We’ve talked about front of house staff in the hospitality industry before. Now it’s time to dive into the back of house staff and positions in hotels. Back of house, or BOH, is the department of work going on behind the scenes to keep the hotel running smoothly.
Today we’ll be covering the back of house layout and needs of a hotel, the positions commonly available in the department, and hiring factors for BOH staff. Whether you’re searching for BOH hotel staff or employment, this blog post will guide you through everything you need to get started.
Back of House Areas
There are back of house areas spanning a hotel. To refresh and examine each BOH factor of work, we’ll walk through those general locations. They include:
- Dining areas
- Bars and clubs
- Recreational areas–from the pool to tennis courts to the sauna
- Rooms–including bathrooms and balconies
- Lounges and the lobby
A key difference between FOH and BOH in terms of locations is there are some BOH locations that don’t include any FOH work. Those BOH-only spots are:
- The laundry room
- The valet room
- Human resources
- Engineering and maintenance
- Housekeeping headquarters
- Security department
These spots are all vital to the functions of a hotel, but it would be rare for a guest to see them. All these spaces are part of the back of house department within the hotel structure.
Back of the House Department in a Hotel
The back of the house department in a hotel spans each area of the hotel, from the kitchen to the maintenance room. The department is vast, and while there is a hotel back of house director, there are smaller departments within BOH.
While guests won’t see the work of BOH departments as directly as FOH work, they’ll reap the benefits of a well-organized BOH. In setting up a BOH department, you should plan for the positions to hire for, and the traits to look for in candidates.
5 Back of the House Positions in a Hotel
Back of the house positions in a hotel crop up in each area of the hotel. Because of all the functions of making a hotel run smoothly, there are a lot of BOH positions. One way to figure out what positions you need to hire for is to plan your hotel process, then identify every area that will require background work.
To save you some time, we’ve gathered a list of five common BOH positions and areas of work. No matter the size of your hotel or the plan you have for operations, you’ll need some variation of these positions.
5. Office Staff
Office staff for BOH operations will cover everything from accounting staff who keep track of restaurant expenses, to overhead department managers who manage everyone from wait staff to room service workers. The office staff are typically away from the main working floor of the hotel, but they maintain a constant view of the work going on.
From the Sous chef to the head or executive chef to the pastry chef, there are a variety of chefs you’ll need to hire. The only job of the chef is to prepare meals and keep orders moving along for the rest of the hotel restaurant management plan. While the chefs will rarely be seen outside their work stations, you can’t run a hotel restaurant without them and their expertise with hotel food and beverage services.
3. Maintenance Staff
Maintenance staff will keep your hotel running, and step in to fix issues as they arise. There isn’t a role on this list that isn’t important, but without the right maintenance staff, a small problem could create big issues. From engineering to electrical to plumbing, you’ll need maintenance staff to care for every inch of the hotel.
2. Sanitation Workers
Sanitation workers in hotels mainly consist of room cleaning service workers, laundry attendants, dining room cleaners, and general cleaning maintenance workers. From cleaning supplies for the rooms to rubber floor mat cleaner supplies for the front lobby, your sanitation workers will work with every area of the hotel to keep it spotless and ready for guests.
1. BOH Manager
The BOH manager title may apply to several managers across multiple departments. There is often, however, one BOH manager who oversees the general BOH operations. This manager will be responsible for the delegation of tasks among the teams, and general upkeep of the BOH practices to keep everything running. They’ll work closely with other department leads, including the food and beverage director.
5 Back of House Staff Qualities
Your hotel back of house staff are responsible for the overall operational efficiency of the hotel on a daily basis. While many of the factors to seek in BOH staff will be similar to FOH, there are some unique qualities to seek out.
These five qualities aren’t exclusive to BOH work. They are, however, vital to BOH-specific work. When you’re seeking out BOH staff, incorporate questions about these qualities and skills into your interview process. If you’re looking for work, consider your experience in relation to these qualities.
5. Inventory management
Inventory management is a key skill for any BOH worker who deals with the process to take inventory. Employees who have done inventory–and worked with inventory turnover–in any industry will be able to adapt to hotel inventory practices. Learning how to do inventory in a hotel will take some specific training, but finding staff with experience will go a long way.
4. Vendor relations
Vendor relations skills will be useful for any BOH staff who work in areas of inventory intake. Keeping products coming in, from ingredients for the kitchen to cleaning supplies, is key to keeping your hotel functioning at peak efficiency. Staff who work well with vendors to make that process as easy as can be will be valuable members of the team.
Proactivity is a key quality for any position or department, but it is especially important for BOH workers. BOH work involves a lot of maintenance and planning ahead–including inventory forecasting. Staff who can be proactive in that work, to solve problems before they become problems, will keep the hotel running without hiccups.
Cleanliness is another trait that is important for any position. For a hotel business, cleanliness is an important factor in making guests feel comfortable. A lot of that comfort comes from the work of BOH staff. So much of the hotel cleaning work is done by BOH workers, so a general tendency towards cleanliness is a helpful hiring factor.
BOH work can take a lot of elbow grease, so resilience is one of the most important qualities to look for in BOH staff. Asking potential employees how they handle ongoing tasks, and listening for an answer of continual effort, will help you find resilient team members.
Frequently Asked Questions About Back of House
The frequently asked questions we discovered cover a range of information for hotel owners and managers, BOH workers, and general hospitality industry workers. The hotel BOH areas of work can seem mysterious. With our answers to these questions, you’ll gain even more understanding of the BOH world.
What are the Back Areas of a Hotel?
The back areas of a hotel cover areas where guests will be nearby, and areas that are purely for internal work. The back areas include:
- The kitchen
- The cleaning supply spaces
- Office areas
- Maintenance rooms
- Break rooms
- Storage rooms
Depending on the hotel, there may be even more back areas. Overall, any hotel can expect to need room for these basic spaces.
What Does a Back of House Member do?
A back of house member of hotel staff works to keep the hotel running smoothly behind the scenes. The specifics of this work will change depending on the department and the skills of that worker. The general gist, however, of keeping things running to help guests have a streamlined experience, remains the same.
Is FOH or BOH Better?
Neither FOH nor BOH is inherently better than the other. From the hotel's perspective, both departments are vital to the overall success of the hotel. From a worker’s perspective, the draw towards either department will depend on what that worker enjoys, and what their general skill set is.
Is Working Back of House Hard?
Working back of a house in a hotel isn’t necessarily hard, or harder than working in the front of house areas. Every job comes with its own needs, and not every moment will be a breeze. There can be a lot of pressure on back of house workers, as so much relies on their work to function smoothly. Overall, back of house isn’t hard as long as you’re focused and happy with your work.
Hotel Back of House: A Strong Backbone Makes the Hotel
A strong hotel back of house team is the perfect complement to a well-organized front of house team. Finding the right team members takes work, but the result of a well-managed hotel is worth the effort. Come on back to the BinWise blog to learn more about managing a hotel. Stop by our sister site, the BlueCart blog, for info on order management, the wholesale definition, and eCommerce.