Hospitality Service Standards of 80’s & 90’s: Where Have They Gone?

I’ve started my first ‘hospitality/service’ internship 17-years ago.  I’ve learned a lot since then and experienced even a lot more as to date.



(Ring-a-Ding-Ding… Hellooooo…!?!?! Hospitality & Service Standards Please…)


Did you know? “Service industries account for 68 percent of U.S. GDP and four out of five U.S. jobs. This dynamic services economy generates the largest services trade in the world, with exports of $606 billion dollars in 2011 and a trade surplus of $179 billion. Services supplied abroad by U.S. affiliates accounted for another $1.1 trillion in revenue in 2010 (latest available data).” (Source:  Office of the United States Trade Representative.

Do you know?  If you belong to the hospitality/service industry, in whichever role that you’re in – from Board of Directors, Executive Team down to Managers, Supervisors to the smallest minute role as a frontline service personnel, plays an important part to the chain of commands by affecting the daily functions/operations that provides a certain result; to the different possibilities of outcome for the service industry – as a whole.  In whichever part of the organizational chart that you’re in, it’s the same as a process chart where and how things moves up and down, left and right.  Reminder is the chart could be as small as an internal team to the company/corporation – to the scale of the entire industry.



(Hospitality Service applies to Hotels only…?!?!)


Being in the hospitality/service industry is not just a job, it is not just putting a smile on your face and wing your way through the day.  It’s a people industry where your work, your job – what you do, how you do it, in what way you do it – is a liability to the service industry because it affects the people that you provide service to.  It reflects on your team, department, company to the entire hospitality/service sector that you represent.  Honestly speaking, if you are unwilling to be in the hospitality/service industry – don’t ruin it for the rest of us, please.

For example, the recent news of “Family Says They Did Tip Gay Server, Didn’t Leave Note”  How does it reflect on the rest of the servers across the country, and on LGBT?  Did I mention that news travels as fast as lightning these days – how does visitors, tourists to business investors from across the world have confidence in coming to the US?  Please read the second paragraph again before you continue to the rest of the article.



(Who the hell cares about the stars rating,

if you can slip-in a ‘discretionary gratuity to benefits’ and get….?!?)

In comparison to what I’ve learned through the 17-years, have we (hospitality/service) forgotten all about standards?  Certain procedures and protocols that’s been there since the 80’s and 90’s seems to me it’s all out the window because some of us just decided to sit there and play with their fingers and veg-out on a bowl of lard.  As long as there’s consistent demand for service/hospitality and the revenue is continuously coming in, ‘who the hell cares’ that type of thinking lurks around and eats into the entire industry.  How long would it take to tarnish what’s been developed in the 80’s and 90’s if some of us continue not to care?


May I recall on the incident in 2011, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the Head of IMF was allegedly sexually assaulted a housekeeper in a New York City, Manhattan hotel?  Isn’t this already a red flag to the hospitality industry on safety and security of not just the guests, but employees too?

“IMF chief arrested in alleged sex assault, police tell AP”

“Dominique Strauss-Kahn Settlement: Former IMF Chief, Nafissatou Diallo Settle Sexual Assault Lawsuit”


That wasn’t enough to brew hot coffee for the industry to smell…

“Passenger wakes up on LOCKED plane in the dark after staff failed to notice him asleep in his seat”


And then even more laissez-faire, whatever kind of service standards

that minors be transported all over the country.

What if extremists starts to use young children as a weapon of mass destruction?!?

“Boy hops plane to Vegas, apparently alone and without ticket”

“ONLY ON NEWS 13: Teen boards wrong flight at Orlando Sanford Int’l Airport”




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Tricks of Trade: in Hospitality and in all other fields of businesses?

One of the first required core curriculum in the college I attended was Food & Beverage Management.  The professor/lecturer on the first day of class simply said: “If you or a friend who wants to open up something in F&B – you must have gone crazy.”

The professor/lecturer said that to us is not because he didn’t want any of us to pursue hospitality in the track of F&B.  It was a statement, a remark for those who do want to, to always bear in mind – the craziness, the hectic, the action, the heavily people based (both in internal staffing, sourcing ingredients and raw materials and external customers) oriented business it is.

Thinking further now is that within the hectic and all the action from morning breakfast, power lunches, business dinners to late-night diner snacking – then the bar and all the alcohol consumption that comes along with food.  The people orientated constant interaction is non-stop; AND to provide the F&B in quality and with service – there’s bound to be craziness.

Throughout the semester, my professor/lecturer would tell stories of ‘Tricks of Trade’ in the F&B industry.  Don’t get me wrong, but I believe that back in his days when he was in the industry before he teaches the subject, it was ‘small-ass-shit’ (excuse my language).  An example that he gave was in a busy bar/lounge/club.  Depending how honest and trustworthy your bar team is, one can use stirrers and cocktail straws with a rock glass next to the cashier/POS system (Point-of-Sale).  The stirrers and cocktail straws looks as if it’s something that’s necessary behind the bar, not to be surprised with by anyone, including the manager and business owner.  Under the surface, it’s a clicker or a counter for the number of drinks that he/she have either given out for free of charge, to the number of drinks that he/she did or did not ring up on the cashier/POS to simply take cash out of the till/drawer at the end of the night when it’s ‘day end’ to do cashing-up and reporting; or to refill the empty bottles with the not-so prescribed list of spirits that the management/owner has ordered.

Well, I’ve graduated 12-years on… and for sure that years have gone by and times have changed for nothing ‘small-ass-shit’ anymore.

A few months back, I was smoking a cigarette outside some shop in the Theatre District, outside a hotel.  A guy came up to me and asked me for a cigarette, most of the time I would give one to anyone who asks (depending on age) as it costs so much for a pack now.  Then the guy started some small talk with me and said that he has some weed/pot and would I like to try some…  This is right off the street, in a tourist area.


AL PACINO ist Scarface Tony Montana Box

(Motion Picture: Scarface)


I’ll be honest that weed/pot is not something that I’d like at all because of the smell afterwards, the burning throat and it doesn’t do much for me.  Besides, in today’s world on how you think that ‘designer drugs’ are a random ‘mad-chem-scientist’ mixing lethal combinations of MDMA into ‘Molly’ is bad; not too far away is weed/pot where ‘accelerated’ growth of Marijuana plants under UV lights is unatural to begin with, but to add on different chemical additives that’s worse than tobacco cigarettes in the 80’s and 90’s…

Therefore, I turned this guy’s offer down and walked away.

Have walking around Manhattan so much for the past months.  I can’t confirm to be exactly sure but here’s what I think the not-so ‘small-ass-shit’ has evolved into beyond anything small – it’s an absolutely ‘big-ass-shit’ so-called businesses:

There’s plenty of tourist attractions and companies that sells the attractions – plus some that come in packages.  Bear in mind the above weed/pot offering incident.  Is that it’s very much legitimate that someone goes to attractions and/or to buy the packages.

However, once the attraction and package that’s been bought.  There’s also such thing called ‘gratuity’.  Unspecified and it’s very much up to the customer.  I guess it’s a two-way street that the ones that sells attractions and the customer can both offer or ask for additional services and benefits from ‘value-added’ packages.



(Broadway Theatre:  West Side Story)


What type of attractions.  Go figure.  There’s the family oriented of sightseeing tours to theatre tickets to adult entertainment…

On the surface, it’s an entertainment package to be in a pole dancing club or is it as simple as it is of a lap dance.  Nothing more than simple…?  I guess, it all depends on how much gratuity that the customer has slipped into the hands of the person who sold the tour package, or the doorman behind the velvet rope?



(Theatre Production:  West Side Story)


Furthermore, does it come with a hotel room somewhere?  Does it come with other tourists that are around the area or is it those who bought a one way ticket to the Big Apple to seek for an opportunity, for a better life?  What about the assortment of so-called ‘love-seeking-dating-matchmaking’ websites?  Does any of these sites feeds into the business as another channel for so-called legitimate and legal prostitution?

Oh, did I say anything on ‘strictly-members-only’ venues that’s boarded up on street level with all windows fashionly designed to look very trendy and chic but you have no clue what’s inside behind those doors with multiple security cameras all over the exterior walls.  How does the ‘member-fee’ offers a list of services on paper and then some that are ‘upon request’ and ‘with discretionary’ by the management, operator, owner?

I don’t think I need to go further that what comes along next… violence, drugs, human-trafficking, corruption, money laundering, violation of human rights, exploitation – all feeds into eating up our community and influencing the ones who are easily persuaded into following the footsteps of these businesses.

Eventually, all of the not-so ‘small-ass-shit’ are powerful and strong enough to eat the righteous and those who stands for certain ethical standards and moral values – ALIVE.



(Motion Picture:  The Counselor)


I’m no angel.  I’ve been through and done my share of the raver/clubbing days in my 20’s.  Yes, it was way fun – but there’s also a limit.  There’s no way at all that anyone, not the government, no laws that can completely abolish things like prostitution or drugs.  It’s been around since…?!?   What is considered to be ‘ok’ and ‘not ok’ in our everyday lives, in our community, in businesses?  Where’s the thin red line when ethical standards and moral values are all blurred into all shades, all tones, all gradient, all shadows, all hues, all contrasts… and it’s not even an Impressionist masterpiece but only a splotch of paint on canvas.


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