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Exclusive Interview | Jaikant Shroff | GM Vivanta By Taj Hyderabad & President of Hotels and Restaurant Association of Telengana and Andhra Pradesh

Jaikant Shroff

General Manager

Vivanta by Taj – Begumpet


President of Hotels and Restaurant Association of Telengana and Andhra Pradesh

Editor: Tell us about your journey. How did it all start?
I have been with the Taj Group ever since I passed out of the Kolkata Catering College in 1989. I have worked at Taj Palace, New Delhi; Taj Bengal, Kolkata; the legendary Taj Lake Palace,
Udaipur; Taj Coromandel, Chennai; Taj Banjara, Hyderabad;
and now Vivanta by Taj, Begumpet, Hyderabad. I was with the food and beverage department before I became general manager at Taj Banjara in 2007.

Editor: What do you think it takes to succeed in this industry?
For me, Attitude is king. The keys to success, apart from an eye for detail, are hard work and sincerity.

Editor: What are the attributes you look for while selecting or hiring?
In the short interview time that we have with a candidate, a positive attitude and a desire to learn, apart from humble demeanour, are what we look for. To try and get the right fit, a person goes through a rigorous selection process that ends with me.

Editor: What according to you can trainees do while they are training at hotels to make it a win-win for them & the hotel/unit?All trainees apart from working hard in a very disciplined fashion should try and gather as many details as possible on product and processes so that they go back as a much better informed and technically sound professional. During the training the trainees should also decide that which stream interests them the most so that they can make the right career choice. However let me add that training period is a tough grind and the harder you go in the grind the better you will be.

Editor: Tell us a little about your average dayI write a time log on all my working days to judge my productivity for the day at the end of the day . I try to do 9 hours pure work every working day and if for some reason I can’t do it , I carry forward the hours that I need to catch up in future .
A normal day begins with a cup of bed tea, prepared by my father at around 5:30 in the morning, post which I go to gym and join work at around 8:45 AM. After taking a round of lobby , we have a morning meeting where we delve on important issues of yesterday and the day. Post which I spend half an hour in the lobby , then go to my office and attend to papers and mails . This is followed by lunch, accommodation meet at 1630 hrs, a lobby round of banquet functions, all restaurants and some back areas. In the evening I spend an hour in the lobby again and generally sign off by 10:00 pm unless there is something important which I can’t leave.
In the day generally I catch up with at least 5 old follow ups or undertake some work outside my routine purview. I am also the President of Hotels and restaurant association of Telengana and Andhra Pradesh and a committee member of SKAL, I generally devote some time to that cause also during the day.

Editor: How do keep abreast of all that is happening in hospitality?I am an avid reader, I generally go through the various hotel magazines like Hotel, Hotelier and see channels like TLC, surf the sites of hotel greats, read articles circulated by IHM Aurangabad and by our corporate cell to keep me updated.
If we come across some good ideas, concepts then we test run them at our hotel and post which we share with all in our organization, we have from Vivanta by Taj, Begumpet–Hyderabad championed many such things like the morning meeting attended by No2s of the departments. Personal plant concept for the long staying guests so and so forth.

Editor: Two reasons why this industry is awesome!First of all it is a very non discriminatory industry, which means if you are good your background or lack of it can’t stop you from reaching anywhere you want.
Second I think you are privy to a very good life sometimes albeit from the sidelines.

Editor: Two things you would like to change about the industry.Our industry should be more independent, right now there are too many laws, taxes, permissions which we need to take care to run the place.
There should be more synergy between the various players and yet intense competition.