An Inspector Calls
We had a brace of Hotel inspectors in to see us the other week. After all
these years we know many of them, but in this case neither of them had been
before. Inspectors generally come singly, book in advance, and do not declare
themselves until checkout in the morning. At this stage they will sit down with
whomsoever wants to discuss the visit, and go through their experience.
Some individuals in the industry seem to resent the inspecting bodies, but we
have found them to be helpful, informative, and extremely knowledgeable.
Anyone who visits several hundred establishments a year, and is trained in the
job normally has a lot to offer if you care to ask questions beyond the “how did
we do?” level. Many inspectors have been chefs, hoteliers or wine buffs.
There are of course times when we are challenged. One famous inspector (who
is now retired) produced a tiny piece of fluff at the debriefing and informed us
that he had found it behind a radiator. Our housekeeping is generally regarded as
excellent so I asked him how we had missed it and he had not. “With a torch, and
a very long stick” he replied. “Isn’t that a bit harsh?” I asked. His reply was fairly
succinct – “I’m an Inspector, therefore I inspect”. Fair enough we said, you won’t
ever find another one. “Good, then we are all happy”
On the other hand we generally have long conversations about the industry in
general - trends, what’s new and new establishments which are making a name
for themselves. We find this extremely valuable as these long chats (three hours
last time) help keep us abreast of what the best of the best are up to.
We have found that all inspectors are keen to see us succeed, and though are
quick to point out omissions in standards, are even keener to see improvements
and to offer suggestions to move our product uphill. It is doubtful if we would
have achieved much of what we have in the last 20 years without their help and
One senior inspector recently said, “I would like to bring my partner here to stay
sometime”. Surely the ultimate in accolades!