With the pandemic long over by this point, people are still incredibly excited about going out in the world to have some fun.
The days of staying at home and doing little more than sleeping, eating, and binge-watching our favorite shows are finished. We can travel again, we can go out to eat, and we can take time to sample the finer things in life.
And despite the extreme difficulties they faced back in 2020 and 2021, service industry professionals, managers, and brands have had to rise to the challenge and meet all this demand.
High-quality hotels, restaurants, and more need to be able to provide the best possible service without making any kind of excuses. After all, so many guests are visiting hotels and restaurants specifically so they can forget about the days when these activities simply weren’t allowed.
The economic flux of the post-pandemic world also means that new hotels and restaurants are springing up all the time, and establishing a positive reputation in these industries isn’t easy.
So what needs to happen for these establishments to rise to the top? Quite a lot, actually.
We want this article to be a behind-the-scenes look at the elaborate strategy, planning, and training that make it possible for establishments to stay profitable while also providing top-tier service, and in order to provide the most useful insights and up-to-date information, Artvoice contacted an expert consultant who specializes in high-end restaurants and hotels, and his name is Nicola Aldo Luciani.
Luciani knows how to lead teams to success in the hospitality and culinary industries, and that’s not a skill that he developed overnight. Luciani has more than eighteen years of experience with Michelin Star restaurants and luxury hotels all around the world.
This Business Strategist Consultant & Project Manager has even won awards for his work, and he has a special enthusiasm for taking on large-scale projects and training whole teams across multiple departments.
He knows how to assess a situation and deliver a solid strategy that will contribute toward success, and after seeing his track record, we knew he was the person we needed to talk to.
Asked to summarize his understanding of business strategy, Luciani had this to say.
“The first reason to develop a strategy is to save yourself time, money, and effort. A strategy is how something gets done, not just what you do. It is your approach to the project. In other words, it is an intelligent way of reaching your goal with the least amount of wasted effort or cost. Once a strategy is formed, the plan for execution becomes obvious.”
Though developing a business strategy only takes a limited amount of time, the right strategy can lead to almost limitless savings and benefits over the long term.
Running a hotel or a restaurant is a high-risk endeavor. That’s just a fact, and it only emphasizes the need for an appropriate strategy.
Without an effective strategy, a business can start to bleed money and resources all too easily. Over many years’ worth of experience, Luciani has learned how to prevent that negative momentum.
According to Luciani himself, that expertise was founded on extensive international work experience.
The international angle
Let’s turn the clock back to 2014 when Luciani had just finished some contract work in the Middle East and West Africa.
He went back home to the UK, where he worked a day job at Harrods for a while before a London-based consultancy company sought him out.
“They were intrigued by my international work experience, so they took me on board. The job consisted of drawing on my professional experience and problem-solving skills to deliver operational consultancy to luxury five-star hotels. I fell in love with it instantly. I was able to travel around the world while learning and sharing my knowledge.”
Since then, Luciani’s work has taken him to three different continents and numerous cities, and to this day, he feels that this collective experience of working in different countries, with different cultures, helps to give him a competitive advantage.
Not only does this international work experience allow Luciani to have a more comprehensive view of the industry norms and trends, but it has also made Luciani a master of communication.
The best strategy isn’t worth a dime if it can’t be effectively communicated to leadership and staff. And while we’re on the topic, let’s talk about some key training and leadership principles.
Training and leading staff
To give an idea of the scope we’re talking about here, Luciani’s projects might require that he trains dozens or even hundreds of staff members, so naturally, we wanted to know how he approaches these scenarios.
First, he discussed his adaptive approach to training.
“In the beginning, I did like anyone else: I followed ‘the manual.’ And over time, I developed my own methods. A trainer who understands the audience and finds the best way to deliver the program will have their own unique approach.”
This philosophy is closely tied to Luciani’s view on responsible and effective leadership.
“Before leading others, learn how to lead yourself. Be accountable for your actions. I treat leadership as an idea, a core value that serves me as a compass in life. In life, as in the workplace, our actions and behaviors affect those around us. This has a greater impact when you hold a leadership position. So, to answer the question, I communicate with my staff through my actions.”
Luciani focuses on being a leader that others can trust, which builds an environment of trust and honest communication.
That kind of stability and reliability is all the more important when the stress is high and the deadline is tight.
In some cases, Luciani has to do his work over several months, and in other cases, everything has to be done in weeks.
For example, one of Luciani’s recent projects was a pre-opening of a London-based fine-dining restaurant in Saudi Arabia. Because the clients had such a substantial budget, the team was able to take their time to make all the necessary preparations.
But while working in the Bahamas for a 2,600-room luxury casino resort, Luciani had to deliver results on a much, much shorter timeline.
“We had to deliver tons of objectives within five weeks. It was hell! So the timeline varies all the time. It really depends on where on earth you are working and who is involved.”
And regardless of whatever the timeline happens to be, consultants like Luciani are expected to meet deadlines every single time. No excuses, no compromises.
It’s important to remember that these aren’t your average hotels and restaurants, either. Luciani and other experts are called in by the biggest names in the industry, and they don’t intend to settle for less.
If you’ve ever worked at or even visited one of these kinds of establishments, then you already know just how seriously they take their service. There’s virtually no room for errors, and after years of working with industry titans, Luciani has come to understand how to maintain these incredibly high standards.
I have a fair amount of knowledge of the industry and sorry in advance for the cliché but there is still a lot to learn. However,
“Having worked with luxury hotels and celebrity chefs like Nobu and Gordon Ramsay, I’ve learned an important lesson in regard to going above and beyond. It’s really about repetition and consistency. You can’t just do your job well once or twice. You have to keep performing at a high level every day. Over time, it gets easier and easier to be consistent.”
It may be a bit of a cliche, but practice makes perfect holds true. With enough time and the right guidance, it’s possible to approach something near perfection, and luxury hotels and restaurants rely on their teams to be at their best, not just sometimes.
Every single day, the pressure is on. For Luciani, the primary goal is to give huge teams the tools they need to meet and even exceed those expectations.
If there’s just one thing we really want to leave you with, it’s that an incredible amount of effort, money, and expertise makes these establishments what they are. Guests never see the work happening behind the scenes, but we hope that during your next visit to a luxury hotel or restaurant, you’ll have a deeper appreciation for the unique logistics and challenges that create an atmosphere where you don’t need to worry about a thing.