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Whether it’s a broken jar of tomato sauce or a jammed dishwasher, a hotel steward needs to respond immediately to address the issue. Stewards are important players and managers on the team running a hotel. They help keep the kitchen spotless and the cupboard stocked, working long hours to assure guests and co-workers’ needs are met.
As a hotel steward, you need to be in good physical condition to endure long hours racing around a hot and humid kitchen. You need to be organized to know when you’re running low on inventory and either order it or alert your supervisor of the shortage. Chefs, servers and managers depend on hotel stewards for a fully-stocked and clean kitchen and pantry. A good steward also inspects the workmanship and the work areas of his or her subordinates to assure cleanliness standards are met. If they are substandard, you need to pull the worker aside and explain how to do the job properly.
At Your Service
Hotel stewards are put to the test during hotel banquets and conferences, when they're responsible for ensuring silverware is polished; banquet rooms have the necessary equipment, tables and chairs; and that the room is well stocked with clean and abundant dishes, bowls and cups. You might also offer limited help to the wait staff by brewing coffee and preparing salt, pepper and sugar shakers. Your responsibilities also extend to food prepared for room service, helping to ensure that orders are filled quickly, properly and accurately. As you gain experience you can advance to different levels of stewardship and more responsibility.
From a utility steward you can advance to become an assistant steward, where you’ll schedule and monitor the work activities of the low-level stewards. In this role, you will be responsible for maintaining a safe workplace, like keeping a “wet floor” sign over a freshly-mopped area. You can rise further to become an executive or chief steward, a job carrying the responsibility of opening and closing the kitchen and pantry areas. In this role, you will also hire and terminate staff and conduct performance reviews.
Supervisors of food service workers don’t need much formal education. About half of front-line food service supervisors had a high school diploma or equivalent as of 2013, according to O*Net OnLine. Another 32 percent didn’t finish high school. The average wage in 2013 was $14.09 an hour. Some stewards are eligible to join hotel and restaurant labor unions, according to UnionFacts.com, though this might not be applicable as you move up the ladder to management. Stewards can seek certification through the International Food Service Executives Association. Certification makes you more attractive to employers and assures them you understand industry standards, such as how to use state-of-the-art kitchen equipment.
Rudy Miller has been writing professionally since 1996. Miller is a digital team leader for lehighvalleylive.com, a local news website and content provider to the Express-Times newspaper in Easton, Pa. Miller holds a Master of Arts in English from the University of Miami.