The hospitality industry needs to act now to rid itself of the “Manuel factor” in order to take advantage of the 2012 Olympics, People 1st warned today.
Around 6.5 million people will be drawn to London for the Olympics but like the accident-prone Spanish waiter in Fawlty Towers, waiters are among a number of jobs within hospitality which urgently need to improve skills, the sector skills council claimed in a new report.
There needs to be a significant shift in the quality of customer service delivered in the run up to 2012, as the current perception of the UK’s welcome to overseas visitors ranks only 17 out of 35 developed countries, the report said.
The report also revealed that:
- Waiting staff need to enhance skills, knowledge and attributes in areas including timekeeping and understanding cultural difference
- Attributes currently lacking among waiting staff include communications and language skills
- Nearly two-thirds of London employers believe their staff customer service skills aren’t up to scratch
- The high proportion of overseas workers already working in London in the sector can play a big role in helping companies fine tune their customer experience.
Brian Wisdom, chief executive of People 1st, said: “The 2012 Olympics presents one of the biggest opportunities we have ever had to showcase the UK to the world – so it’s vital we look to eradicate the “Manuel factor” now, by promoting the right skills in the hospitality, leisure, travel and tourism industries.
“The welcome we give the millions of visitors flocking here will be pivotal in helping change long-held perceptions and ensure that the UK becomes globally renowned for its gold standard customer service.”
“By working together with employers and the industry we can continue to encourage and attract enthusiastic and motivated people into the sector,” he added.
The Games workforce alone is estimated to be 100,000 people, with 27,000 working in hospitality.
By Daniel Thomas
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