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Hospitality – Experiences and Innovation

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Although becoming a hotelier was an impromptu decision for me, I can’t see myself doing anything else! My career has enabled me to travel all over India and the world, allowing me to gain first-hand knowledge from some of the top hoteliers in the industry.

The hospitality industry naturally engenders a multi-cultural environment. Working in a hotel does not mean that internationalism within the establishment stops at the clients, as the people behind the reception, in the kitchen and at the offices come from all corners of the world, and bring with them their own language, varying cultural backgrounds and ideas on how to efficiently work within the industry.

During my internship I worked with people from different cultural backgrounds and all these people taught me how to maximize my working capabilities based on their own personal experience, from their own place of origin. This not only enriched my practical skills but my knowledge of other parts of our country and the world. Working with such diversity all around me resulted in great development of my communication skills and, ultimately, the feeling of being a part of one big team.

The hospitality industry allowed me to develop professionally and as a person. Not only did I master the professional skills I had learnt during my education, but with time and commitment I learnt others, as I was put to the test with exposure to a vast variety of colleagues, clients and situations. From organisational skills, communication and working in a team, to more technical competencies such as serving, revenue management, accounting and facilities management; I learnt it all.

One of the most important factors in hospitality, literally, is taking care of people. My experience taught me that it takes empathy and commitment to put another person’s needs and desires ahead of your own – while keeping a smile on your face. Customers want an experience, irrespective of their reasons to stay in a hotel, and just as people differ greatly, so does the care and commitment each hotelier exhibits to the clients’ needs. I always enjoyed stepping out of the box to ensure that the needs of my customers were met.

I love hospitality simply because it’s fun and enjoyable. All the dynamics, all the shifting with different responsibilities and the feeling I got when I started in training and ended up in management positions is more than satisfactory. For me personally, the fact that I got the opportunity to meet and socialize with people representing a wide range of nationalities is the career highlight of my profession. The hotel industry is a pretty interesting and pleasant domain to get involved in. As with any other job, it has its ups and downs, and that’s the great part of it: there is always a place for innovation and there will always be innovators like myself.

One such innovation I am proud to be a part of is EazyDiner. I have been a part of the hospitality industry since 1997 and have been with EazyDiner, as Co-founder and Chief Innovation Officer, creating India’s leading restaurant reservation app since 2014. EazyDiner is one of the success stories in the new wave of digital start-ups in the Food and Beverage industry.

Being a major foodie with a strong desire to change the way India dines, I have maintained the role of Chief Innovations Officer, with primary focus on app development, creating crazy deals and initiating and executing new ideas with customers always in mind. As one of the Co-founders, I have been involved in the establishment of the initial platform of the company and in executing the core values and goals. From sales to team building (which incorporated recruitment and training), I have actively contributed to the growth of EazyDiner. I have been involved in and strategizing for and execution of customer building, from zero to almost 6.5 million. I was also deputed to Dubai in 2016 for the launch of EazyDiner from the foundation level, resulting in a success story for the company.

My Advice to the Younger Generation

  • If you are at a complete loss when it comes to career choice, talk to people who know you. Family, friends, tutors, and so on can often give illuminating feedback.
  • Turn to someone you admire. Everyone has a role model in their lives, someone who could be the most inspirational person for you. Often, you want to follow in the footsteps of your role model and it is motivating and inspiring to be like them.
  • Don’t base your career choice on job titles. Roles change over time, and you may well have the chance to develop yours. For this reason, focus on finding companies where you feel you would develop professionally, rather than being led solely by job title.
  • Follow your heart and avoid the traps of employment and accidental career paths. Many people spend years in education, only to stumble into the first job offered to them, and 20 years later they find themselves in a career they hate.  Make the right choices at the start of your career to ensure that you have the freedom and flexibility to evolve as you move through life.
  • Seek career advice as you prepare to join the workforce and pay attention to tips from advisors, as they are the counsellors who have your best interests at heart. Always remember, you are the future.

My Advice to Professionals

Once you have embarked on your career pathway, time gets away at lightning speed. My advice would be to regularly spend time really thinking about your career. Professional development is vital for growth, both career-wise and personally. Do a career mapping by giving yourself a career objective and/or pathway. Have a concrete time frame of where you want to be in certain period of time – with defined goals such as seeing yourself getting promoted or even owning your own business one day. These motivational thoughts keep you excited as well as grounded.

A hotelier and restauranteur with more than two decades of experience in the F&B and Hospitality industries, Sachin Pabreja is Co-founder of EazyDiner, India’s only instant table reservation platform. An alumnus of Cornell University, he is passionate about changing the landscape of the Indian F&B industry. Prior to EazyDiner, Sachin worked at The Imperial, Grand Hyatt as well as Claridges Hotel in New Delhi and remains focussed and committed to creating innovative and exceptional products in the F&B and Hospitality industries.

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