Management at Rossland’s new Josie Hotel recently ran a free hospitality training program at the Selkirk College campus in Trail, providing an opportunity for both experienced local hospitality workers and those just joining the industry.
The program was put on by DMC Hospitality, the president of which is Donald Haddad, food and beverage manager for the Josie. Haddad and Jessica Miles, the restaurant manager at the Josie, co-hosted the program.
Haddad explained that the original reason for putting the program on was to prepare a task force for the opening of the Josie, which was anticipated to take place in time for the 2018 Sport Chek National Tech Championships this past week.
“We were planning to be open for the championships and accommodate them and it was going to be busy, and then the season was going to end. So the timing of it was a little challenging for us to hire the necessary employees because then we probably would have had to lay off a few of them, if not most of them,” explained Haddad.
So the strategy was to hire a task force, which DMC Hospitality, a Vancouver-based company, was to provide.
“So I spoke to my business partner in Vancouver and she recommended I do some recruiting here. We thought of bringing some of our staff from Vancouver to the Kootenays as a task force, but then she also recommended we recruit from here and see what we get,” said Haddad.
The four-week program, which Haddad described as a crash course, covered service techniques, etiquette, workplace wellness and hospitality in society.
“Because customer service is not just in hotels or restaurants, it’s everywhere and it’s a social construct,” said Haddad. “So it’s important.”
Though Haddad said it’s now anticipated that the Josie will open sometime in the summer, he said that those who participated in the program are still candidates to be hired once the hotel is open.
“They’re ready and they’re excited, too,” said Haddad. “They’ve seen the property and I’m going to give them a tour once the property is done and if they’re interested in certain departments or roles then it will be made available.”
Haddad doesn’t yet know how many employees the Josie will need but estimates it could be up to 100, a large portion of whom will be needed for the restaurant.
“It’s a big restaurant. It’s going to be like 170 seats,” he said. “And it’s going to be a full-service restaurant that offers … breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
Haddad said a similar program may be run again to stimulate interest in working at the hotel and to get potential employees ready for hospitality.
The initial program was posted to Bhubble and other websites and Haddad said they also met with employment groups to spread the word.
Those who participated came from Rossland, Trail and Castlegar.