Hotelier or Restaurateur, are you a Leader?

Being a leader is not easy, especially if you are a hotelier or restaurateur. In general, few stories in the global industry landscape are as emblematic and resonant as the one of Ferrero. Founded more than 70 years ago by Michele Ferrero, the company has grown into an international giant known for its wide range of sweet treats. One of the pillars of Ferrero’s success has been a document, “The 17 Rules of Leadership,” written by Michele Ferrero more than 40 years ago. These rules, designed as guidelines for the company’s leaders and managers, have been a key reference point in managing personnel and building a successful corporate culture.

Decades later, these rules have not lost their relevance. On the contrary, with their extraordinary foresight and modernity, they are more relevant than ever. The principles expressed in these rules, based on respect, communication, participation, and humanity, can be successfully applied in any industry, including the hospitality industry.

For an enlightened hotelier or restaurateur, the application of these rules can be a key to ensuring the lasting success of their businesses. In an ever-changing and highly competitive industry like hospitality, these rules can provide a solid, people-oriented framework that can foster both business growth and customer satisfaction. That is why Michele Ferrero’s 17 rules still represent a treasure trove of wisdom from which every hotelier and restaurateur can draw inspiration.

In this article

The first 5 rules of leadership

1. Make employees feel comfortable: Start by creating a comfortable environment for employees. In the hospitality industry, employees are often in contact with customers and guests, dealing with stressful situations. It is essential to give them the time they need, listen to their concerns and put them at ease. A caring leader can make the difference between a happy and a stressed employee, which can have a direct impact on the level of service provided to customers.

2. Make clear decisions and involve employees: This rule emphasizes the importance of employee involvement in decisions. In the context of a hotel or restaurant, involving staff in decisions about the menu, working hours, or promotion strategies can not only improve efficiency, but also increase a sense of ownership and motivation.

3. Communicating changes: Clear and timely communication of changes can prevent misunderstandings and resistance. This is especially important in a rapidly changing environment such as hospitality and catering.

4. Communicating appreciation: This rule recognizes the importance of acknowledging work well done. In the hospitality and restaurant industry, where customer satisfaction is paramount,
recognition of good work done by employees can have a significant impact on morale and self- esteem.

5. Intervene promptly: This rule calls for early intervention to solve problems. In an industry like hospitality, where situations can change rapidly, the ability to intervene early can prevent small problems before they become major ones.

The 10 basic rules of leadership

6. Act on causes rather than behavior: Identifying and solving the causes of problems can prevent erratic behaviors from happening again. For example, if a staff member makes a mistake, the solution should not be limited to reprimand, but should seek to understand why the mistake occurred and how it can be prevented in the future.

7. Consider problems in their overall aspect: Focusing on details can distract from the big picture and lead to suboptimal decisions. An effective leader must be able to see the big picture and leave some leeway for his or her staff.

8. Be human: This rule emphasizes the importance of treating co-workers with kindness, understanding and respect. In hospitality and catering, where empathy and courtesy are vital, this is especially important. A leader must show compassion and humanity, both toward staff and customers.

9. Don’t ask the impossible: Maintaining realistic expectations is critical to preventing staff burnout. In an industry like hospitality, where schedules can be stressful and customer demands can be demanding, it is important to be realistic about what you can expect from staff.

10. Admit your mistakes: This rule emphasizes the importance of humility in leadership. Admitting one’s mistakes not only promotes a work environment where learning and growth are encouraged, but also shows staff that it is normal to make mistakes and that the important thing is to learn from them.

11. Care about what staff think: Feedback from staff is valuable and should be valued. A thoughtful leader will listen to the concerns and ideas of his or her team, helping to create an inclusive and respectful work environment.

12. Don’t do everything but learn to delegate: This rule highlights the importance of delegating and recognizing the individual skills and abilities of team members. In the hospitality industry, tasks can be very diverse, and it is important to value the individual skills of team members.

13. Be wary of sycophants: This rule warns against the dangers of excessive flattery. A wise leader will recognize the importance of honest, constructive feedback and be wary of those who offer only empty praise.

14. Give what is due: This rule emphasizes the importance of recognizing the value of staff work. This includes not only fair pay, but also recognition of hard work and commitment.

15. Do not make decisions under the influence of strong emotions: This rule promotes the importance of rational and calm thinking in decision making. It is especially relevant in the hospitality industry, where decisions can have a direct impact on customer satisfaction and the guest experience.

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The last 2 rules of leadership

16. Remember the effect of a good or bad leader: A good leader can enhance the capabilities of his or her employees, while a bad leader can demotivate and limit them. This is especially true in the hospitality industry, where team morale can have a direct impact on customer service.

17. Believe in leadership principles: This rule emphasizes the importance of adaptation and adherence to leadership principles. A leader who does not believe in the principles he or she is trying to promote will not be effective in enforcing them.

In conclusion, these 17 leadership rules, although written over 40 years ago, are still relevant and pertinent today. Whether in a large company like Ferrero or in a hotel or restaurant, respect, communication, listening, and valuing staff are essential values for effective management. These rules provide a practical and humane framework for the leadership of a hotelier or restaurateur, highlighting the importance of being a balanced, thoughtful, and compassionate leader.

For example, a good hotelier or restaurateur must always be attentive and sensitive to the needs of his staff, providing a positive, safe, and respectful working environment. He or she must also be able to listen to staff ideas and concerns, respect their limitations, and value their individual abilities. Finally, an effective leader will not only communicate openly and honestly with his team but will also be open to feedback and able to admit his own mistakes.

Following these rules can make the difference between a demotivated team and a motivated and productive one. This is especially important in the hospitality industry, where customer satisfaction is directly related to the level of service provided by staff. A happy and satisfied staff is more likely to provide quality service, which can have a direct impact on the success of a hotel or restaurant.

Thus, although these rules were written for Ferrero managers, they can easily be adapted and applied to any hotelier or restaurateur. They provide a framework for effective and respectful leadership that can lead to a more positive and productive work environment, greater staff satisfaction, and ultimately, greater customer satisfaction.

In an age when hospitality and catering are becoming increasingly competitive, the application of these rules can be a key factor for success. Whether running a small family restaurant or a large luxury hotel, Ferrero’s leadership rules can provide valuable guidance for anyone in a leadership position.

Article written by Giancarlo De Leonardo, former hotelier and restaurateur, now founder of Caro Collega