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Hire for Attitude - Train for Skill?

This post is quite dear to my heart - and I thought long time ago to write it up.

Todays management is focussed on "hire for attitude, train for skill". But we can't deny, that there is a certain decline of real skill in the global hospitality industry. I am not focussing on few markets, which flourish in craft bartending [Manhattan, Bay Area and few other spots in the US, certain parts of Germany, Paris, London]. Fact is, that in most areas, craft is in the decline.

The HfA-TfS could be one reason for it. Why? Let me explain.

I am working now one_and_a_half decades in hospitality - and especially in the luxury hotel industry. I exactly joined one bar, only, which was working on an adequate level of bartending [by the way, it is a bar, which you would expect the least this kind of quality - only thanks to Ralph Adamski, who was the bar manager].
All other bars had quite poor drinks, a mediocre beverage portfolio and not knowledgeable bartenders or bar waiters.

I believe, that you can hire for attitude, but can't just focus on this. You also have to hire for skills. I usually also hired for attitude [and sometimes plain old honesty] and not for skills - but only, because I felt comfortable to train myself. On the job training and class room training.

However the point is, if you don't have this expertise in your house [and lets face it - you have such a person seldom in your organization], you need to "buy in expertise".
You could do it with a consultant. To be honest: I never really believed in F&B consultancy. Yes- definitely for creating a proper bar [or restaurant] concept. Even for creating a good and contemporary beverage portfolio and cocktail selection. But for training?
Usually I see, that bartenders pick up an adequate bar knowledge after several month. At this time your bar consultant would be long gone…

This might not be a post for my readers in the US - as the bar there is so different.

Then, if you trained your colleagues, there is another obstacle: the best bartenders I trained, did quite a quick career, and are now F&B managers, bar experts, consultants, bar owners.
Ok - most of them would be interested, to work for me again - but not as normal bartenders and not for the usual little money, most companies are willing to pay.

Maybe it is time to have a different approach to recruitment: to hire for people, who love their job and whose priorities are not to grow [classically] as fast as possible in their organization!?

Anyway - for me it is very questionable, to HfA-TfS managers and people who train others. Maybe they are great leaders - however I believe that hospitality is carried equally by being good hosts and offering a great product. If it is in imbalance, the overall quality will suffer [if people are recognizing it immediately or not].


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