A dash of army discipline, in the cup of leisure
Since childhood, Jitesh K Patta cherished the thought of a career in the Army. But on his father’s insistence, he decided to join the hospitality industry. He has never looked back since then. Syed Amir Ali Hashmi reports. Quirky facts | Pluses & Minuses | Skills requiredUpdated: Jun 27, 2012 12:32 IST
Since childhood, Jitesh K Patta cherished the thought of a career in the Army. But on his father’s insistence, he decided to join the hospitality industry. He has never looked back since then.
“I appeared for the NDA as well as the CDSE exams. But fate had other plans for me,” he says. An Army background helped — the love for discipline, the effort put in to finish the task at hand, not to mention the drive to be the first to take an initiative — worked wonders for him.
After completing his PG Diploma from the Institute of Hotel Management, Pusa, he went on to do his MBA in Finance from Amity Business School. From then on, there was no looking back.
His first job was as a management trainee with Surya Crowne Plaza, Delhi, in 1997 where he was promoted as a Room Service Manager. It was there that his dream to open a discotheque came true. This led to the opening of a coffee shop and a Churchill Club.
According to Patta, his best achievement on the job was to streamline room service operations. “There were too many complaints regarding room service. So, we decided to conduct a Time and Motion survey, where we assigned a particular time taken to deliver the order from the kitchen to the room. In case there were late deliveries, we decided to waive the amount,” says Patta.
After working three years at the Surya Crowne Plaza he joined Clark Chiraz, Agra, as Assistant F&B Manager. “My biggest achievement there was handling around 50,000 people during the Yani show.
Also, we organised a banquet for 800 people for the Young President Organisation. This involved a cent per cent sit down at Taj Khema near Taj Mahal,” he says.
In 2002, he moved to The Ummed Group in Jodhpur as General Manager. It is the organised format of the industry that draws him to it. “Here you have designated people for every assignment. A hotel has several sub-sectors — legal, media, engineering etc. — and the work has to be done in a very professional manner,” says Patta.
Perhaps the biggest challenge for him was when he was working in Goa as the General Manager at the Royal Goan Beach Club. “The hotel had 100 per cent occupancy and the staff went on strike. That was the most difficult period. I had to call on every head of department and ask them to carry out tasks otherwise performed by the room service staff. I too did the same job. This went on for six days after which the staff had to call off the strike,” he adds.
Apart from managing the hotel, he also lays stress on social responsibility. “Wherever I worked, I always laid emphasis on employee social responsibility. We have organised eye and blood camps to show that every person has a responsibility towards the society,” says Patta.
Now as a Vice President (Operations) he is involved in the overall running of the hotel. However, he rues the fact that he gets very less time for socialising and personal life. “The only downside of my job is that I hardly get time to meet my family. The positive side is that I get to meet several peope from different backgrounds and even grow as a person,” he says. For all those aspiring professionals, he says that one needs to have the knack to strike a rapport with guests.