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Hospitality Training: Preparing for Post-Pandemic Challenges

submitted on 20 August 2023 by

The Great Disinfection of 2021

Imagine, if you will, a world where hospitality staff don white biohazard suits and scurry about their establishments like a scene from a '70s sci-fi movie. It's a brave new world of hand sanitizer, social distancing, and Plexiglas shields, where the once-snuggly hotel lobby has transformed into a sterile, unyielding environment—a veritable no-touch zone.With the lingering threat of COVID-19, it's clear that hospitality training needs a reboot in order to weather the fallout of this pandemic. But fear not, for I am here to guide you through the murky waters of post-pandemic hospitality with a splash of wit and a dash of absurdity.

The Art of Non-Contact Service

Before 2020, the phrase "non-contact service" would have been as baffling as a bartender miming their way through a Tom Cruise-inspired cocktail routine. Thankfully, we now live in an age where one can order food, drinks, and a side of existential dread with minimal human interaction!Aspiring hospitality professionals must adapt to this new environment, mastering such skills as:
  • Training their eyes to convey warmth and empathy from behind a foggy mask
  • Perfecting the use of tongs and spatulas to achieve precise plating from a safe distance
  • Replacing the once obligatory handshake with a jaunty nod or an interpretive dance

Disinfecting Every Nook, Cranny, and Crevice

A key component of post-pandemic hospitality training is mastering the fine art of disinfection. No longer can staff rely on the trusty feather duster and an enthusiastic swipe to keep the premises spick and span. Oh no, my friends. It's time to embrace the dark side of cleanliness.Disposable gloves, industrial-grade disinfectants, and elbow grease are the order of the day as every surface—and I do mean every surface—must be scrubbed until it gleams with the light of a thousand suns. Trainees should be prepared to invade the personal space of objects in a way that makes even the boldest of microbes shudder with fear.

Anticipating Guests' (Paranoid) Needs

While we adjust to the new normal, it's more important than ever to anticipate the needs of guests, who may now arrive armed with their own arsenal of disinfectants, personal protective equipment, and a healthy distrust of anything resembling a surface.Staff must be prepared to offer:
  • Disposable masks, gloves, and tiny vials of sanitizer on demand
  • Impromptu demonstrations on the fine art of air hugs and elbow bumps
  • Assurances that every square inch of the establishment has been disinfected with the fury of a thousand cleaning angels

Food Safety: Beyond the Five-Second Rule

For those in the food service industry, the post-pandemic landscape has rendered the five-second rule obsolete. In fact, the mere suggestion of such a rule may now induce paroxysms of horror in your clientele. Instead, the focus must be on rigorous food safety practices that would impress even the most stringent health inspector.Trainees will need to:
  • Develop an intimate relationship with their thermometer, ensuring all food is prepared and stored at the appropriate temperatures
  • Master the subtle dance of the handwashing routine
  • Accept, with grace and humility, that plastic gloves are now an essential accessory to any chef's wardrobe

Embracing the World of Online Hospitality

With the rise of remote work and virtual events, hospitality professionals must adapt to a digital environment where the experience of sipping a cocktail on a sun-drenched terrace has been replaced by diligently sipping a boxed wine while participating in a Zoom happy hour.Future hospitality stars will need to:
  • Hone their online hosting skills, navigating the delicate balance between charming small talk and accidentally muting oneself
  • Learn to troubleshoot common tech issues as gracefully as they once uncorked wine
  • Accept, with a heavy heart, that their online presence may be forever haunted by their unfortunate choice of virtual background
As we venture forth into the uncertain world of post-pandemic hospitality, it's important to remember that the industry has always been one of adaptation and resilience. So, don your masks, arm yourselves with sanitizer, and embrace the challenges of the new normal with gusto!
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