The hospitality industry is diverse, and different cultures and establishments may have unique traditions or practices that might seem strange or intriguing to outsiders. Here are a few examples:
- Tipping Customs:
- Tipping practices vary widely around the world. In some countries, tipping is expected and considered a standard part of service industry income, while in others, it may be less common or even considered rude.
- Tea Pouring in China and Japan:
- In traditional Chinese and Japanese tea ceremonies, there are specific rituals and etiquette around how tea is poured. This can include the number of times the tea is poured and the precise manner in which it is done.
- Shoe Removal:
- In some cultures, it is customary to remove one’s shoes before entering a home or certain types of establishments. This is common in many Asian countries and is seen as a sign of respect and cleanliness.
- Guest Seating in Russia:
- In Russia, there is a tradition of assigning guests specific seats at the dining table based on their age, social status, or relationship to the host. This is done to show respect and hierarchy.
- Wine Tasting Rituals:
- Wine tasting in certain settings can have elaborate rituals, including the examination of the wine’s color, swirling it in the glass, and specific ways of smelling and sipping. These practices can seem intricate to those unfamiliar with the art of wine tasting.
- Pouring Drinks in Korea:
- In Korean culture, when pouring drinks for someone older or of higher social status, it is common to use both hands to offer the drink as a sign of respect.
- Animal-Inspired Room Service:
- Some high-end hotels offer unique room services, such as delivering a goldfish to a guest’s room for companionship during their stay. It’s a quirky way to provide comfort and a conversation starter.
- Ice-Breaking Games in Restaurants:
- In some restaurants, especially in Japan, there are games or interactive elements designed to break the ice among customers. For example, customers may be asked to play a game to determine discounts on their meals.
These traditions or practices often have cultural, historical, or social significance, and while they might seem unusual to outsiders, they play an essential role in the local customs and norms of the respective regions.
Stephen is a hospitality professional from Johannesburg South Africa. His career started with THF hotels in the UK and subsequently with the Southern Sun Hotel group in Johannesburg. Stephen’s first steps into entrepreneurship was Hickmore Recruitment / CareerMap, a leading supplier of Senior and Exec recruitment services. Stephen was a founder of Pple Hospitality (formerly HSC) the largest Hospitality Industry full-service outsourced staffing company in South Africa. In March 2020 Stephen became a director and owner of the Swiss Hotel School South Africa, which is now his full time endeavour. Stephen writes for a number of publications on food and hospitality industry matters, trends and opinions.