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Sat 9 Jan 2010 04:00 AM

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It’s good to talk

I was speaking to a chef from a reputable five-star hotel the other day (who shall remain nameless), and he told me one of the main problems he finds himself facing on a daily basis is his relationship with the property’s upper echelons of management.

I was speaking to a chef from a reputable five-star hotel the other day (who shall remain nameless), and he told me one of the main problems he finds himself facing on a daily basis is his relationship with the property’s upper echelons of management.His gripe was not that they had slashed budgets, cut staff numbers, or set unreasonable targets for his restaurants — it was simply that when they made changes affecting his team, they did not discuss them with him, or even speak to him in person; he was instead notified via email.

This situation — or ‘Communigate’, as the chef in question jokingly referred to it — may be an extreme example, and it certainly isn’t true of many chef-manager relationships, but it does raise an important point: good communication is vital at all levels of industry.

Whether you work in the kitchen, front-of-house, the bar or the finance department, everyone benefits from being kept in the loop.

Personal interaction bonds teams and builds solid work-place relationships, resulting in happier employees and consequently happier customers.

When people don’t communicate, whether it’s between colleagues, superiors to juniors, or vice versa, that is when problems, rumours, misunderstandings and malcontent arise.

The lack of communication in the case mentioned earlier could be due to a number of reasons: but whatever the cause, the effect will be detrimental to operations if this bad feeling is allowed to simmer and grow.

So remember that even though we are in an age of e-communication, with emails and texts making up a huge part of today’s correspondence, when you have something important to convey, there is no substitute for doing so personally.

This is how you build relationships and respect within a team — and you will find that taking the time to talk will pay dividends in the long term.

Lucy Taylor is the editor of Caterer Middle East.

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