Because the business owner of the Hibiscus Tree uses Xero as the bookkeeping and accounting software, the financial performance of this organization is automatically measured. At the end of each month, the business owner checks the accounting software to find out the numbers. For example, if the profit in May is higher than the profit in April, the business owner would identify the employees that contributed the most to the organization and give them some kind of reward. In psychology, this strategy is called ‘positive reinforcement’. Note that this only happens when the profit is higher (not when the revenue is higher) because according to the business owner of the Hibiscus Tree, only the profit is the real number in the accounting software (the rest does not really matter). Apparently, measuring the organization’s financial performance is streamlined.
Plastic cutlery isn’t ideal in the tourism and hospitality
In terms of environmental performance, the Hibiscus Tree did not have a system previously. However, last month South Australia became the first Australian state to introduce specific laws banning plastic cutlery. Consequently, since last month, the Hibiscus Tree has been using compostable and reusable items when customers order takeaways. Meanwhile, this initiative has impressed many customers because a large number of customers genuinely care about the environment.
The Hibiscus Tree’s main risk management system includes two components: 1) complying with Occupational Health and Safety regulations at all times; 2) insurance. These are probably the standard practice at most organizations in the hospitality industry and the system works well due to the appropriate compliance.
Change is the only constant in life
The Hibiscus Tree has backup plans in place for major disasters such as COVID-19. The first backup plan is to focus on selling takeaways – many customers order takeaways in the restaurant because they are unwilling to sit in the restaurant due to the current pandemic. The second backup plan is working with food delivery services such as Door Dash and Uber Eats. That means a lot of customers are ordering food on their smartphones at home and delivery services would bring takeaways to the customers directly. Obviously, training is required because employees need to know how to work with delivery services, e.g., how to accept an order online and how to process an order digitally. So far, these backup plans have become the effective system that helps the Hibiscus Tree manage change during uncertain times.
I have learned that I should focus on developing technical skills that are essential in the hospitality industry as well as soft skills that play a key role in my future employability brand. That is to say, I need to hone my customer service skills, food and beverage service skills, marketing skills, learnability & verbal and written communication. Moreover, I have identified management systems in the Hibiscus Tree, including the loyalty tracking system that measures customer satisfaction, the reward system that measures staff satisfaction, the accounting software (Xero) that measures the restaurant’s financial performance, the new cutlery system which supports the organization’s environmental performance, the risk management system which ensures safety in the workplace and the change management system which helps the Chinese restaurant to gain sustainable success in the uncertain economy.
The Hibiscus Tree mainly hires employees who are native speakers of Chinese because it is a Chinese restaurant. As a consequence, many employees do not have outstanding verbal and written communication skills in English, which hinders the restaurant’s ability to attract new customers who are not Chinese in Adelaide. Therefore, the business owner would be well-advised to encourage staff members to attend English classes.
Although the reward system works reasonably well for the employees and the employer, the business owner also needs to consider Gary Vaynerchuk’s principle: hire fast, fire faster, promote fastest. Vaynerchuk (2011) indicates that it takes some time to hire the right person because he needs to observe a candidate’s emotional intelligence before hiring them; when an employee spreads negativity in the organization, he would immediately fire this employee so that the organization’s culture can be protected in time; whenever an employee shows excellent skills and contributes to the organization tremendously, he would promote this employee very quickly so two things will happen: A) the employee will receive a reward as a result of their hard work; B) because the employee has more responsibilities after the promotion (a large amount of work is delegated to this employee), a big part of the business can be automated.
“Some businesses can thrive in the tourism and hospitality industry even in trying times.”