Updated: May 5

This week, we asked Sokunthroth Y., to tell us about his journey in the hospitality industry.

After studying in Switzerland, in the prestigious "Hotel Institute Montreux" and "Swiss Hotel Management School", he returned to Cambodia with a Master of International Business in Hospitality Management.

Now, Sokunthroth is General Manager of one of the trendiest place in Phnom Penh : Sakaban restaurant.

b. Consulting aims to promote Cambodian talents in the hospitality field. You too can be an example for new employees in the hospitality industry. If you wish to testify, please contact us.

"Asking me how I get into this industry I would answer Passion and Love but ask me how I get into the Hospitality Industry my answer would be Hospitality found me."
Sokunthroth Y. GM of Sakaban restaurant.
Mr. Sokunthroth with his team in Phnom Penh.

How did you get into the hospitality business?

It all started with a nostalgic experience and passion. Looking back when I was a kid, I visited one B&B Hotel near the seaside in Sihanoukville. On a fresh morning I went to their outlet and saw their staff preparing a buffet breakfast for their guest like a line of service, full of systematic from hot to cold dishes and place the nametags of each items with care and precision. It amazed me how could just 3 stars local hotel could do, but I can feel they put their heart into it.

As I was travelling home, my mind kept thinking about the hotel’s hospitality and hospitality and not the sea or vacation that I had.

Since then, the experience I have gained and the passion I have for the industry has led me to continue to follow it, even though I sometimes failed to find a job in a hotel before I graduated with my hospitality degree, but I continue to practice it by serving meals to my friends and family.

Asking me how I get into this industry I would answer passion and love but ask me how I get into the hospitality industry my answer would be hospitality found me.

What studies did you follow to become a hospitality professional?

Hospitality is about people business. You would deal with the different type of guest with various emotion and expectation. It’s not just what you learn from your degree but the job itself. It is really important for any person in hospitality industry to focus on On-Job-Training as the industry keeps evolving.

Plus, with new technology begin to involve, we need the ongoing skill training to keep those experience alive with be continuously curious on how we can continue to meet expectation from our guest.

During his study in Switzerland.

What do you like about your job? And what do you like less?

What I really love about my job is to be able to connect and share experience with people. By “People“ here, I mean our team, our guest, and our shareholder.

Every day is a new learning experience as we can meet, talk, share, train and learn from our people. When you decided to step into this job, you know you already sacrifice your life balance and instead deal with long haul hour, this might be what I like less but passion and love for this industry also the smile and compliment from our people are what motivate me to continue this journey.

For me, experience from my first internship has opened my eyes on how hospitality should be.

Sakaban restaurant in Phnom Penh.

What is your best experience, story in this profession?

I began my job as an F&B internship at one restaurant in Switzerland, even with the experience from my previous job and several training from my degree, I still felt out of comfort zone and nervous.

My first week there wasn’t what I had imagined, I create lot of problem to the team such as spill the oil all over the floor while we were catering 120 guests at lunch time. The manager asked me to take 5 minutes rest outside the building to calm myself. After the shift I went to the manager office to apologized, to my surprised he comforted me and spend the extra hour to train me right after the shift. This show me what leadership look like and how professional in hospitality should be.

Within 1 month, I became confident in my job and started to train a new intern. I spent my 2 days off working voluntarily in the kitchen and eager to learn more about kitchen system, service workflow, and moreover about different guest expectation.

For me, experience from my first internship has opened my eyes on how hospitality should be. It gave me a lot of learning aspect from professionalism in hospitality to the leadership. Hospitality doesn’t limit to the interaction between the service provider and the customers, it is also about encouraging and motivating people around us too.

This is what I seek to fulfill on my journey.

  • Contact b. consulting Hospitality Food & Beverage - click-here

  • Join Mr. Sokunthroth Y. on Linkedin - click-here

  • More information about Sakaban restaurant - click-here

What makes the hospitality industry unique ?

Hospitality is defined as “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers.”

Hospitality industry can be understood as an industry which provides facilities for stay, food and complete related services for the comfort and leisure of the travelers and visitors.

According to the World Travel and Tourism Council:

  • The Hospitality and Travel Industry employs more people than automotive, mining, financial services and manufacturing combined.

  • 1 out of 10 jobs currently are provided through travel and tourism.

  • 1 out of 5 new jobs are being created by the hospitality and tourism industry.

  • Travel and tourism industry contributes 10.6% of the Global Gross Domestic Product

  • The growth rate of the hospitality and tourism industry is over 150% of the global average

In Cambodia, as elsewhere in the world, the hospitality industry is rebounding from the COVID-19 crisis. Our sector is facing major challenges to recruit its workforce, an essential requirement for development.

For the employees, working in the hospitality industry remains attractive. For the firms, investing in human resources and skills development should be the first priorities.

Why embrace a career in hospitality ?
  • A diversity of jobs - The list of jobs in the hospitality sector is long, very long. It offers a diversity of jobs for all talents : Casino Host, Cruise Ship Attendant, Front Desk Associate, Front Desk Supervisor, Front Office Attendant, Front-of-House Manager, Gaming Dealer, Guest Relations Manager, Guest Services Associate, Guest Services Supervisor, Hotel Clerk, Hotel Receptionist, Reservationist, Reservations Agent, Events Manager, Executive Conference Manager, Executive Meeting Manager, Meeting and Convention Planner, Meeting Coordinator, Meeting Manager, Meeting Planner, Meeting Specialist, Special Events Manager, Wedding Coordinator, Cafe Manager, Catering Manager, Chef, Cook, Food and Beverage Manager, Kitchen Manager, Pastry Chef, Restaurant Manager, Sous Chef, Back Office Assistant, Catering Sales Manager, Director of Hotel Sales, Director of Marketing and Sales, Group Sales Manager, Guest Room Sales Manager, Hotel Manager, Lodging Manager, Sales and Marketing Manager, Shift Leader, Shift Manager, Spa Manager, Wedding Sales Manager, Director of Housekeeping, Director of Maintenance, Director of Operations, Executive Housekeeper, Housekeeper, Housekeeping Aide, Housekeeping Supervisor, Lead Housekeeper, Maid, Maintenance Supervisor, Maintenance Worker, Baggage Porter, Bell Attendant, Bellhop, Bellman, Driver, Parking Lot Attendant, Valet, Valet Attendant, Valet Parking Attendant, Waiter/Waitress, Back Waiter, Banquet Server, Barback, Barista, Bartender, Busser, Cafe Manager, Catering Assistant, Food Runner, Food Server, Head Waiter, Host, Hostess, Maître d'Hôtel, Server, Sommelier….

As new generations of clients are looking for experiences that match their lifestyle, a new generation of jobs is to be created : fitness teams, yoga teachers, nutritionists, events & art coordinators, virtual tour developers for instance will surely integrate the Hospitality sector in the very near future.

  • A fast-growing future - Hospitality industry in Cambodia is booming. Opportunities are present all over the country at every level : choose your lifestyle, your province, your sector, your company profile whether you want to contribute to the success of a local brand or integrate a worldwide company.

  • A multicultural environment - working in the hospitality sector offers the tremendous opportunity to evolve in an international context, both with clients and team members. Careers in multicultural environments are developing creativity, curiosity and a natural understanding of diversity.

  • A path for career development - choosing a career in hospitality is an insurance for a lifetime development with a rather quick access to responsibilities and management skills. It may also be a bridge over other industries such as the aviation sector, luxury retailers, banking industry, etc.

  • A possibility of an international career - a job in the hotel industry allows a great deal of freedom and mobility, as well as the rare opportunity to meet, service, and interact with people from all walks and corners of life. Employees working in the hospitality sector develop an international network faster and should they wish to move to a neighboring country from Asean or try a far away destination, they should not have a problem in finding new opportunities.

(Video clip from Workforce Singapore - Public agency)

Why do companies looking for success invest in their employees ?

The unemployment rate in Cambodia is one of the world lowest rates. While the hospitality sector is booming, it has been facing difficulties to attract staff for a variety of reasons:

  • a job offer market in other sectors highly competitive

  • the lack of familiarity and attractivity with the hospitality profession

  • lack of curriculum and recognition of skills adjusted to a clear salary grid

  • lack of vocational schools, hence the loss of time for companies in the recruitment and the need for in house training

  • a post Covid era that has been shattering the hospitality workforce

To answer these threats, you might invest wisely in your HR and believe in your team’s potential. A long-term vision and training action plan will give you the opportunity to:

  • define a competitive job offer that will attract promising profiles and talents

  • promote the attractivity and diversity of hospitality careers within your company

  • establish a career development path

  • develop your companies standards and your employees’ skills

  • adapt your business to new trends and new consumers’ habits

An efficient recruitment strategy and a skills development program will drive long-term benefits and direct responses for your company:

  • build a skilled-workforce and adapt to new technologies

  • efficiency & attractivity for recruitment

  • decrease of staff turnover

  • development of internal promotions

  • remaining at the top of your business industry

Industry-relevant vocational training and on-the-job training will ensure to build a skilled-workforce who would meet the state’s demand in terms of international standards, hygiene, nutrition, culinary arts and culinary business administration. The advantages of training are numerous, all studies are unanimous : staff skills development offers multiple benefits to a company. If you want to reduce your staff turnover and stay at the top of your business, our training programs are surely something you’d like to look into.

For the last 3 years, b. Consulting has been developing for established companies and newcomers in the Hospitality market recruitment assistance services and tailor made training programmes for hotel and F&B outlets. Because we believe that each client is unique, our program, based on international standards and following the Asean curriculum, is tailor made to empower competences, enhance knowledge, train the middle management to grow up and build a multi-tasking team to reach your goal. Our dedicated trainers aim to share their core value: providing a quality training for our clients and their team to enhance your guests' experience.

“Thank you for b.Consulting Cambodia for hosting a training for Pavilion service staff. As a manager I can see how the power of skills development training inspires the team for greater performance. The trainer was good at facilitating and getting the best of every one of the team.”

Nassiba Alibaeva- General Manager The Pavilion

b. Consulting will publish testimonies and interviews of hospitality careers. Stay tuned !


For more information :

Florian Bohême

Hospitality Consultant


Women empowerment is one of our core values: we, at b.Consulting, promote women achievements, ensure salary gender equality, support women employment and facilitate their access to top management positions.

Gender equality: a myth in hospitality’s sector ?

International statistics in this industry are meaningful, according to the reference website, : “Even though women make 50% of the workforce in hospitality, gender equality remains a myth in our sector. There is a significant gap in terms of rank, pay, role and general progression in women's leadership positions and female representation falls as women rise in their careers with only 5% going on to make the top job of CEO.

Cambodia is no exception, even though we have been witnessing outstanding women success stories over the last decade.

Leading conglomerates or SME created or led by women:

The pioneer in this industry is probably Mrs Lauk Chumteav Neak Oknha PHEAP Heak, Founder of Chip Mong. This Cambodian leading conglomerate is managed by a woman. Chip Mong is one of the most important corporations with a wide range of assets and investment, including but not restricted to hospitality (Marriott, Kyatt, Grand Royal Golf), food & beverage (Chip Mong Retail) as well as brewery (Khmer beverages).

(8th March 2020 - Chip Mong video)

More recently, Madam Sarsileap Khieu, Chairwoman of Hanuman Beverages, distinguished herself with the launch of her beer brand and an investment of more than 160 million dollars.

However, these success stories should not make us forget that female entrepreneurship begins with successes with less investment.

Her motto is: “Our employees are from diverse backgrounds with great expertise and passion. We fulfill the needs of our team by creating a safe and entertaining environment for their workplace. We invest in our employees’ well-being and believe their intrinsic motivation will help them pursue their future goals and ensure maximum productivity.” (source : letter from our Chairwoman)

Women entrepreneurships are not only about huge conglomerates. Success stories of women achievements in the hospitality and food and beverage industry are very often stories of SMEs.

Last year, b.Consulting assisted Lim Group in its development strategy to face Covid 19 challenges. In a video prepared for 2021 International Women’s Day, Mrs. LIM Khieng, Lim Group founder and CEO, explained her business core values and how being a woman entrepreneur had shaped her vision for development.

(March 2021 : Ms Khieng, chairwoman of LIM Group)

How international groups can make an impact in Cambodia as role model:

In Cambodia, as elsewhere in the world, the tourism or Food & Beverage industry is no exception to the following rule: gender diversity at top management positions remains a challenge. It cannot be denied that a majority of the highest positions are held by men.

As an exemple, to accelerate gender equality, ACCOR has decided to implement a dedicated program (HeforShe commitment) and set up clear objectives: “In 2015, 27% of hotel managers were women when we launched our HeForShe commitments. In 2020, we reached 34%.”

Career opportunities for women in the hospitality and F&B industry are numerous.

A strategic gender equality policy from companies should include:

  • Mentorship and female role models

  • Easy access to talent development programs

  • Help women to develop their networking

  • Use of technology

  • Flexible working hours

  • Family leave policies

  • Try new recruitment channels

But not only.

These strategies for enhancing the place of women are useful when they irrigate the whole of a society. In Cambodia, TVET schools very often welcome young girls for initial training in the hospitality industry. Another example, apprenticeship streams with 70% girls.

(Les soeurs Kimsan Pol et Kimsan Sok)

The hospitality sector is one of the most accessible to women with many positions of responsibility and opportunities for self-development. Nevertheless, Gender equality cannot be achieved without setting up a roadmap to achieve it.

b.Consulting is involved in helping companies to promote female employees to access management positions thanks to our dedicated internal training programs.

Sources :

#hospitality #trends #food&beverage #Cambodia #analysis #SouthEastAsia #Experts