2015 - 08 August


Workforce Spotlight

START Class Prepares Students for Careers in Durham, North Carolina’s New Hotels

START Class Prepares Students for Careers in Durham, North Carolina's New Hotels Durham Technical Community College in Durham, North Carolina is using AHLEI's Skills, Tasks, and Results Training (START) curriculum to prepare students for jobs in their growing local hospitality market. The START: Careers in Hotel and Lodging program began as a pilot program in January 2015 with 10 students. Students were able to earn the START certificate and also an additional AHLEI certification for Front Desk Representative, Guestroom Attendant, Restaurant Server, or Maintenance Employee. They could also earn the RASP (Responsible Alcohol Seller's Program), ServSafe for Managers, ServSafe Alcohol, and the National Career Readiness Certification. It was possible for students to graduate from the program with up to six industry certifications. 

According to Jacequeline I. Mitchell, program director, Certification and Career Training Corporate and Continuing Education Division, students from the inaugural START class graduated May 21 with 80 percent of the students acquiring new jobs in the industry or being promoted at their place of business due to receiving their certifications.

Students in the class participated in a 25-hour externship within the industry and also got hands-on learning through a two-day simulation lab where students are able to demonstrate learned skills before their externship. This photo gallery showcases highlights of the pilot group, including their hotel simulation experience.

The START: Careers in Hotel and Lodging is a 250-hour program lasting around 4.5 months.  Along with the AHLEI START curriculum and the certifications mentioned earlier, the class participates in site visits with area hotels and restaurants and has guest speakers come and share their expertise with the students. The students participate in mock interviews in which the interviewing panel consists of human resources directors from the industry. They also participate in community learning projects. Based on feedback from both the industry and students, the externship has been increased from 25 to 40 hours.

"This area in North Carolina is booming as far as new hotels opening," said Mitchell. "Durham has opened five new hotels, with another three or four opening by the end of this year.  Based on the feedback and evaluations of the program from our students, this program fits their needs and expectations of what is expected from them in careers in hospitality."

When the fall semester starts later in August, there will be 15-20 students, many of whom are receiving scholarship funding, thanks to two workforce development grants awarded to the college.  

"This opportunity will greatly enhance the START program by providing pathways from this continuing education program into an AA degree in business and eventually into a hospitality management program at a four-year university," Mitchell explained. "Our program is open to all students who are interested in pursuing a career in hospitality. And with these grants, we are able to open up the program to more students." 

Academic Spotlight

CHART Scholarship Recipient Creates a Recipe for His Life

CHART Scholarship Recipient Creates a Recipe for His Life Josiah Sanders, a graduate of CBI Tech High School at Rockland BOCES in West Nyack, New York, is the recipient of a $2500 scholarship awarded by the Council of Hotel and Restaurant Trainers  (CHART) and the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation .  The scholarship was presented by American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute  senior vice president of sales Brenda Moons, during the CHART summer conference in New Orleans, Louisiana.  

In his scholarship application, Sanders identified himself as a special needs student who is determined to "create a masterpiece despite the challenges of a learning disability." Noting that there was "no pre-planned recipe card" with the instructions for his particular situation, he set out "to create what would become Chef JoJo's Journey Recipe."  That recipe has included culinary arts classes and AHLEI's Skills, Tasks, and Results Training  (START) curriculum at Rockland BOCES, participation in Skills USA as president of the Culinary Arts Club, employment as a cook at Annie's Dream Cuisine, and volunteering at the Mount Vernon City School District and at his church.  He will begin his college education at Johnson & Wales University in Providence, Rhode Island this fall.  

Sanders outlined ambitious goals for his life, describing "a dessert buffet as the fulfillment of my ultimate dreams becomes a reality." Those dreams include owning a restaurant called "Kings and Queens," that would hire staff with disabilities to operate and potentially manage the establishment, and starting "Life in the Kitchen," an education center to train students with special needs in the culinary arts.  Finally, "believing that students with learning disabilities have the appetite and ambition to change the world," he envisions himself returning to secondary education at a place like Rockland BOCES to teach culinary arts to students like him.  

"They would see firsthand that there is hope for students who just don't learn through the traditional manner schools teach," he wrote.  "All students should be educated equally and inspired to chart their specific journey, enhancing essences of who they were created to be along the way."

International Spotlight

AMFORHT Conference Explores Innovation and Reputation in Tourism Education

AMFORHT The World Association for Hospitality and Tourism Education and Training ( AMFORHT ) will hold its 19 th International Forum October 8-10 in Palma de Mallorca, Spain.  The forum is hosted by ANESTUR and the Escuela Universitaria de Turismo Felipe Moreno and will bring together representatives from international hotel schools and universities, hospitality and tourism professionals, and international experts.  AHLEI will be represented by Ed Kastli, vice president, international sales.


During the forum, attendees will have opportunities to network, create new projects and listen to top representatives of the tourist industry discuss cutting-edge issues in innovation and reputation in tourism.   Complete information, including details on a 25% early-bird registration discount, are available on the conference website .

New Products and Services

AHLEI Adds Kitchen Cook Training and Certification to START Program

Kitchen Cook - med The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) has added training and certification for Kitchen Cook to its START and quickSTART for Individual Positions, which provides flexible training and certification modules in multiple formats to meet the needs of schools, workforce agencies, and properties.  

START for Individual Positions and quickSTART for Individual Positions provide resources for training new or prospective employees in general hospitality knowledge, soft skills, and position-specific knowledge, combined with the opportunity to earn professional certification. In addition to the forthcoming Kitchen Cook module, training and certification is available for the following positions: front desk representative, guestroom attendant, restaurant server, and maintenance employee.  

Position-specific knowledge for Kitchen Cook includes safety guidelines; sanitation rules; culinary terms; standard recipe development; plate presentation; and how to handle special requests, substitutions, and complaints from guests.

AHLEI’s New 3-D Virtual Hotel Simulation Puts Learners in General Manager’s Shoes

Slate Hotel Medium The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) offers a new experience for learners with the SLATE Hotel , an interactive, 3-D, high-fidelity virtual environment that takes players through the many responsibilities of a hotel general manager.  

With SLATE (Strategic Learning and Training Experience), learners navigate the game from the point of view of the general manager, interacting with staff and guests and making strategic decisions in the areas of front office operations, sales and marketing, food and beverage, accounting, human resources, and risk management. During the game, players earn badges for completing levels that include the lobby audit, hallway audit, and guestroom audit to achieve the level of hotel expert. Arrows and pop-up boxes guide players to areas that require interaction.  

Players can also track their progress by monitoring guest satisfaction and safety scores in real time, as well as reading social media comments about the property.  

"AHLEI is committed to being on the forefront of industry trends and advancing technological innovation in education and training materials for hospitality students and professionals," said Scott Chapman, AHLEI's vice president, training and development. "Using a 3-D virtual simulation approach to presenting content will take the learning experience to the next level-learners will be able to engage with the content in new and exciting ways."  

Because of a generous grant from the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AH&LEF), AHLEI is able to offer complimentary access to the first two levels of the SLATE Hotel simulation, as well as discounted pricing for the complete, eight-level program. To access the program, visit www.ahlei.org/slatehotel .

AHLEI Offers New Editions of Accounting and F&B Textbooks

New Textbooks Med The American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AHLEI) has published the fourth edition of Hospitality Industry Financial Accounting by Raymond S. Schmidgall, Ph.D., CPA, and James W. Damitio, Ph.D., CMA. This textbook presents basic financial accounting concepts and shows readers how they apply to the hospitality industry. Readers will learn about: the responsibilities of a hospitality property's accounting department, advantages and drawbacks of various types of income statements, and the role of inventory in calculating profit.  

The book has been revised throughout to reflect changes to accounting standards presented in the 11 th revised edition of the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry . Other new information includes discussion of the revenue recognition principle, explanation of the concept of the LIFO reserve as it pertains to inventory valuation, discussion of the growing popularity of the limited liability corporation (LLC), and revisions to reflect the most recent IRS guidelines.  

Also new for fall is the sixth edition of Management of Food and Beverage Operations by Jack D. Ninemeier, Ph.D., CHA, CFBE, CHE. This textbook addresses successful management and operational tactics used in food and beverage operations, how food service operations improve quality standards while reducing expenses, and explores ways in which technology can be used to give guests greater value for their dining dollars and improve efficiency.  

This edition includes information on LEED certification, updates about the EPA Energy Star program and technology in foodservice equipment, a new Nutrition and Dining Out section, how social media is used in personal selling and advertising, a discussion of organizational culture and core values, and a new section on account settlement and the use of technology for guest ordering.  The "Menu" chapter incorporates the concepts of "grab-n-go," room service, and the farm-to-fork movement, as well as an updated section on evaluating menus.   

Educators at hospitality management programs in the United States are once again able to order these and all of AHLEI's textbooks directly from AHLEI, as the organization discontinued its distribution agreement with Pearson Higher Education, effective July 1, 2015. U.S. academic customers can place orders and request desk copies by contacting academics@ahla.com or by calling 1.800.344.4381 or +1.517.372.8800.

Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry

Implementation of the11th Revised Edition of the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry

  Miller and Mandelbaum Medium The 11 th revised edition of the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry ( USALI) was published in the spring of 2014, with an implementation date of January 1, 2015. The responsibility for revising the USALI lies with the Financial Management Committee (FMC) of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA).  

Throughout the implementation process, the FMC has received several questions from the worldwide lodging industry.  To answer these questions, the FMC has created a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document on the USALI resource portal page of the AH&LA Education Institute's (AHLEI) website ( www.ahlei.org/usali ).  

In an effort to assist hotel owners and operators with their implementation, the FMC is presenting a series of monthly articles that address some of the most frequently asked questions.  Some of the topics to be discussed include gross versus net revenue reporting, service charges, the change from cover to customer counts, mixed-ownership facilities, and operating metrics.  

For this month we discuss the increased reporting standards for Labor Costs and Related Expenses.  The article was prepared by FMC committee members Ralph Miller and Robert Mandelbaum.  

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By: Ralph Miller and Robert Mandelbaum   

Labor and related costs are the largest single expense items for hotel operations.  The combined salaries, wages and benefits paid to employees averages close to 50 percent of total operating expenses.  Further, the personal level of service offered by employees is an integral component of the hotel product and guest experience.  Accordingly, hotel management spends a significant amount of time controlling labor costs, managing employee productivity, and training personnel.  

To assist operators with their analysis, and provide more transparency for owners, the 11 th Revised Edition of the USALI requires a significantly greater level of detailed reporting of salaries, wages, and payroll-related expenses.  The following table presents the new Labor Costs and Related Expenses categories to be presented within the rooms department.  Each operated and undistributed department has similar reporting requirements.

Rooms Department Labor Costs and Related Expenses

  Graph USALI  

In the following paragraphs we describe the additional reporting requirements, and the factors driving the new standards. 

  • New Terminology:   In the 11 th Revised Edition the phrase "labor costs" has replaced "payroll costs".  The use of contracted, leased and outsourced labor is growing within the lodging industry, especially in the personnel categories of room attendants, conference/banquet service staff, and spa technicians.  The transition from payroll costs to labor costs recognizes the importance of including the costs related to contracting / outsourcing, along with direct payroll costs, in presenting the total departmental costs associated with service delivery.
  •   Increased Disclosure:   The 11 th Revised Edition requires that the aggregated salaries of management and non-management personnel be presented within each department.  In general, management salaries tend to be more fixed in nature, while non-management wages will vary with business volume.  By having a greater understanding of the fixed and variable components, owners and operators gain more insights into the historical and potential future movements of salaries and wages.  The data should be presented at an aggregated level that does not disclose any individual person's salary or wage.
  • Service Charge Distribution:   The 11 th Revised Edition provides enhanced guidance on handling service charges for both the revenue recognition and expense classification.  On the revenue side, service charges are classified as Other Revenue in each of the operated departments.  Applying the matching principle, service charge distributions are included as a separate classification of Labor Costs in each of the operated and undistributed departments.  In the 10 th Revised Edition, service charge distribution was included in Payroll Related Expenses as part of Supplemental Pay. 

In many jurisdictions service charge distributions have historically been considered the equivalent of a payroll subsidy (there are many minimum wage differentials based on whether a position is considered to be a gratuity vs. non-gratuity position).  The 11 th Revised Edition classification of service charge distribution as a separate classification of Labor costs effectively includes the cost subsidy, and provides more meaningful comparisons against published industry average operating cost and benchmarking information. 

  • Bonuses and Incentives:   Bonuses and incentives are a separate classification of departmental labor costs and include contractual and discretionary incentive and other types of performance pay.  The 11 th Revised Edition combines all bonuses and incentives into a single classification, to provide increased transparency.  In the 10 th Revised Edition, bonuses and incentives were segregated based on whether they were contractual (Bonuses and Incentives) or discretionary (Supplemental Pay). 
  • Global Terminology:   In previous editions of the USALI, payroll taxes focused solely on US centric language and references such as FICA (Federal Retirement and Medicare, FUTA and SUTA (Federal and State Unemployment Taxes, and SDI (State Disability Insurance).  Recognizing the global application of the USALI, the 11th Revised Edition identifies examples of common programs in the U.S., the Commonwealth, and other countries.  Examples of these programs can be found in Schedule 14. 
  • Labor Cost Metrics:   Recognizing the growing use and importance of statistical analysis within the lodging industry, the 11 th Revised Edition provides an expanded chapter for Financial Ratios and Operating Metrics chapter. 

Within the Labor Costs Metrics section the USALI presents an optional Consolidated Payroll Cost Statics table that summarizes significant labor cost information for each operated and undistributed department.  For each department, the data is presented using the most appropriate metric (i.e. per customer, per available room, per occupied room).  In addition, the Labor Costs Metrics section provides nine formulas for the key metrics that can be used to gain a better understanding of a hotel's largest expense. 

The enhanced Labor Costs and Related Expenses reporting standards within the 11 th Revised Edition of the USALI provide operators with better operating intelligence and more equitable metrics for benchmarking.  Further, owners are provided with greater transparency to a hotel's largest expense. 

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Ralph R. Miller CPA, CA, CBV, CHA, CHAE is President/Owner of Inntegrated Hospitality Management Ltd.  Ralph serves on the AH&LA Financial Management Committee, and is one of the authors of the 11 th Revised Edition of the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry.  Ralph is a former Global President of the Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals.  

Robert Mandelbaum is the Director of Research Information Services for PKF Hospitality Research, a CBRE Company.  Robert serves on the AH&LA Financial Management Committee, and is one of the authors of the 10 th and 11 th Revised Editions of the Uniform System of Accounts for the Lodging Industry.  

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To purchase a copy of the 11 th edition of the USALI, and access the nearly 100 questions and answers on the FAQ, or submit your own question for the FMC, please visit www.ahlei.org/usali .