Regional Boost For Hospitality Sector

MTMcDonalds already has plans underway to step up hiring and open new restaurants in time for the Sochi Olympics.

The hotels, restaurant and catering sector is  one of the most active in the recruitment market. The expansion of hotel networks across the country as well as forthcoming international sports events are providing a further boost.

The Sochi Olympics and the FIFA World Cup are prompting the construction of regional hotel chains and restaurants, and raising hopes of a boost to employment in the hospitality and catering sectors.

Top managers are in demand but there is also a shortage of staff performing key functions, from chefs and waiters, to reception staff and reservation managers.

Horeca is still one of the fastest-growing markets, both in the big cities and regions, said Irina Kurganova, business development director of ManpowerGroup Russia & CIS.

"According to our statistics, demand for personnel in Horeca increased by 25 percent in August 2013 within the month. That's the most significant figures on the market. We connect this phenomenon with introduction of federal programs for regional development that have attracted investment and business," Kurganova said.

Salaries are competitive but just as important, jobs in the industry offer a flexible schedule, ideal for students, for example, who need to fit work around their studies.

Waiters' salaries in the regions are pretty consistently in the range 15,000 to 17,000 rubles and higher in Moscow, from 20,000 to 25,000 rubles. Managers receive on average from 60,000 to 150,000 rubles depending on the region. The managers of chain restaurants earn 200,000 to 300,000 rubles, according to ManpowerGroup.

Many international companies regard the Russian market as promising, says Elena Tubashova, head of retail and hospitality at Ancor. Despite the fact that many international players are already present, such as Marriott, Rezidor, Accor, Hilton and Starwood among others, brands continue to build their networks.

The market for top managers is stable, said Tubashova. People making a career within a brand-name company tend to be more loyal, while companies often fill jobs by internal promotions. There is a greater problem filling line roles, such as waiter, concierge or guest relation specialists, aggravated by low wages relative to the market.

Brand recognition and prestige still counts for something, says Tubashova, going some way to motivate staff despite even where wage levels are challenging.

"The first main step for new staff, and the basic training in the company's standards, is the induction training. It is mandatory for all new employees in the hospitality industry before proceeding with their primary duties. It allows you to learn the history of the company in general; its mission and goals, as well as to learn about the elements of corporate culture and its standards of service. Further on, depending on the position, the employee may be trained in house, or, if we talk about managers, may be sent for a short-term internship with another hotel of the same network."

McDonald's is among the companies that is gearing up to hire extra staff, as one of the 15 contracted caterers to the 2014 Sochi Olympics. It will build three temporary outlets at the Olympic site, along with three extra permanent restaurants in the area, chief executive of McDonald's Russia, Khamzat Khasbulatov told a press conference in Moscow in May. Over 350 people will staff the restaurants on the Olympic sites, to provide round-the-clock service. Other Russian companies whose staff have experience catering to Olympic games include Yuzhnoye More+, Germes-Tur, Andre, Fusion Management, and Dellos Catering.

Despite the promise of sport and event-related business, the present economic background remains challenging for hotels. Jones Lang LaSalle's hotels expert David Jenkins reports that Moscow hotels remain strong, despite a poor first quarter and a dip over the year.

The Moscow branded hotel market is set to grow 40 percent over the next three years but the regions face a risk of overbuilding.  "There is limited interest to buy hotels in other cities though local developers remain active across the country. There is a danger that the World Cup 2018 will stimulate an over-supply of hotel construction and investors need to be wary of what happens in the market in those cities the day after the World Cup has blown its final whistle," said David Jenkins, Head of Jones Lang LaSalle' Hotels & Hospitality Group, Russia & CIS.

According to STR Global, which tracks hotel construction plans, Russia is one of five countries with a rise of more than 5 percent in the hotel development pipeline. Including those projects in final planning and construction stages, Russia is looking at almost 23 percent growth, with more than 21,000 rooms, compared with 8 percent for London, or another 41,000 rooms.

Moscow's restaurant scene continues to evolve, with famed restaurateur Arkady Novikov managing two openings at different ends of the spectrum, on the same day of September: partnering with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts to open a new shop near Gum Shopping Arcade and launching a flagship restaurant at the Ritz Carlton hotel.

Personal Qualities Are As Important As Paper Qualifications

Francois Cantin,
Chef of the Hilton Moscow Leningradskaya Hotel

"We work with the branches of many hospitality colleges who send us students of every grade on a regular basis. We give them experience and practice of cooking and kitchen operation. Hopefully we will offer a job to the most talented and dedicated students. As for the current employees, most of them gain maturity and experience via scholarships and through years of experience in Moscow hotels and restaurants.

We then train our staff regularly based on our concepts, organization and current trends. The brand also provides lots of courses to complete the knowledge of our employees in order to respond to our guests' demands. I personally advise anyone in this trade to work abroad for international brands or high-standard establishments in order to gain extra experience, and to learn a different culinary culture and tradition. Our profession requires lots of experience and it is necessary to be open to food culture, as each guest has his own views on his diet which we must adapt to."

Laurent Driole,
F&B Director of Swissôtel Krasnye Holmy

"What is important is behavior, smiling and a positive attitude. I'd rather recruit someone who demonstrates nice behavior with a concrete willingness to please our guests than someone with a very nice resume and a great professional education but without any emotion in his behavior."

Andrei Shmakov,
Executive Chef of the Hotel Metropol, Moscow

"Our training team provides courses for the food and beverage team to add to their pre employment training. Training is very important to us."