mr. Abhishek Panshikar, shared that the culture of stakeholder satisfaction encompasses not only the guests but also the team. Taking care of the team and providing an environment that sets the team up for success is a priority. What matters to the team matters to the management.

Considering the number of hours a team member spends on the property, it is of great importance that the team is well nourished and that these meals are moments to look forward to.  Committees are set up and evaluations are done as part of our business strategy to ensure the team is delighted with the care they are provided so that they can go on to extend care for their guests.

Communicating the brand promise is important, but hiring a team with the right culture fit cannot be undervalued. Potential hires at the Oberoi go through three rounds of interviews. The first round is with the group’s Human resources, where the prospect goes through a Hygiene check. Then, they are evaluated by the Heads of Department for a competency check.

Finally, the General Manager responsible for the property meets each prospect for culture fit, thereby providing a holistic process to increase the success of individuals who join the team.

In order to keep pace with changing trends and expectations, a culture of continuous improvement is needed. This can be cultivated by encouraging feedback and innovation from both guests and the team.

People in the Hospitality Management

Excellence in hospitality: where best practices create unforgettable guest experiences, nurture loyalty, and uphold consistent service standards.


Best Practices and Efficient Processes:

Best practices in hospitality are essential for delivering exceptional guest experiences, fostering customer loyalty, and ensuring that great guest experiences are consistently delivered. Streamline operational workflows to reduce wait times and increase efficiency.

Aligned Scorecards

Across different hotels, we found that many hotels and hospitality businesses utilize the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) as a strategic management tool to achieve operational excellence and improve overall performance.

The Balanced Scorecard is a performance measurement framework that goes beyond traditional financial metrics to include a balanced set of key performance indicators (KPIs) across various perspectives. These perspectives typically include financial, customer, internal processes, and learning and growth.

Some major areas include:

  1. Financial Perspective:
    • Track financial indicators such as revenue, profit margins, and return on investment.
    • Set financial goals aligned with the overall strategic objectives of the hotel.
    • Track market share compared to competitors
  2. Customer Perspective:
    • Measure customer satisfaction and loyalty through guest feedback, reviews, and surveys.
    • Monitor metrics related to occupancy rates, repeat business, and customer retention.
  3. Internal Compliance  Processes Perspective:
    • Identify and optimize key internal processes that directly impact the guest experience, such as check-in/check-out processes, housekeeping efficiency, and service delivery.
    • Monitor operational efficiency and effectiveness in delivering services.
  4. Learning and Growth Perspective:
    • Assess employee training and development programs to ensure a skilled and motivated workforce.
    • Track employee satisfaction and engagement as indicators of the hotel’s internal health
  5. Sustainability Perspective

For many hotel chains, integrating sustainability into the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) has become increasingly a priority as organizations recognize the importance of environmental and social responsibility.

  • Return on Investment (ROI) of Sustainability: Assess the financial benefits and ROI of sustainability initiatives, considering factors like energy savings, reduced waste disposal costs, and increased customer loyalty
  • Number of Eco-Conscious Guests: Track the number of guests who actively choose the hotel because of its sustainability practices
  • Certifications and Compliance: Track the hotel’s compliance with environmental certifications (e.g., LEED, Green Key) and adherence to sustainability standards
  • Employee Engagement in Sustainability Initiatives: Measure employee engagement in sustainability initiatives and their involvement in identifying and implementing sustainable practices

A well-designed scorecard is important to ensure all points are aligned across the organization. This means that the KPIs start at the Headquarters and are then transposed at every point for the next level of execution. This way, when every level of the organization is performing up to its KPIs, the objectives on the next level are also aligned. As described by Mr Pratik Vishist of St Regis, “Our KPIs are designed in a way that sets people up for success, not failures.”

Staff Training and Development

To ensure that the staff are prepared and ready to deliver the guest experience, a program of comprehensive training  must be designed and executed to ensure they understand their roles and responsibilities.

Well trained team means everyone knows what to do and are at a level where they can be eMPowered to delight guests. In the case of the Oberoi group, M stands for Meaningful and P stands for Personalized. In a recent stay at the hotel, I experienced firsthand the flawless execution of this level of meaningful personalization.

People in Hospitality Management

Empower employees to handle guest issues promptly and effectively.


Technology Integration in different areas of hospitality industry operations can reduce repetitive manual tasks. Most hotels adopt technology solutions for reservations, check-ins, and guest services, usually in the form of a property management system (PMS), to streamline operations.

These data analytics to gain insights into guest preferences and operational efficiency.

To help execute the training program, hotels leverage technology to contain content, roll out individual customized training modules, and track progress on a digital platform. This competitive advantage ensures that consistent training programs are systematically rolled out to new team recruits while also allowing for efficient progress monitoring.

To help implement and enforce Quality Control, quality standards for all aspects of the business, from room cleanliness to customer service, are set. To help execute the audits more efficiently and consistently, audit management software is deployed. These technology tools are implemented to schedule, conduct audits, initiate corrective actions, and generate reports for progress tracking, helping management to track overall quality performance in a time-efficient manner.


Speaking with various hoteliers helped me see a gap in how Performance scorecards are used in the practical situations of the F&B industry. Many operations managers are frustrated in the world of F&B businesses because of the gap between what Owners expect and what is needed for effective operations.

What business owners view as KPIs do not cascade systematically into the practical operations of the business. Business owners may only see the outcome but do not set the criteria that help contribute to the desired outcome.

To help arrive at the desired outcome expected by business owners, KPIs, and benchmarks should indeed come from the management and then be transposed and disseminated to each level until the level that interacts finally with the customers.

When the smallest unit delivers the service it is meant for its customers, it should naturally roll up to the next level of responsibility until it reaches the management level. Each level should be accountable for their areas of responsibility so that everyone contributes to the overall objective of the group.

It all starts with the culture and mindset, which must be set by management and then reinforced with continuous improvement of skill sets. Finally, once the business processes and know-how are documented, organizations can leverage Tools to help them execute more efficiently and consistently.

Over the years, we have assisted business owners with building their armory of best practices, including Operations manuals, Training frameworks, audits, and onboarding programs. To ensure effective implementation, we articulate these best practices on a digital platform, ensuring all stakeholders can track the group’s overall performance.

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