HM chats with TFE Hotels’ Director of Operations Australia & New Zealand, Tish Nyar, to recount a classic story from his early days in hospitality.
What was your first job in the accommodation industry and how long were you in it?
I started out at the ‘Golden Arches’ (McDonalds) but quickly moved on to hotels and hotel school after finishing high school. My first hotel job was at the Regent Sydney – now the Four Seasons – back in 1991. I was a Banquet Waiter, but also took on shifts wherever I could – from the Staff Cafeteria through to a Runner at Cables Restaurant. I was there for about eight months before moving on.
It’s funny, I still run into several team members from back then in the industry – including one that’s now a close friend and who has worked with me for a number of years across two large operations.
Can you tell us a funny, embarrassing or memorable story involving you from the early part of your career?
The Regent had quite a decent sized ballroom. I was put on a shift to set the ballroom for a breakfast one day, with a small crew fairly early on in my time there. I was tasked with laying the cutlery settings for 600 people. As it turns out, not everyone is left handed like me, and I had inadvertently set the whole ballroom back to front. Needless to say, with the way things were back then, I had to clock off and reset the ballroom on my own time. What can I say, it was a long day.
What’s the best piece of advice you can give to young people assessing whether hospitality or tourism is right for them as a profession?
Work in each and every department you can – from Housekeeping to Maintenance to the Executive Office and take on any opportunity to attend meetings or be on projects teams. We are in an interactive dynamic industry and nothing will accelerate your capabilities and understanding of our industry quite like exposure to all facets of the business. Further to that, being able to talk to teams with sympathy and genuine empathy through experience will help you in connecting coaching and motivating teams on the front line every day.