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Let’s Prepare Ourselves For CHRISTMAS…!

India capitalizes immensely upon the resource of young generation at its disposal and that is where lies the energy, the fervor, the dedication and the enthusiasm to bring about a change in the way we think, the way we work and in our openness to adopt new systems to eventually help emerge a ‘New, Promising India’.

The Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School, in its endeavor to examine the reaction of a cross-section of professionals engaged in the hospitality sector, has always invited experts belonging to different age groups and has wanted to obtain their first-hand-feel.

Pradeep Sharma, a young Director Food and Beverage at the Crowne Plaza TODAY, Gurgaon, took his time out to address students, faculty members and guests of the Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School, to apprise them about what he feels about the current crisis and the way they have been able to handle it in their company.

Subscribing to the fact that all the hotels have restaurants but all the restaurants do not have hotels, Pradeep asserted on the point that Food and Beverages, identified as F&B in hotel parlance is the largest revenue-generating sub-segment in the hospitality trade, besides being the topmost employment generator for skilled, semi-skilled and even unskilled resources both in urban and rural areas. This is the only segment which has surpassed all other trades, showing exponential growth, especially over the past two and a half decades. The fact that it has also contributed enormously towards tax and revenue generation for the economy is something which cannot be ignored.

“We urge the Indian Government to have a re-look at the LTA’s and at the travel allowances given to people across the various departments so that the domestic travel could get a boost, and, in the bargain, a big population of small entrepreneurs could get employment.”

“With 90% of hotels in China having fully re-opened, a clear indication of the possibility of hospitality operations bouncing back to work is indeed very evident. Taking a cue from this, a stop-gap plan for the opening of bars and a few restaurants can be thought of in India as well” asked whether how these things would be brought to the notice of the general public, he said “It is the digitalized dissemination of information that has kept us going and that is the most user-friendly and environment-friendly media, readily available to us and the best thing is that it is free of cost. We must now get down to discuss about the re-opening plan. High time that we engaged, besides our staff, our vendors and suppliers to help mutually re-align the supply-chain system.” The system of calling suppliers for deliveries at different timings of the day has been a good step towards encouraging social distancing, “There has been a lot of deliberation about contact-less check-ins, contact-less delivery of the various services in hotels and even a contact-less bill settlements. All that we now need to do is to instill an amount of confidence, trust and faith in the minds of our guests. It is just a matter of time and the initial hesitation that that presents as an impediment in our way is the only hinderance and a deterring factor. With so many checks having been done before a guest steps into your hotel is a proof that he/she is clearof the virus and is not carrying any symptoms”

Asked about the current survival system, Pradeep said, “Till such time that a clear-cut opening is realized, most of the hotel chains, like we also have done, have been successful in realizing a bit of revenue by home-deliveries and through cloud-kitchens. This stop-gap plan has though not given us the desired revenues but we have had our kitchen flames burning.” Asked about the most importance of staff training, he said that the most important thing to do would be to make the staff aware of the SOPs with regard to the upkeep of hygiene and sanitization. A new gimmick by way of introducing ‘immunity drinks’ has been introduced by the hotels, who are tirelessly engaging themselves into innovation.

Every hotel professional has had a very optimistic view about the tourism sector being the first amongst all to get back into business. The lock-downs are now turning themselves into ‘open-ups’ – the economy is gradually reviving. What are we waiting for?....Christmas…?

Of Flying Buffets and Drive-in Weddings

Ms. Hem Kashyap, a renowned name, who for her excellent, fully dedicated commitment towards delivering quality, has over the last couple of decades, made for herself a big name in the international arena of banqueting and event management. The purpose, though, of inviting her as a resource person in a webinar was to come to terms with the magnitude with which the current situation of crisis has affected the allied branches of hospitality, Hem went out of her way in deliberating upon how the future businesses would equally get affected in the long run.

The event companies, just like the banqueting and hospitality establishments in India have received a serious blow in so much as not being able to even keep afloat in business. “Events that we are used to doing are generally on a big scale and tend to involve rather voluminous amounts of finances. We never thought anybody would ever engage us for an event involving just fifty people. It is unimaginable to put up a theme or a design, neither can the event be enjoyable in case the numbers are so low”, says Hem. “Real excitement comes in parties of 500+ people, especially at world famous destinations. For the time being, there are no numbers, no travel, neither any destinations”

Just when we were planning a big-ticket event at a deluxe property in Udaipur, we got to know about the outbreak of Covid and it all got cancelled” Says she. “People are scared, frightened and terrified, nobody wants to take any chance, especially now when the law enforcement is so strict. We really do not know what to do, how long to wait for and what to look forward to” says a disillusioned Hem.

Be that as it may, this virus has, as she says “also helped us see the positive sides. Just like demonetization gave rise to several new electronic payment applications, Covid has sharpened our technological competences and we are doing everything virtually on computers, the sanitization systems have become stronger and beautiful masks can be seen on people’s faces” “We are not totally out of business, we are, whatever may there be in store for us, still picking up small businesses, with limited buffets, sit-down setups, pre-plated services, while assuring that there be the desired amount of distance between two tables”

Upon being asked as to by when the business, just the way it used to be during the ‘hay days’ come back again, she said “We have to, for the moment, forget doing weddings and events in foreign destinations as the laws are very strict. I envisage that the domestic market would be the first one to get back to its feet. People will prefer doing domestic events and weddings as they still might be manageable”

“New seeds will grow” says Hem exuding optimism, “And the focus will be on creativity and small ideas will appear to be very attractive. Till that time, we are doing our best to upscale and upgrade ourselves, gearing ourselves up for the next season, whenever it comes and it will come because Indians love to celebrate and to splurge.” A new surge of banqueting venues, especially in the wake of the limited numbers, in the form of peoples’ small farms, villas, and mansions has started taking shape.

Asked as to how her enterprise manages to be innovative, she says, “Every event teaches us something new, not only do we further refine our output after each event, we also get the knack of being capable in pre-empting customer needs. Situation is teaching us to innovate the delivery of foods on drones. The situation of wedding functions, wherein one would just drive into the venue with his vehicle and participate as a guest is not too far – it is sure to come” “Our business may, in terms of numbers have gone down by 5 times, but we are in no position to hike up our prices in the same proportion. Our clients, who businesses have also, in some way or the other, been affected by the virus, are not prepared to pay us the ideal price. All that we have to do now is to have patience, wait, watch and try to stay afloat in business” Says Hem with full self-assurance.

One off-beat question asked to her about the inquisitiveness of HM pass-out students wanting to make a career in event management, she said the most important thing was to thoroughly learn operations, without which no success can be achieved…

Cocktails are mixed drinks that have become popular since the first quarter of the twentieth century and all the bars offer selected cocktails. Originally the name of a few specific drinks, the word "cocktail" soon became the generic name for almost any mixed drink. No one knows exactly why drinks came to be called cocktails, but there are many theories.

The word cocktail was first described in an American magazine as a mixture of spirits, sugar, water and bitters in 1806.The cocktail gained its ground and popularity in the use especially during the prohibition period. As you can imagine, developing this skill takes some time! All mixed alcoholic drinks in general are called cocktails. However, in bar operations cocktail refers to a mixed drink having one or more alcoholic drink in its making. Mixed drink made without any alcohol is termed as virgin cocktail or mock tail.

Mr Kapoli Explained an elegant & skilled way of mixing cocktails, following is the basic understanding of ingredients, method of mixing cocktails. Cocktails are now days served not only in bars but also in high end luxury restaurants the demand of cocktails has increased drastically in recent years.

Mr. Kapoli had an interaction with the students of Vatel Hotel & Tourism Business school and talked about the Nuances of Making a good cocktail. He has also demonstrated some basic Cocktails giving an insight of the equipment used in cocktail making with a brief history about them.

The session was concluded with a Q & A session. In all it was an informative session.

India is poised to be the largest producer and consumer of Wines.

By Gagan and Magan – Sommeliers of international repute.

Who says wines in India are have no history and are considered to be relatively new beverages which still need to catch on to the roots? Fact is that our ancestors in India started partaking of wines almost 1000 years ago, in an era when none of the European countries even existed or when the thought of making wine from the magic grapes even crossed their minds.

“Samudra Manthan” of the Indian mythology, which consisted of churning of the seas to extract 14 precious jewels and the ‘nectar’ for Gods, deities and divinities, signified amply that the nectar was actually a type of wine, which was deemed to be the ‘Elixir of life’

Not only this, Gagan went on to further re-inforce this fact by tracing the trail of this beverage to the days of the recipe of the ‘Nectar’ having been developed, brought to the Kings’ palaces and even fed to the horses and elephants who were used to wage wars on enemies.

Later on in during the medieval times, Chandragupta Maurya allowed the consumption of the same for people at large – in open places and even imposed a percentage of tax on it. Upon the overwhelming increase in the general liking of the beverage, innovation took place and wines were made having flavors from fruits like grapes, apples, plums, berries, pomegranates, apricots, and kiwis.

Later on Babur, the Mughal emperor encouraged this beverage all over the Indian subcontinent, which covered a far more area than what we can see in our modern times. Jehangir, (1628) Noor Jahaan, his brothers further carried on the legacy and promoted the wine having the finesse and subtlety of a good beverage.

“Punjab and Gujarat were fertile grounds, having the soil, water and the weather conditions conducive for the growth of a large variety of grapes” there was no refrigeration the wines used to be consumed the moment they were ready for consumption and they were considered to purify the bodies and kill the germs.

Palatial courts having a strongly protected, private vineyards called ‘Angoori Bagh” were thus encouraged to develop the grapes and wines destined to be consumed by the royal families. Mirza Ghalib later on, a staunch consumer of wines, who in his rather profound prose used to write about the qualities of wines, शराब पीने दे मस्जिद में बैठ कर या वोह जगह बता दे जहां खुदा नहीँ।

In 1883, during the British Raaj when Calcutta used to be the capital of India the British further encouraged the wine culture and further spread its consumption to the different parts of India. “it was in 1883 that Champagne was developed in Calcutta” confirms with a smile on his face, the sommelier Gagan.

The advent of the British put many curbs upon India and the control of Indians over the vineyards and farmers, saw a steep decline as this beverage came up to be reserved only for the ‘white skinned’ aristocracy and thus, unless presented to the Indian Maharajas, exported to Britain. This almost brought to nil the domestic consumption, leading therefore to it being wiped out from the Indian bars and from the Indian homes.

Thus came about the Leave India Movement and after the independence, the consumption grew up in the form of Old Monk Rum which appeared in 1954 and, till date, is the most preferred beverage of many of Indians. The initial Indian wines comprised of brands like Sula, Grover, Chateau Vintage, ND Vintage followed by the ‘second innings’ which brought in York, Révélo, Vallonne, Fratelli (in Italian meaning ‘brothers’) and KRSMA. Other brands consisted of Mycra, Soma, Charosa, Good Drop, Oakwood and renaissance.

Wines started spreading in India and were seen being consumed everywhere on the local map. Looking at the growth of wines, the international wine producers found India to be a great rising market and introduced wines from Australia, the USA and Italy – some of the popular brands consisted of Chandon, Chardonnay etc.

Rise of the WINE TOURISM in India. The different wineries in India, by virtue of having immaculately manicured vineyards, spick-and-span, ultra clean and hygienic processing units have now have assumed the status of exciting touristic spots, not only for the Indians, but also from foreigners from almost all the continents of the world. These boutique vineyards have luxurious rooms, excellent amenities, recreation facilities, good spread of cuisines, and, indeed, a large spread of wines, some of them are served ‘on the house’. These vineyards are environment friendly as most of them do rain harvesting and run their plants on solar power.

Karnataka has emerged as an important state for wine as the water remains on the ground for a longer time, sees a new potential and is now growing grapes with cuttings from Bordeaux region.

The future of wines in India is great as the youngsters are getting used to it and 60% of the world’s ‘young population’ lives in India. All eyes are on India as we are grooming ourselves to be the world’s largest producer and consumer of wines, says a Magan, who is a young sommelier himself…

Let’s Create Fans, Not Customers…

Ajay Gomes – food and beverage trainer

Ajay Gomes, a veteran, a specialist who has devoted all the years of his professional life exclusively and only into sharpening his food and beverage operations skills, stands out as the most experienced expert, who has, as one would say, ‘risen from the ranks’ during the tenure of which he got exposed to the nitty-gritties of operations in their minutest and most micro forms. “In order to be a completely thorough professional, everybody should, in my mind, go through the little most details, where lie, in the true sense of the word, the ‘trick of the trade’.

“What does a client look for in a restaurant?” “In order of preference,” says he, “A client looks for tasty, healthy food, served in the most hygienic way and in an environment of total safety and security and that is where the value for his money lies” talking about the Covid scene, he says the first touch point that a guest has is that of a human, and it is the ‘touch’ which has to be avoided at any cost. From the servers’ point of view also, a certain type of picture has been framed in mind so that all of us could be prepared for whatever the client may ask. That’s why the restaurants are investing on sanitization gadgets and are assuring that no bigger crowds gather at one single place. Taste being of prime importance, people will never mind waiting, neither will the price of the menu pinch them, says he while referring to the success story of celebrated restaurants like Bukhara.

“Falling in love with the customer is a very strong marketing gimmick but as long as the relationship remains ‘familiar’ is what can make the organisations maintain their distance and yet achieve their targets. We have to, at no point in time subscribe to the fact that we have to be assertive and not aggressive with the customers” says the age-old trainer.

We must acknowledge the brutal truth that in order to build the customer trust, all boundaries and all frontiers can be transgressed. The care that we extend to the customers has to be felt by the customer deep within the heart and that’s what he will appreciate forever.

“The past can be re-assuring but the future can, most of the times be shocking. Every time there a new kind of crisis and that is where lies the real testing of a professional” Gomes said that the best place of marketing is in front of the guest himself and that’s a ready-made platform for one to showcase all that he or she is capable of – One has to act as if he/she were on the stage and every step should therefore be like that of a renowned, branded dancer, meant to impress the audience and to get applauded at every move. Every customer will look for the true meaning of his patronization.

Touching upon the present environment, he says – “The brutal reality is that too much has changed in too little a time and the establishments must strategize and innovate ways and means of being in business.” Every establishment should be prepared for future business and it is the pre-preparedness only that will help organisations survive. The opening of the big floodgates is what we are expecting once we deal with the current pandemic, but, are we all prepared for it?

Giving a piece of advice to students Gomes said that they must believe in value creation and in value addition and see what innovations they can do to bring new things on the customers’ tables. “The questions about what I am and where I want to be and how I can be there should always haunt the young professionals. This is the vision that you all must create for yourselves.” Drawing a silver line at the end of his presentation Gomes said that “Anything that can be defeated cannot be dangerous. This Virus is not here to stay forever and we should, like I just said, prepare ourselves for the best now…”

We Must Learn Our Lessons from Bali and Maldives…

The hospitality and tourism sectors, by virtue of being principally guest-centric and guest-oriented, cannot, in whatever may be the prevailing conditions, separate themselves from giving a personalized service, exhibiting thereby a closeness to the guest and exuding the warmth of welcome that the guests so much deserve and pay for.

Away from the normal talks concerning the future of hotels and service establishments in the wake of the impact of COVID, the Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School thought of tweaking the subject a bit and talking about the travel trade in detail, for which Karan Chhabra, a young-age veteran was invited to talk and carry out some ramifications about the way this pandemic was progressing

“Winning the travellers’ confidence and re-gaining their trust are the foremost things that we must do”, says Karan. “People are scared to travel and unless we do something like what Maldives recently did, wherein they got back their tourists, leading to the instant bounce-back of the economy, we won’t be able to survive.” He proceeded by giving a yet another example of Bali, which in 1998 suffered a setback wherein their occupancies fell from 98% down to Zero – but, realizing the fact that theirs was a tourism-driven country, they had their infrastructure in place and did not take any more than 40 days to get back on the track.

“Tourism, despite being as the second biggest foreign exchange earner for our country, unfortunately features way down on the priority list of the Indian Government and unless we pump in more finances, enhance our tourist sites and infrastructure, we won’t be able to gain much” “These are unprecedented times and the measures we should take to retaliate and to fight back should be equally unprecedented, with a strong, robust, sturdy and a highly vociferous combat plan.”

Just like most of the specialists confirmed in the previous webinars, Karan reiterated upon the point that in case of any emergency, upsurge, disaster, national instability and unrest, the first to take the hit with regard to business happens to be tourism. India should think in terms of preparing a strong, fool-proof mechanism of being able to contain and suppress any such happenings to protect its tourism machinery. Asked about what, in precise terms should the hotels do to continue winning the client confidence, the golden suggestion put forth by Karan was a continuous engagement with its key clients and with the organisations which have been loyal in giving the room and allied businesses. “Airlines have already taken a few steps in this regard by floating a package of Book Now, Pay Later… Air travel is the safest with regard to the adherence of rules with regard to safety, hygiene, cleanliness and sanitation – only by virtue of doing so can they get us the valuable business”

“Business, whether the generation of it or of its protection have become the first priority of hotels for the time being. The achievement of average room rates and meeting the revenue targets, given the situation of survival, are really not very important, neither can, at this point in time, the hotels get into budgeting or forecasting business as no marketing plans can be made. The upgradation and addition of rooms and outlets have been shelved for the time-being” Asked whether the Government of India would be in any position to bail the travel trade out of the troublesome times, he said “The Government, given the current environment has far more pressing issues to deal with” the Government, however, will extend support in whatever way it can”

Drawing a silver lining around the gloomy, depressed and low-spirited environment. Karan said, “The longevity of this pandemic was not estimated to be so severe, the technology, which has made a notable progress, and the discovery of several other measures have come to our help and we are finding ways and means to overcome this crisis.” For the moment, there will be absolutely no or less of human touch, but that, he says, is “The new Normal.” We said we will do what the rest of the world will do, and, now when the rest of the world is doing things differently, we have no other option but to follow them” In a message addressed to the students who were worried about their future, Karan assured them hope, saying that they should not worry – the world hasn’t come to an end. It is just a matter of waiting for a couple of more months…

The future of revenge tourism an optimistic and an unrealistic approach.

Strange, though it may appear that a situation of ‘revenge’ needs to be deliberated upon in the wake of the present situation of crisis, (as to the question against whom should one take the revenge) The only logical interpretation of the term is inherent in the sense that people at large would avenge this situation of restriction and isolation is by way of indulging wholeheartedly into the activities related with tourism and hospitality.

Does it mean that once COVID exits from the scene, the floodgates would be thrown open and people would head, nay, run out towards the touristic destinations of their preference as if just now released out of jails? The term revenge was coined by McKenzie who believed that this term would faithfully convey the feelings of the prospective travellers. This so called ‘’revenge’’ would start initially by exploring the domestic markets with full vigor and vivacity– this is a fact that several resource persons who were invited for webinars by the Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School have confirmed. “All that the avid travellers haven’t been able to do and whose thirst to travel for leisure or for business has remained in-satiated, would be the first ones to indulge”

Vijesh Yoganathan, a young hospitality professional, head of APAC for the South-Eastern region of Oaky.com., based in Singapore, an advanced digital marketing and hotel room reservations company, whose business also appears to have been affected negatively by the current pandemic, in her observations about the condition says, “The opening of the situation may though instantly have people thinking about travelling but this will not result into the over-indulgence as a bit of fear and anxiety about undertaking travel would still exist”.

“This pandemic has had a Domino effect, a chain reaction, the outbreak of which has gradually affected each and every industry and has, for the time being, brought several economics to a complete collapse” says Vijesh.

The lockdowns were designed to not only contain but to stop the further spread of the virus. Notwithstanding the best of the efforts, the spread has been unstoppable, out of hands and totally beyond control. The absence of tourists has led to no travel, no travel to no transport, no transport to no hotels and therefore no revenues, neither any jobs, – it is like a chain reaction where one thing is leading to the downfall of the other and destroying in return, the entire system of supply-chain.

The unexpected bulk of cancellations of bookings of rooms, travel and transport obliges the operators, in all fairness, to execute the refunds to their customers but the way in which these organisations have found a solution is to issue promissory bonds which could be redeemed for these services at a later date. Nevertheless, the tourism sector is envisaged to take a dip of more than 40% in business. “There would be a major part of customers who would not be able to redeem their credit vouchers and will have to simply let them go” says Vijesh, exuding all confidence.

Vijesh re-instated what the other resources have been saying that the foremost concern of travel is going to be hygiene, cleanliness and security, even if it means sacrificing to some extent and letting go the features of luxury or that of comfort. All the services that a hotel can offer will have to be leveraged around safety and security.

The hotel companies will have to introduce different buckets of pricing tailor-made to what the customer needs and not what the hotel companies have to sell. Such clients might therefore ask for an extension of the period of the promissory bonds and the hotels should also be willing and prepared to accommodate them. This will be a true test of loyalty towards the customers. For the sake of re-enforcing their customer support, the hotels will also be ready to allow early check-ins, late check-outs and upgradation in accommodation, besides offering in the range of amenities, private sanitizers and safety systems, giving sodas and pop-corns in the rooms and paying attention to values.

Be that as it may, all these services would incur an additional phenomenal cost a lot to the hotels, who then will have to make all efforts to generate the revenue and earn that “Extra Dollar” by way of cross-marketing of other products and yet making sure that no hard-selling is done.

Another avenue in which the hotels can save money is to encourage the travellers to book their rooms directly on the hotel’s own reservation systems rather than having them go through agents. Once all services are bought into place by hotels the middlemen can be eliminated. the commission part of which can be saved.

“Let us learn from what the other countries are doing”, says Vijesh, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand have put up extremely strict and rigid systems and they have been able to win over this pandemic. Why can’t others too adopt their systems…?”

Though born and brought-up in Singapore, Vijesh has done a thorough study of tourism in the India subcontinent and sadly says that the “Trend of serious vacations still hasn’t caught on in India. It is the people of younger age who will take the first steps to travel when this pandemic dies out” it is also envisaged that the spending propensity of people will increase from the average spending of USD 160 to 178…

The webinar was compered by Ms. Chandana Paul, assistant professor, Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School

Never Waste a Good Crisis – Winston Churchill… Webinar by Nitin Dave, Managing Director, TENON on Facility Management.

The functions of the hospitality trade do not limit themselves to dealing with travellers or with the hotels guests only. All those businesses which are concerned with delivering the intangibles to the prospective customers and work towards satisfying their needs, even indirectly, from the hidden, invisible departments of the House, form integral parts of hospitality and guest management. The function of housekeeping or facility management, known popularly as FM these days, though may deal with the upkeep, maintenance and care of just the premises of the clients, it entails a function no less deeper than that of a thoroughly professional resource, aimed eventually at bringing a smile on the customers’ face and making them feel secure, happy and protected, which also happens to be the ultimate goal of every hotel staff and management.

Nitin Dave, managing director of the TENON group, which is recognized across the different states of the Indian sub-continent and in the UK, is engaged in looking after the facility management of commercial premises and security services of a cross-section of organisations. “The FM sector is growing by leaps and bounds” says Nitin. “Earlier recognized merely as logistics management organisation, we have expanded the scope of our services and are now proud to be known as a facility management organisation. The current size of this industry is at INR 18,000 Crores and, by 2025, it is expected to grow up to INR 50,000 Crores”, says Nitin with full confidence. “This sector employs anywhere between 80,000 and 90,000 personnel and 65,000 of them, despite the current environmental crisis, continue to be engaged in their jobs”. “The more the commercial sector grows, the more will it result into the growth of our business as every building, new or old, whether commercial or residential, is bound to require facility management, security and the allied services.”

According to Nitin, FM is the only industry which has known no seasonality, has not been affected much with the political or environmental instabilities and has constantly continued to grow at the rate of 18% year-on-year. It has created avenues of employment to thousands of skilled and unskilled workers. Talking about the further growth, he said this industry will continually be in need of talented, young and energetic boys and girls. “The hotels, airlines and the entertainment sectors have been the most severely hit by Covid and will take their own time to recover, whereas we have already on the verge of getting into a business-as-usual situation” Says Nitin with a smile. “There has been a cultural change in our trade, in the wake of the current outbreak of the pandemic, our roles right from the janitor level to the senior most people in the company have shifted from keepers, more towards protectors. With more and more of the contactless procedures being put into place, our friend in need has been technology, with whose loyalty we have been able to realize our operations without any problems at all”

He said that with the help of a software, it is possible to monitor to continuously the number of people in the building not wearing masks. “Agility is the new normal for us – we are required to move fast because we have to protect and look after our clients at any cost” Every crisis teaches us something. Not only do we get to learn a lessons from such incidences, they make us stronger and prepare us for the recurrence of such crises in a better way. That’s why we strongly subscribe to Winston Churchill’s saying ‘Never Waste a Crisis’ meaning to say, Every disadvantage as an advantage.

Due to the diversity on their operations, which span almost all over India, the delivery of training programmes (as required by the new normal), which may have posed a problem of communication amongst different cultures and languages has also been looked into as these programmes have been translated into many regional languages of our country. At the end of the webinar which consisted a lot of questions having been put up by the panelists, students and professionals giving way to meaningful discussions, Nitin closed the meet by saying that ‘The first thing my people learn is to protect their own selves – that’s the only quality which will make them worthy of looking after the safety, security and hygiene of others’…

Human Contact is No More Essential in Hotels – Sajid Mahmood.

The situation of pandemic has, besides making people at large deliberate upon the various situations of perils and hazards, brought about a sense of security amongst them in the light of several solutions to combat the Covid having been spoken about. The studies and researches have become more focussed, profound and are concentrated towards only one goal – that of instilling amongst people a belief that there are no two ways about the truth, that sooner or later, this pandemic will have to disappear and that normalcy would be restored at the earliest.

Till now the principal resources of the various webinars conducted have deliberated upon dealing with the pandemic at a very large, macro level, wherein the effect on business and the future of Tourism on broader terms had been touched upon. That being so, getting down to the microscopic study of the daily systems and procedures as to what would be the new normal with regard to the micro systems in hoteliering, still had to be elaborated upon and the Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School could not have found a person better than Mr. Sajid Mahmood a veteran in hoteliering now a consultant for new hospitality ventures.

Delving into the history of several pandemics, emergencies and contagions having broken out in the past, Sajid said that all of them had been sufficiently dealt with and each time that the humanity fought back, it emerged stronger, sturdier and tougher.

Getting into the nitti-gritties of the procedures which needed utmost care and concern, Sajid spoke about the situations right from the time a guest is met at the airport, driven to the hotel, makes an entry into the premises hotel, goes through the check-in procedure, is escorted to the room – till he is satisfied and intalls himself into the room which he needs to occupy.

Going to the sayig – If you take care of your pennies, the pounds will take care of themselves Sajid said that “It is the amall problems that usually lead to bigger problems. If you can nip-it-in-the-bud and take a timely care the smaller troubles, the larger troubles will never ever occur.

“Everything has turned digital and really nothing requires a physical contact now” Says Sajid. Whereas on one side the hotels are ready and have taken all precautions, the guests too, from their side, have started to make use of phone applications which allow them to check in at the airports, print own boarding cards, clear immigration procedures, call a transport and to make all payments without having to touch their wallets.

Most of the hotels have scrapped the service of buffets and for the normal à la carte service in restaurants the number of tables have been reduced to provide at least 3 feet of distance between two tables and the food is now served in bowls right on the tables and the bowl-to-plate service is done by the guests themselves. All additional crockery, cutlery and glassware is offered on a tray.

“Guest rooms have now become private domains as nobody is authorized to enter. The geusts may have to work a bit by himself in the case of in-room dining so as to pull the food trolley into the rooms himself and then pushing it out in the corridor, the system of signing the bill has also been planned, ensuring that a safe distance is maintained between the steward and the guest.” “No printed bills are presented at the time of check-out as they are mailed to the guests and a touchless system of reading the credit cards has also been introduced”. “The printed bills are provided to the guests if they so insist, before they leave the cash counter their hands are sanitized and the luggage is cleaned before it is kept in the car and that the guest is bid adieu”

‘Charity begins from home’ Unless the back-of-the-house staff is not trained and not cultured to the standards of hygiene, the guest-contact areas cannot be sanitized. That’s why Sajid gave a new term to the staff who are not in direct contact with the guests and called them as belonging to the Heart of the House. Even their entry, their hygiene check their sanitation, their ensurance of having put masks, gloves and have taken all modes of protection have to be strictly adhered to before they can be allowed to go to take charge of their work stations. “Coming down to the locker rooms where the staff change their uniforms, the hotel must ensure that the uniform is given for wash after every single use. The shift timings have to be staggered so as to ensure that not much crowding happens in the locker rooms neither in the service areas” Hot cold water with soap and sanitizers are made available at every nook and corner of the hotel, especially in the Heart-of-the-House areas.

“Handling food in the kitchens is a very important aspect as it deals with the minutest porcedures, involving human touch (and all the touches cannot be done with the gloves on) Sanitization systems at the point of receiving, handling, cooking, plating and storing have to be very minutely programmed – these are extremely delicate areas”

Sajid terminated his presentation by reiterating on the fact that the three key points that remain to be well understood by all hotels, especially in these perilous days are:

  • Golves and masks are worn at all times
  • Physical distancing is maintained at all times
  • Washing of hands after every touch of an object is absolutely essential.

Even if the smile is expressed behind a mask, the feelings of warmth are duly conveyed- Mr. Sunil Gupta Sunil Gupta, formerly an ITC Hotels’ Executive, who after his retirement, created the New Tourism Foundation, of which he is currently the secretary general, took his time out to address the students, faculty members and other guest invitees attending the webinar on Tourism titled New Age Responsible Tourism Enmeshed with the Post Covid World.

Furthering the tone of optimism expressed by speakers in the various webinars in the past, Sunil said “Tourism may have gone down but it will be the first segment to come up” Elaborating further on the current customer behavior, he said that the individual demands and desires have been constricted, there is either lesser amount of travel and definitely not on the public transport and the physical shopping has been restricted to mere basics and that too, it is online. The criterion which has taken the supreme position is the concern for health and a clear preference of medical immunity.

“Restrictions imposed on travel have had a major effect on the colleges, schools and institutions, wherein classes, as per the new regime are being held online. Furthermore, even the travel connected with opportunities in entertainment have been reduced as people at large are preferring to watch programmes at home” However, one sector which he thought would capitalize on the prevalent conditions was the insurance sector as the dependence on it has increased to a great extent.

“We are passing through a phase wherein we see that the individual demands and needs are automatically restricting themselves to a bare minimum level. Luxury, hotels and restaurants are no more on the priority list and fall into the 3rd Category” Such practices will, on the other hand, reduce the cost of salaries, wages and benefits, and will correspondingly result into the decrease in consumption of heat, light and power. The number of non-performing assets will be on the rise. Be that as it may, all these changes will greatly affect the profitability of enterprises and make the realization of costs a deep-rooted challenge. There will be no budgeting, neither will there be any concerted efforts to meet the targets as there will be no targets – guest satisfaction will be on the top of the priority list.

Touching upon the performance of the travel related companies, he said that they have seen a customer preference for individual cars rather than coaches, which, in earlier days used to be the usual mode of travel and sight-seeing. Touching upon the matter of resorts, the focus of the staff and management would shift from leisure, recreation and towards creating an environment of complete individual safety and hygiene. Since the incomes have also been affected, the clients will look for facilities at a much lower rate and the hotels, for the want of sustainability, will have no choice but to offer the same at a price as affordable by the travellers.

There is a definite possibility of the stigma, the fear and the dread of this Covid related to travel continuing to linger even after a few zones and cities having been declared safe. The inhibition of the ‘first-step’ promotes hesitation and everybody will wait for the others to take this step. Initially, the distances covered by the travellers would not surpass the radius of 300 – 500 kilometers, during which the stop-overs will be only at hygienically certified ‘stamped’ outlets. More than elucidating on the various luxury features, the hotels would prefer talking about their practices of hygiene, cleanliness and the round-the-clock availability of doctors and ambulances. The MICE Segment will see a downward trend as the transactions and meetings would be held online, of virtual type. Even in the restaurants the amount of space allocated per guests will go up from the current 17 Sq. Ft to 27 Sq. Ft.

Asked as to how the sentiments of warmth, care and concern, which are the epitome of all hospitality trade would be communicated, Sunil said that even if the smile is expressed behind a mask, the feelings are duly conveyed. Sunil summed up the webinar by expressing hope that due to the infrastructure already being in place, re-starting the hospitality operations would not pose any challenge, neither would there by difficulty of any degree faced by the staff as they have learnt of lot and will be super conscious and careful in meeting customer demands.

In our endeavors to, on one side, keep the connection alive with our alumni students, and, on the other, to further sharpen the skills of our existing students, our faculty members conducted a single-credit course for our passing-out batch about” Crafting a Robust Career Progression”, and two very interesting certificate programmes for our current students concerning Food & Beverage start-ups and Gourmet Food Truck Business facility planning & pre requisites.

Participation to these programmes was out of choice and entailed 15 hours of study each, connected with research activities on entrepreneurship, start-ups and career advancement. These sessions were highly appreciated by students, who, by virtue of the availability of time at hand, could devote a tremendous amount of interest and concentration therein.

Being exciting and away from the run-of-the-mill, not only were these programmes enthusiastically patronized, the students, in recognition of their work, received E-Certificates. The originals have been kept ready for them to be collected once the college opens up.

“We see that despite the environmental restrictions we have been able to maintain the educational rigour and have successfully accomplished every single academic activity. This Certificate-Award service stands out as a unique activity and brings about a moment of pride for us” Says Dr. Garima Parkash, Dean, Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School.

Chef Abhijit Saha, a self-inspired, self-ignited professional with a rare combination of dexterity and perfection with award winning restaurants and famous eateries, despite his being busy, managed to take time out to talk to our students even while he was busy at work, in the middle of opening new restaurants at the prestigious Bangalore International Airport Ltd.

A topper in his HM studies, Abhijit discovered the Chef in himself and wanted to further nurture this talent and to fuel his penchant of making a name in the field of gastronomy. “Success is all about playing with peoples’ minds”, says Saha, the founding member of Ace Hospitality and Consulting. “Once you understand the customer and you are able to deliver what he wants, he will be with you forever, and add more loyal customers”. “Food is all about variety” he adds.

Having as his idol Padmashree Awardee Chef Imtiaz Ali Qureshi, Abhijit perfected his art and had the honor of serving celebrities like President George Bush, Margaret Thatcher and Cindy Crawford. He said that the world of gastronomy extends so far and wide that no matter how many years may you spend in this trade you will still have new things to learn. The depth of this sea is unfathomable.

Expressing his optimism while talking about the current downtrend due to the pandemic, Saha says, let us be ready to learn as this situation will also teach us useful things – “Even during the days of curfew, people want to socialize; we must find alternate ways of satisfying that need”

Giving special advice to the students curious of opening their own restaurant, Abhijit says the first quality that they as young entrepreneurs must adopt is patience. Operating a restaurant and making it successful is an art, there is no fast-tracking as one has to balance many moving parts of a restaurant. “Having a sound financial cushioning, especially in the initial stages of operation is of utmost necessity because you won’t be able to, despite the fine manicuring of your menu and the dishes, come to terms with the customer behavior. It is for these reasons that a serious feasibility study and a profound research become absolutely necessary.” Abhijit’s saying is quite in line with Philip Kotler’s definition of marketing: Marketing is a business function that identifies the current unsatisfied needs and wants, defines and measures their magnitude and introduces products and services to satisfy these needs…

Should one wish to venture abroad for a restaurant, it is absolutely indispensable to closely study the local laws as, compared to India the labour laws of some countries might be different.

Entrepreneurs usually get sentimental and wish to put up their restaurant according to what they personally like, forgetting thereby that restaurants should be put up only to satisfy the needs of the customer. “Restaurant owners must regularly conduct quality audits by experts as they are the ones who will tell you the truth on your face and show you where you stand” “Two things which can kill the best of restaurants are the absence of a sense of discipline and the ignorance of waste management.”

Upon being asked the reason as to why he preferred Bangalore as a city for his restaurants, he said, “Bangalore is the best cosmopolitan food center and has a great community of chefs who meet regularly and exchange the innovative ideas. The avenues to improve are tremendous” says Saha.

Chef Abhijit Saha, the decorated chef has the following to his credit:

  • IFCA Exceptional Achievement Award, 2019;
  • Chef of the year’ 2018 by BBC Good Food India;
  • Chef of the year’ at the Times Food Awards, 2016
  • Best Chef of India’ at the Indian Restaurant Congress, 2013, Indian Federation of Culinary Association’s
  • Chef-Entrepreneur of year, 2009

Chef Saha’s Enterprises:

CAPERBERRY: (Modernist European), Fava (Mediterranean) in Bangalore.

SAHA: His Michelin recommended Signature Indian restaurant Singapore was awarded the Epicurean Star Award for Best New Restaurant, 2014 by the Restaurant Association of Singapore.

Nimish Bhatia a chef of renommée mondiale who believes that out-of-the-box thinking must also lead to out-of-the box actions, started the Webinar with the theme - All About Progressive Cuisine with a brief on the evolution of mankind right from the early stages wherein the only source of survival was food and water. Being a core necessity, the humans have, over the past several centuries, done their best to change what they eat and also the way in which they eat. This biological necessity slowly graduated itself into a fine, minute and indeed a microscopic, specialized gastronomical activity, which down in the pages of history, has evolved as an art.

“All dishes are foods but all foods are not dishes”, claims chef Bhatia, supporting the fact that a tremendous amount of upgradation is required before food graduates into a dish. “Over the years, People have become more discerning and judicious and, eating out, which used to be but a ceremonious activity earlier, has now become almost a regular habit. Every dish deserves to have a story behind it, clearly depicting how it evolved and the transformations it has gone through over years of working over it.”

 Conforming strictly to the doctrine that the human beings’ biological tolerance with regard to the intake of food has undergone a phenomenal change, we as professionals must take a step ahead, innovate and try to modify our dishes, even before the guest has expected it to be value-added. Presenting the same dish with a bit of physical and aromatic change, enhancing thereby its level of acceptability is what progressive cuisine is all about. It is like presenting on the table of the guest the same dish, with the same name, but in a new avatar. Incidentally, the term Progressive Cuisine is coined by nobody else other than Chef Nimish Bhatia himself.

 Should you, in your own ingenuity, wish to add pumpkin gravy to the existing dish of butter chicken, go ahead, provided you give it a totally name as ‘Butter Chicken’ has become a generic name and the guest, while ordering it, expects a certain pre-defined look and taste.

Chef Bhatia has had the fortune of working in hotels, restaurants, food courts, theme kitchens, airlines and hospitals

This is what has helped him gain a valuable, overall experience as he got to perform different functions. If you are destined to fly, you wouldn’t need any crutches, he said out of his sheer sagacity.

 Whereas a chartered accountant, a doctor and an engineer continue to remain what they are known as throughout their lives, a chef cannot remain a chef in the entire duration of his career. It is innovation, invention, creation, development and advancement that will help him continue to wear the tag of a CHEF, otherwise, it is quite possible that he might have to perform the role of a Chef de Partie or a Sous Chef.

 In the managers’ meeting one day the Chef said, “Let us introduce Thandé Kababs in our menus.” Just short of being laughed at, everybody expressed surprise and dismay since the universal acceptance of a kabab lied only in its being hot and juicy. It wasn’t only after a formal food-trial that Thandé Kabab became the chef’s signature dish, which is a reconstructed chilled melon samosa made fancier and cooler with hibiscus dust and served with a smear of Nimbu Pickle. The inspiration to create this came from the flavorful cold cuts, red meat, poultry and seafood available in Europe – which has now come to India in a different avatar.

 The world is changing rapidly – a good chef must therefore be enterprising enough to see with his own eyes and perceive what is happening all over the world – this will help him innovate and develop himself. “I have done a research on as many as 39 Indian cuisines” says the chef proudly. Gastronomy is the only world in which you can practice madness – and that is a shorter name of out-of-the-box thinking,” says the Chef with a smile.

 “Food is multi-dimensional. Not only should it look good, it should have a clear aroma, fine texture, super taste, should connect to the various senses and, ultimately, should give to the customer the real experience for which he came to your restaurant”  

 Talking about molecular gastronomy, Bhatia said that it wasn’t a cuisine but only a cooking style – which presents dishes in a different way, meaning thereby, that it cannot be a type of food that one can easily adopt in his daily lifestyle.

 In these days of pandemic wherein service establishments are struggling to be afloat, they have to think of ways and means to conduct business in the non-traditional ways. The economy has to co-survive and co-exist. Any step taken towards generating extra revenues would be welcomed as it will entail a lot of learning. The home-deliveries and take-away dishes are some measures that even the biggest players in hospitality have got down to, but they wouldn’t be able to do much without maintaining the highest level of hygiene, sanitation and cleanliness, which is the need of the hour.

 Chef Bhatia, upon being requested to comment on the inclination of chefs wanting to perform roles of food and beverage directors or even that of general managers observed that this trait amongst chefs, especially the younger, restless ones, is coming up as a trend, in which he saw no harm. Just like my cuisine, everything should be allowed to Progress

Hailing from a traditional, middle-class Bengali Family, Sujan Sarkar has deep history attached to his career. His desire to become a fashion designer was overtaken by his passion and he ended up as co-founder of the two most exciting modern Indian restaurant brands with five locations in the United States and one in New Delhi in India. “Though I had the toughest time of learning in India I admire the gastronomic potential it has, owing to its rich cooking heritage.”

His first restaurant in the USA called Rooh, opened in early 2017 at San Francisco soon won the 28th position as one of the most critically acclaimed Indian restaurants, not only in San Francisco but in the entire country. This was followed by Baar Baar an outlet with exciting brews and mixes.

While addressing students attending the webinar hosted by the Vatel School, he chose not to deliver a lecture or a sermon but wanted to make the session more interactive in nature. With questions from the participants flooding his screen, he answered all of them with full rigour, enthusiasm and tact.

“Irrespective of how good your food is, it will win the first appeal only by being plated artfully whereby it goes with the color of the dish being served. A chicken with white sauce cannot be served on a pure white plate.” said he. His penchant for presentations led him to visit specialty restaurants with a Hi-Def camera, just to be able to take pictures of signature dishes – He used to undertake this activity at night, after finishing his shifts at the JW Marriott. So much was he interested in high-end cuisine that he used to make the voluminous Larousse as his pillow.

“There are chefs who are good at producing their delicacies but are not able to do justice by being able to duly define or to describe it. In my mind, a good chef should be equally competent in theory as it will lead him to further refine his art”

“I do not fake a dish”, says he “I must put up on the picture nothing else but the truth.” In order to have the guest enjoy the dish in the most authentic way, he makes sure that there is a clear coordination between the way he serves and the way the guest must consume. “Some people say that by doing this I ‘Control the Diner’, but what I want to give is the authentic experience…”

Touching upon the role of technology in creating good cuisine, he says the engineers design and manufacture the equipment only upon the recommendation by the end-users, which, in this case, happens to be us Chefs. “I have been able to innovate, design and use equipment produced as per my specifications.”

In this new age, people are getting health conscious and are running away from blast-frozen or ready-to-eat ‘manufactured foods’, as there is no art involved in such foods. To the students curious about tips for opening a new venture, he simply suggested the Mantra – “Understand your clients, know your chefs and do only what you are the best at” – you will surely succeed.”

Talking about his own accomplishments, he said, “Before crossing the Atlantic, I was voted Times Chef of the Year in 2016 and International chef of the Year by Elite Magazine in India. In the year 2014 my first chance to experiment with Indian cuisine outside the country came as an opportunity to conceive, create and launch a unique concept that is now famously known as Trèsind in Dubai.”

Working as a Chef de Cuisine at the flagship restaurants of the renowned Olive Bar and Kitchen in Delhi and Bombay for over three years, he opened India’s first Artisanal cocktail bar called Ek Bar in 2015, which took the city by the storm and was voted as the best new Cocktail Bar in the world by Conde Naste Traveller and many more…

Corporate Chef Seinan Group (Tokyo) and consulting chef with Michelin plated Indus Bangkok, while addressing students of the Vatel Hotel and Tourism Business School, its faculty members and several other chefs participating from the different parts of the world on a virtual get-together, expressed that he prefers working on the rich, natural bounty that the Mother Earth has bestowed upon its people and considers sustainability to be the most important aspect, which has to be respected at any cost, in whatever we may do.

“Sustainability is nothing but learning to know how things are sourced, used, processed and, finally discarded. Bio-degradable foods must be encouraged as even upon their expiry they can be used in some other form or, due to their degradable quality, be completely eliminated.” Noma and Bombay Canteen in Maharashtra, he said were examples of being 100% Sustainable outlets.

Nishant rose to fame after being selected as one of the few to attend Master Chef Classes at the World Gourmet Summit in Singapore.

During his days in Bangkok his heart used to melt upon seeing farmers bringing their fresh produce and setting up shops as early as 3 a.m. just in order to make a living and to make both ends meet. This is when he decided to do something for them and engage himself in promoting farmers. “We must support our farmers and must find simple ways to to respect their role and to give them the importance they so rightly deserve.” He adds. 

Having travelled to the different parts of the world, he learnt to understand and admire the charisma of the local cuisines and learnt how valuable were they with regard to their connection with history. All this, if perfectly researched upon, can give us a lot of insight into the simple, yet extremely useful methods of cooking employed by our ancestors. 

“Being Chef of a large hotel, it was my duty to make sure my staff does not waste food. I devised a system by which my staff, while working at their ranges and cooking tables, before throwing the left-overs in the waste bins, put the same in a glass bowl visible to me so that, I, while on my rounds, could get to see what they were discarding. This gave to them also a useful lesson. In my opinion, whatever is recyclable, should always be re-cycled and not wasted as this will give to the Mother Earth a dual relief.” 

Talking about environment, he said in a country like India, one household disposes off daily, on average, garbage of almost 3 kilograms. “Imagine the millions of tons of garbage that is generated and is continuously posing a threat to the Earth, to the flora, fauna and to the mankind. We must, therefore open our eyes towards this stark reality and do something revolutionary about it, said he” 

‘One thing that we all can do is to eat mindfully and responsibly and show more preference for natural products.” said he while commenting upon one-third of the world having to sleep without food. We must donate whatever we can” 

While talking about his unusual, out-of-the-world signature dishes he gave a brief of a few, like Kacchi Haldi ka Halwa, Turmeric Ice Cream, Lock-Down Mango, Kathal Taco and desserts using mangoes, Jamuns and Mulberries and, not to forget, the Butter Chicken Pasta… 

Talking about health foods, he said the camel de-hydrated powder milk and goat cheese were very good for diabetic patients as the fat content is very less in them. 

I am not at all in favor of Fusion cooking. On one hand, not only does the original dish lose its identity, it is not able to, on the other, get perfectly matched with the other dish, of which it is meant to be a part.   

Some of the major milestones of his career have been:-

  • Selected for Southern US training by Southern Foods Program in 2010 by John Folse Culinary Institute, Thibodaux (Louisiana)
  • Won Iron chef challenge in Bangkok representing Indus Bangkok
  • Invited at Michigan and Indianapolis Universities (USA) to demonstrate the historic Indian cuisine.
  • Successfully accomplished pop up at Dusit Nairobi on progressive Indian cuisine.
  • Won 1st prize at the Bocus d’Or competition held at Ashoka Hotel – December 2009
  • Part of TV show with Zee Business called as The Great Chefs of India
  • Cooked for Gourmet Gurus of India which was sponsored by Food and Nightlife Magazine
  • Won gold medal at AAHAAR 2013 in the innovation category.
  • Cooked 8 course tasting menu for BBC Good Food 2014 at Grand Vasant Kunj.
  • Represented India at the Madrid Fusion 2015
  • Runner up – Chef of the Year 2015 by Outlook Traveler International
  • Writing a book on Indus Valley Civilization
  • Created a historic pop-up at Indus Bangkok on Progressive Indian Cuisine.
  • Created successful cook off at the vineyard of Argentina, South Africa, Japan and Canada.

Chef Subroto Goswami, one of the leading names in the world of Gastronomy, a pass-out from the Oberoi Center for Learning and Development from where he debuted his career and stayed on for 15 years. It was here that on one day he, when he was but a Sous-Chef, called upon, by virtue of his excellence in his art, to spearhead the food production of a special event at The Oberoi Srinagar of nobody else than Rai Bhadur Mohan Singh Oberoi, the Founder-Chairman of Oberoi Group. It was at The Oberoi New Delhi that he was one of the chefs in the opening team of La Rochelle, the famous fine-dining French restaurant and the moved on to Bangalore to set up the Delicatessen at the Oberoi. 

He though worked at different hotel groups, he found Hyatt Group to be ‘ahead of others’ with regard to innovation and advancement in the culinary field. His discovery to his amazement and dismay, was when he found in the capacity of the executive chef at the Radisson Punjabi Bagh that the clients were showing preference to the vegetarian food. “Being in the Punjabi Bagh area, I thought the non-veg dishes, on which I was doing a great amount of innovation, would be appreciated by the Punjabis living close by, but this was an unexpected discovery, so much so that some of them wanted their food without onion or garlic.” 

Another notable achievement which goes to the credit of Chef Goswami is his being awarded as a Culinary Champion in a competition during his tenure of 4 years at the IHG NOIDA, where 11 hotels had participated. 

Touching upon the subject of the current crisis of COVID, he commented that this was the ‘mother of all crises’ and said that every crisis should looked upon as an opportunity to derive a learning. without being depressed, we should understand that ‘This will also pass’… “Human beings are programmed to find a strategy to fight against every crisis” 

“We have dealt with many crises but have always come out victorious, be it the World Trade Center, floods in Srinagar or the 26/11 terrorist attack. We may have lost a tremendous amount of business, suffered immense setbacks, lost our clients, but, as the time passed by, it all came back to normal.” “Strategy is what we need and, sooner or later, WE WILL win over this situation”

Goswami elaborated vividly, by way of visuals, on the direct losses that the hotels and the restaurant businesses have had to recently suffer and suggested a few practical solutions: 

Be Positive: Losing hope will further deteriorate the situation and make us weak and fragile. Let us be positive and have a hope that this crisis will eventually have to go.

Conduct SWOT Analysis: We all must take stock of our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats as being aware of these things will build more confidence in us. 

Attend Management Courses: – create building blocks: The best way we can use the amount of time available to us is by further sharpening our knowledge and abilities. We always complain that we do not get enough time to devote for professional development and to further refine our skills. Now is the time that we all must do it as it is going to be easily possible. 

Attend Webinars: Many webinars are being announced these days and all of them are conducted and participated by eminent and well experienced people in the hospitality trade and they are absolutely for free. Let us attend them and enhance our knowledge, listening to these renowned people will surely enhance our knowledge. The best thing is that you can ask questions straight to the speakers. 

Learn foreign language: With China expected to slow down on international trade, Korea (South) is expected to rise as a major economy and will, whenever the situation becomes better, create advantage for Korean speakers. 

Educate others: A part of the time available to you should also be devoted towards educating others, underprivileged children so that they could get to learn many new things. 

Try your new dishes at home: For all you know, just doing impromptu, random trials at home might land up into you making some exotic dishes, which you will have the liberty of branding as your own… 

Invest time to strengthen the family bonds: You will probably never get such an opportunity which allows you to spend long periods of time with your spouse and children, which you must capitalize upon and enjoy their company. Tell them interesting stories and you all can get into the kitchen and try new dishes. This aspect should not be forgotten at all. 

PROFESSIONALLY: The hotels and service establishments must invest time on redesigning their menus, relook at kitchens layouts, try to understand the market trends, get to multi-tasking, build up the level of confidence and amongst staff members. 

This COVID will go away one day, we must prepare ourselves in advance and be ready to ride when the BUS Comes…

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