The hospitality model is broken – training to the rescue?

The commercial hospitality model as we know it is broken. High rents, higher operating costs, and an unstable financial climate are taking their toll on hospitality operators worldwide.

According to a study from the University of Greenwich1, only 11% of the Gen Z population would consider pursuing this career path, with one respondent saying ‘I question whether there will be a lasting career in hospitality’.

So where do we go from here?

Raising prices, reducing opening hours, and diversifying revenue streams are rising in popularity – turning venues into event spaces for example. However, this doesn’t address the critical issue of increased operating costs paired with staff longevity within the industry.

What if there is a way to transform hearts and minds when it comes to a career in hospitality? Something that could set people on the path of success and longevity in the industry?

Training could change the trajectory of the industry

Hospitality operators have a unique opportunity to change the direction of the industry, using training as a business growth tool.

If expansion is only possible with profitability, then identifying chances to develop people to increase revenue could be the future of the industry.

Sales, upselling, and cross-selling training

If your goal as an operator is to increase revenue without hiking prices, ensuring that your team is full of highly skilled, confident salespeople makes sense.

See first-hand how investing in skill development has impacted the team within international convenience giant, Circle K.

If every person working a shift can upsell or cross-sell effectively, suddenly there are far more chances to increase revenue on a day-to-day basis. Every extra pint pulled makes a difference to your bottom line.

Seeing opportunities for further sales must become more than just a set of skills, it has to become part of your internal culture. It can’t be something reserved for a special few individuals that you hope will be on shift that day.

It’s not simply a matter of providing the learning materials, it must be embedded in the foundations of your organization from the ground up.

But with so many personality types and abilities in your team, a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t likely to work. You need adaptable, flexible, and customizable training that your team can mold to their unique strengths – helping them to feel the most confident in their skill set, while still being able to be themselves.

Hospitality training as it stands

Historically, training has kept an individual in a narrow lane. Front of house in one, back of house in another. It’s been relatively static.

But what if there was a way to diversify training that allows a team member to explore their options within a single organization? What impact might this have on revenue, staff retention, and leadership development?

When operators work hard to create bespoke guest experiences, it only makes sense that the training provided to staff matches that level of personalization. Simply training your teams in compliance and health and safety does not higher revenue make.

‘Training needs from an attack perspective, not a defense.’

Diversifying learning pathways

In 2022, recruitment was costing the hospitality industry as much as £22bn a year2, with vacancy rates as high as 11%, compared to just 4% in other industries in the UK.

If the money going into these costly recruitment drives could be used to invest in high-quality onboarding and training for existing staff, would it mean more opportunities to recruit and develop from within? I think so.

Typically, onboarding can cost an organization $14003 on average per new member of staff. With that kind of budget being spent, you want to make sure team members are going the distance and that ultimately, your investment in that person pays dividends. They feel more confident, and more cared for and have the skills and passion required to create great experiences for your customers.

UK-based Village Hotels is just one of the operators taking steps to offer their staff access to a diverse range of career paths depending on what interests them. Someone who works in front-of-house may express an interest in moving to operations in the future. It’s at this early stage they can begin to access the necessary resources and learning they need to be ready when the hiring process begins.

Not only is this advantageous in terms of time and money spent recruiting and onboarding, but it also means you have a ready-made candidate who understands the culture and the people in your organization.

I’m optimistic about the future of hospitality. I think this is an exciting time to be part of a growing L&D culture within the industry. There’s definitely scope to use technology and emerging AI technology to develop a new generation of highly skilled hospitality staff who will, with any luck, take great pleasure in forging a long career in our pubs, restaurants, hotels, and other providers. 

Are you ready to level up your training?

You might also be interested in

AI isn’t coming for hotelier jobs. It’s making them easier

Role-play training makes Gen Z cringe – time to move with the times

The shop floor – help smaller retail teams excel with better training

Bridging the generational gaps in hospitality training


  1. Perceptions of hospitality as a
    career choice for young adults,
  2. Recruitment crisis costing sector £22bn a year,
  3. Key HR Statistics And Trends In 2024,