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What Indeed Determines Service Level in an Economy.
By Mila Petruk ~ Exclusive Column on the Industry
Wednesday, 9th April 2014

Exclusive Feature: Traditionally hospitality industry has been setting standards and frameworks to the key players about service operations and we are used to instantly imagine how classic service looks when thinking about luxury, midscale and budget hotels and restaurants.

This imagination and stereotyping has led us to the thought that service is something, which is ‘required’ as a practice in all countries and places of the world, no matter how far they are in terms of their economic development.

Being in a hotel in Berlin, we would expect the same type of espresso as in Costa Rica, Zimbabwe, and China. Of course, we know about cultural features and social values that exist in every country, which are, in turn, transformed on the lifestyle including food, drinks, and hotel industry in general. But what we never think of is how these cultural peculiarities and lifestyle characteristics influence service standards themselves.

By now greeting guests with a smile has already become a rule in hospitality industry. But is it really a rule for some countries and cultures to smile to the guests? And who is the one to blame that so-called world hospitality standards are not fulfilled?

In a recent study made by our consultants, we found out that the sole factor that determines the service level in the economy (country, city, area or region) is the lifestyle habits of its local inhabitants.

Despite the fact that hotels most probably welcome other type of people (not locals), despite the fact that the world is getting globalized, and hospitality industry culturally crashes more and more borders, there still exists this unwanted surprise of ‘other culture’ which might become a milestone in understanding service level in a given situation.

The industry is dominated by consumers. Global consumers travel the world and usually stay in hotels already knowing that the service staff smiles to them. Then occasionally these global consumers find themselves in a place where no one is smiling.

And the only reason for that is that for local population there is no need for a smiling staff.

Other service level features include:

  • Taking reservations at restaurants;
  • Escorting guests to their tables;
  • Making preferences towards women, children, and elderly people;
  • Serving drinks;
  • Following dress code for hotels and some restaurants;
  • Menu presentation (both in the menu card and by the restaurant staff);
  • Subordination issues;
  • Technological development for comfort of the guest.
All the above-mentioned features that are a part of hospitality industry development nowadays have become critical factors for some cultures for the sole reason that some nations and peoples do not need or do not pay attention to these details. Or, on the contrary, they pay too much attention to these details.

In any case, service level significantly differs from one location to another. Target markets and local inhabitants of the area determine what the service in this place will look like in the future. Locals represent typical clients of the restaurants, and it is them for whom the whole marketing campaigns are created.

Therefore, in order to estimate the standard deviation from what the service level in the area should look like, one has to observe the local lifestyle and cultural features which may alter the angle of service in this particular case.

Mila Petruk, CEO & Founder at Milina Outsourcing
Mila Petruk is a hospitality consultant and a founder of Milina Outsourcing which provides project-based consulting and outsourcing services including mystery guest audit, temporary staffing and training support. Being a hospitality industry enthusiast, Mila has a global insight into the developing trends of hotel and restaurant business all over the world. Having graduated from University Centre Cesar Ritz (Switzerland) in 2007 with MBA in Hotel and Tourism Management, Mila has obtained a rich international hotel work experience in Europe and Asia. Contact Mila at or

Mila writes a regular column for

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