Running a business in the hospitality sector

March, 2015

The hospitality industry is a great one to get into if you dream of becoming your own boss. Perhaps you hope to open a sweet little café in Nairn, a bustling pub in Buckie, or a luxury hotel in the heart of Elgin. Those concepts may seem ideal, but how do you know the industry is right for you? Our guide will help you decide, so read on to find out more.


What's it like working in hospitality?

Hospitality is an industry all about people. The end goal of any business in the sector is to provide a great service so the customer walks away happy. Every role is important. Whether you're cleaning their bedroom, fixing them a drink or welcoming them as you hold the door open, you're making someone's day that little bit better.

It's an ever-changing industry, because there's always room for improvement when it comes to customer service. Demands and tastes change, and your job is to keep up with that. Whichever role you take on, no two days will be the same, and your working hours are likely to vary too - don't expect a nine 'til five shift!

Although you'll be rushed off your feet and working long hours from time to time, there's a lot of great perks to working in the hospitality industry. You may get to attend lots of fancy events, eat gourmet food and rub shoulders with the stars. Not to mention you'll be working with some of the friendliest people in the world - the industry doesn't hire anyone who doesn't like people!


What type of people does it suit?

If you're still unsure if the industry is right for you, then consider what your skills are, both hard and soft. To work in hospitality you must love what you do, otherwise you won't be able to provide the best service possible to your customers. As we've previously stated, loving fellow human beings is a must; no one likes a grumpy concierge.

Creative minds do well in this industry too, as there's always a way to improve your service - you've just got to find it! You will also need to be able to cope under pressure, as there are a number of things that can go wrong during service, particularly when it's busy. This means you need to be able to multi-task too.

In order for any hospitality business to run smoothly, everyone has to work together in complete harmony. Therefore it's vital to be a team player with lots of energy.


What types of jobs are available?

Hospitality businesses are made up of a whole range of people, from chefs and baristas, to porters and engineers. Wherever your skills lie, it's pretty likely there's a job for you out there.

If you love cooking, you may want to work in a kitchen as a kitchen hand or pastry chef. If it's people you love, you'll want to be front of house as a bar manager or waiter. You may prefer to stay behind the scenes as a cleaner, or work in accounting and finance. The choice is yours - it takes all sorts to run a hotel, pub or café.


What type of business could I run?

If the idea of becoming your own boss is tempting you, then the next thing to think about is what type of business you could run. There are a wide variety of choices available; here are some examples:


Looking for a challenge? Then running a hotel may be right for you. It's a round-the-clock business, as people will be checking in at all hours of the day and night. A good hotel has fantastic facilities, such as a bar, gym, and swimming pool, but doesn't skimp on the customer service. It's a balance that's not easy to get right, but if you do get it right, you really can reap the rewards.


Running a hotel often requires a lot of start-up capital, so if you don't have that, a guesthouse may be the solution. You can convert your existing home into a home-from-home for tourists. This step can mark the beginning of a great family business, and unlike a hotel you don't need to be open all hours. Read our guide >>


A good pub can be the cornerstone of any community, so if you want to support your local area, then maybe you should consider becoming the next Peggy Mitchell (although we hope your customer service skills are a little better). A pub is not just a pub either; there are a whole host of different types. If you have a passion for great food you can run a gastro pub, or if you want to attract the local footie fans you could have a sports pub.

How do I know which business is right for me?

The key question to ask yourself is: what do you want to get out of your business? You may want to become a greater part of your community, or spend all day doing something you love. It may be as simple as you just want to make money, or have the freedom to work whatever hours you like. You may even want to create a legacy by starting a family business, or you could have a completely unique idea you want to capitalise on, such as the crisp sandwich café or cereal café

Each type of hospitality business has its own benefits and disadvantages, so it's key to do your research first. Of course it helps if you have already worked in that type of establishment before - stick to where your skills lie and you're sure to be a success.

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