In both hospitality and football “consistency is more important than skill, talent or ability”, former England and Manchester United right back Gary Neville told those gathered for the launch of the 2020 Gold Service Scholarship.
In an interview with WSH and Gold Service Scholarship chairman Alastair Storey, Neville said: “Consistency is often underrated, but it’s what every boss wants. You need to work hard every day and be consistent. You can’t have nearly clean sheets or a nearly cooked steak. People expect the best and expect it to be right every time.”
Also as in football, Neville said passion was an overrated trait when serving customers as it often lead to mistakes.
“In hospitality you need to be quite cold, clinical and organised. Passion is not always the best emotion.”
With Stocks hotel due to open in Manchester in the autumn, Neville said it was bad mini bars that first attracted him to hospitality.
“I’d always been fascinated by hotels and spent a lot of time in them when playing football. What I wanted was a really good bed and an interesting, well-thought out minibar. I resented the idea of paying £3.50 for a bottle of water or £4 for a chocolate bar so everything is free in ours. I’ve probably lost a lot of money on them.”
Neville praised the improving Manchester hospitality scene, but said it lagged behind the level of service on offer in London.
“You see the standard in London and it’s not stretched to other cities. You think you’ve seen good service, but then you go to somewhere in Mayfair and it’s something else. It’s a problem in the industry, as if you expose staff to the highest standards, they’ll grow. London excels because it has the product, quality hotels and tourism.
“I went to Le Manoir [in Oxfordshire] with my family recently and there are very few places like that where I live.”
Other speakers at the event to launch the 2020 service competition included Castore sportswear brand founder Tom Beahon, Corinthia managing director Thomas Kochs and restaurateur Jeremy King.
The 2020 Gold Service Scholarship, won this year by Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons assistant restaurant manager Karen Gruet, opens for entries in September 2019.