Majority of people are now turning from traditional jobs to starting their own businesses with their main point of focus being the hospitality and tourism industry. In order to achieve success, people who are willing to operate businesses in the hospitality and tourism industry need to understand the challenges associated with operating such forms of business in their states, as well as how to overcome those challenges. For instance, it is important for individuals to understand the legal requirements for operating any business in the hospitality and tourism industry as well as how to attract customers prior to beginning such a business (Parsa, Gregory and Terry, 2011). This paper analyzes the challenges involved in managing a restaurant operation and the impact of computerization on lodging and food service operations in my state, Florida. It also analyzes the interdependence of lodging, food service, and meeting segments of the hospitality industry and gives recommendations for how the synergy among the three segments can be improved. The paper ends by highlighting the likely impacts that the introduction of gaming entertainment may have on the hospitality and tourism industry in Florida.
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Managing a restaurant operation in Florida is characterized by a number of challenges. The first challenge is related to health department regulation requirements that all businesses operating in the hospitality and tourism industry must meet. According to LexMundi (2012), every restaurant in the state of Florida must comply with all the health and safety regulations and laws. Restaurant operators in Florida believe that their operations are largely controlled by legislators who are not effectively conversant with what is happening in the hospitality and tourism industry. This explains why the legislators pass health and safety laws without considering the impacts that those laws would have on restaurant operators. Restaurant operators in Florida are advised that they need to remain informed of the current issues in the hospitality and tourism industry in order to avoid facing lawsuit due to violation of health and safety regulations. Additionally, the Florida Department of Community Health charges high licensing fees, such as liquor license and entertainment license, which many restaurant operators cannot meet (LexMundi, 2012).
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Another challenge involved in managing a restaurant operation in Florida concerns issues related to competition. Florida prides in its warm weather and attractive beaches which act as the major tourist attraction features. Both local and foreign tourists stream into Florida during warm seasons, which encourage local and foreign investors to start restaurant business. Restaurant businesses in Florida compete in terms of pricing, products, nature of services, value, quality of their services, and promotion. Some restaurants in Florida have gained popularity among customers and have enough resources to stand the force of competition. Many restaurants in Florida try to match the eating habits of customers which have changed in the recent past. Therefore, in order to effectively manage restaurant operations in Florida, business oriented individuals must be prepared to fight the stiff competition in the hospitality and tourism industry to avoid being pushed out of the market (Parsa, Gregory and Terry, 2011).
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Computerization has brought about significant impacts on food service and lodging operations in Florida in several areas such as accounting, reservation, recording sales transactions, and personnel management are concerned. As far as reservation is concerned, computerization has improved the manner in which clients book for space across restaurants in Florida. Initially, clients had to travel to the restaurants to make reservations over the counter. Since many restaurants in Florida have now implemented computerization, potential tourists find it very easy to make reservations at the comfort of their homes through online reservation systems. The websites of restaurants in Florida are linked to different banks which enable clients to make payments online (Koutroumanis, 2011).
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Accounting is another area of food service and lodging operations that has been impacted by computerization in Florida. Prior to the advent of computerization, restaurants used to make accounting entries manually in books, a practice that was time consuming and that led to recording of inaccurate financial information. Computerization has replaced manual accounting with automated accounting which has assisted restaurants in Florida maintain accurate and up-to-date financial records (Koutroumanis, 2011).
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Additionally, many restaurants in Florida have improved their personnel management systems with the help of computerization. These restaurants have implemented personnel management software which helps them in hiring, tracking attendance of employees, and checking workers’ benefits plan. Moreover, computerization has enhanced the manner in which restaurants in Florida record sales transactions of their products and services as well lodging operations. Traditionally, many restaurants in Florida used cash registers to record sales transactions. With computerization, these restaurants can now make automated sales transactions which help them to eliminate chances of product theft by employees (Koutroumanis, 2011).
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There is a great interdependence among the food service, lodging, and the meeting segments of the hospitality industry irrespective of the fact that they offer completely different services. The fact that the three segments are interdependent means that failure in any one of them will cause a direct impact on another. One important fact that restaurant operators must learn is that customers in the hospitality and tourism industry are interested in having fun which calls for more delightful foods from the restaurants than the one they have at home (Stewart et al., 2004). For example, a family might choose to travel far away from home for a period of one month during which they expect to eat good foods from the restaurants, hold meetings, and stay in lodging on a daily basis. In such a time, the restaurant management must ensure that they meet customers’ needs without fail.
This creates some form of interdependence among food service, lodging, and meeting segments of the hospitality industry (LexMundi, 2012). It is therefore clear that meeting places and lodging services depend on food services to attract guests to the restaurant. For instance, clients will be discouraged from holding a meeting in a restaurant that offers poor food services. Moreover, guests who are in need of lodging services for a prolonged period of time will be encouraged to do so in a restaurant that offers quality food services. Suppose a restaurant offers the three services differently, clients who are attending seminars in a facility that does not offer food and lodging services will be referred to separate places from where they can get the services they need (LexMundi, 2012).
There are two recommendations on how the synergy between the food service, lodging, and meeting segments of the hospitality industry can be improved. First, a restaurant should develop a close relationship among the three segments by making them available in one facility. Second, operations managers of the three segments should enter into an agreement so that they advertise the services offered by the other.
As earlier mentioned, the relationship between food service, lodging, and meeting segments of the hospitality industry can be improved by keeping their relationship close by making them available in one restaurant. For a strong relationship to exist among the three segments, management of each one of them must develop an interest in assisting the other. For instance, a restaurant that offers food service should try to offer lodging and meeting services too. In this manner, a restaurant will ensure that it meets all the needs of clients who will not have to move to other places seeking for similar services. Secondly, a combined advertising can help enhance the relationship between food service, lodging, and meeting segments of hospitality and tourism industry (Stewart et al., 2004).
There is a big difference between merger and joint advertising and one should not confuse between the two. Joint advertising only involves making operations of other segments known to customers while merger involves absorption of one business into the other. In this case, every segment will operate separately but all of them will do marketing jointly. When marketing operations of the three segments are combined, clients will be sure of getting all the services they need when they visit a restaurant. This is advantageous in the sense that, it will save clients the agony of having to make multiple reservations from different restaurants (Stewart et al., 2004).
The state of Florida legalizes gaming entertainment provided it has met all the registration requirements and has obtained approval from the relevant authorities. Since Florida is a state that is known for attracting huge numbers of tourists in the recent past, it acts as a very good place for gaming. In Florida, gaming has brought about significant improvements in the economy by creating employment opportunities for the locals and enabling them to purchase goods and services. According to Collins and Lapsley (2003) those who participate in gaming invest the money projects that help to boost the local economy.
As gaming continue to get established in Florida, it will result into tremendous economic growth which will positively impact other sectors in the hospitality and tourism industry such as lodging, food services, and meeting segments. For example, gaming in Florida will attract both gamers and spectators from different parts of the state. These people will spend their money in the restaurants buying food, and for booking lodgings and meeting places. This demonstrates that if the gaming segment in Florida is expanded, there would be increased business in other sectors of hospitality and tourism industry. For instance, a gamer from Virginia coming to play in Florida will need to meet his or her colleagues, eat, and sleep. In this manner, he will need the services from all the three segments of hospitality and tourism industry while in Florida. Consequently, it can be concluded that food service, lodging, and meeting segments of hospitality and tourism industry are interdependent and a decline in performance of one of them will have direct impact on others.
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