Luke Deese, group leader, goes over the challenge issue with members Anna Spelman, Bopharan Chum, Harriet Dwyer and Sokharun Sam, as Jesse Orndorff (tech trainer) observes. Photograph: Soma Norodom
Restaurants and cafés are opening up frequently in Phnom Penh, and with many venues for food connoisseurs to choose from, the food and beverage (F&B) industry still need improvements in “HQSCV”.
“HQSCV − hospitality, quality, service, cleanliness, and value − are the international standards for the F&B industry,” said Ahmad Anuar, former secretary-general of the Cambodia Restaurant Association and currently the international liaison officer for the Cambodia Chef Federation.
“There are approximately 15,000 employees in the F&B industry in Cambodia, and our challenges include not meeting international hospitality standards, high turnover rate and shortage of middle- and upper-management position candidates.”
I had the opportunity to listen to Anuar speak about the human resources challenge in the F&B industry at Business Connect, a networking event featuring guest speakers from a variety of industries in Cambodia.
He spoke about the challenges and also provided solutions to help minimise these issues.
The main challenge is not meeting the international standards in hygiene, sanitation and customer service. Anuar suggests the government or the private sector monitor and provide certification in these areas.
“F&B education in schools and seminars are needed in Cambodia, and especially in-house training”, said Anuar.
Another challenge is the high turnover rate of employees.
Keeping employees to stay for the long term is tough, as many leave and go work somewhere else for an extra $10 to $20 salary increase... “On a positive note, a new labour force is available all the time,” added Anuar.
“You have to invest in human resources. You can give them annual salary increases, incentives such as bonuses and benefits, but more importantly, building a career and providing growth and development for your employee is crucial.”
With 30 years of F&B experience in Malaysia, Anuar moved to Cambodia in 2007 and was hired as the general manager for CBM Corporation, one of the leading F&B companies in Cambodia, which owns T&C Coffee, BB World and Pizza World.
The third challenge in the F&B industry is finding qualified candidates to fill the middle- and upper-management positions. Recruiters have to search for qualified candidates in other countries and persuade them to come to work in Cambodia. Not only would the new hires have to conform to the Cambodian culture, but also have to understand the cultural working life of the people.
Anuar hopes to see schools in Singapore and Malaysia come to Cambodia and provide hospitality training in customer service.
This is something I think is important as well. Training in customer service should be continuous in the F&B industry worldwide, and especially in Cambodia.
But one thing is certain: an F&B enterprise should value their employees.
Aem Nyirady, managing director for S&A Enterprises, which owns Riverhouse Bistro, Lemongrass Restaurant, and Harem Shisha Lounge, recognises their employees with monthly and yearly Quality and Customer Service Award.
“The monthly and Employee of the Year Awards recognises our employees who have contributed significantly to the success of S&A Enterprises. Without good employees, we wouldn’t be here for over 12 years,” Nyirady said.
The Social Agenda with Soma Norodom
The views expressed above are solely the author’s and do not reflect any positions taken by The Phnom Penh Post.