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Hotel Restaurant Managers

History

Early hotels and motels offered simple meals to their guests, often prepared and served by the innkeeper or members of the family. As lodging became more sophisticated and offered more amenities to attract guests, portions of the hotel were designated as areas to serve food—the hotel restaurant was born. Some owners found themselves trying to manage more departments of the hotel than they were capable of, or in some cases, numerous lodging facilities. Owners then turned to trusted employees for managing specific areas of their hotel, one of which, oftentimes, was the hotel restaurant.

Ellsworth Statler, founder of the Statler Hotels, was a great supporter of the hotel restaurant. He set a standard of quality and service in lodging, and made his hotels available to Middle America. Statler’s hotels had clean, comfortable rooms with a private bath, telephone, and radio. Statler hotels also had restaurants with house recipes, linens, china, and silverware.

Restaurants were almost exclusively associated with hotels. It was common for the public, as well as hotel patrons, to enjoy a cocktail with dinner at the hotel restaurant or have a drink at the hotel bar. The 1920s and the start of Prohibition, however, brought the Volstead Act that outlawed the consumption of any alcohol in the United States. People then turned to speakeasies, facilities that illegally served alcohol. In time, speakeasies offered food to their customers. Prohibition thus helped drive a wedge between the hotel and the restaurant, two institutions that traditionally had coexisted for mutual profit.

Today, most hotels offer some type of food service. Many have room service available for hotel patrons, and restaurants, pubs, cocktail lounges, and cafeterias open to the public. The position of restaurant manager has proven essential for the successful operation of hotel food and beverage service.