Scaled-back hospitality workers may be just what landscaping needs

Landscape professional and client discussing the grass on front lawn
Having come from the restaurant industry, Adam Zellner of Oasis Turf & Tree has found that he loves working with clients.
Oasis Turf & Tree

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, there has been an increasing number of hospitality workers out of a job. Whether coming from retail, restaurants, or hotels, many of these individuals have been unemployed as the hospitality industry has scaled back. This may present a great opportunity for landscape business owners who are looking for new hires. In fact, individuals coming from the hospitality industry may be the perfect fit for the green industry.

At Oasis Turf & Tree, a Loveland, Ohio-based company, hiring from within the hospitality industry has been commonplace. In fact, Adam Zellner, Oasis vice president of sales, came from the restaurant industry. He says that hospitality industry workers already have what it takes to succeed in a lawn and landscaping career.

“They’re typically hard-working people who know how to hustle and work really well with people,” Zellner explains. “This all translates really well into the type of employee that we’re seeking.”

Better hours and a long-term career

There are many aspects of a lawn and landscaping career that are appealing to those in the hospitality industry. It usually means steadier hours, being off on holidays and weekends, and stable income, too. Zellner says that many hospitality workers experience burnout and are pleasantly surprised by what a lawn or landscaping career has to offer.

“Working in a restaurant can be exhausting and usually means really late nights,” Zellner says. “I worked in the restaurant industry for nearly a decade and found myself wondering if it was something that could really be sustainable forever. One of the best ways to attract these types of workers is to talk about career stability.”

Knowing how valuable a personable and hard-working employee is, Zellner, says that any time he goes to a restaurant or bar, he takes Oasis Turf & Tree business cards with him. If he encounters a really great waiter, waitress, hostess, or bartender, he has those cards handy.

Making the switch

Although many people may be intimidated by switching careers, Zellner says that the lawn and landscaping skills are teachable. What’s not teachable is personality and work ethic.

“We hire more on those soft skill characteristics that you can’t teach someone like being hard-working or being able to positively interact with our customers,” Zellner says. “If we find those skills in someone, we can teach them the rest."  

Zellner can relate to that himself as he came into the company with no previous knowledge.

“I did not know anything about lawn care before I came here but what I found was a strong culture of education,” he says. “I was taught everything I didn’t know.”

He started out in phone sales and found that connecting with people came naturally to him. Like many others in the hospitality industry, he also had a desire to help others.

“I think another link between the lawn care industry and hospitality is that most people in it really do like to help other people,” he says. “Much of our lawn care job is about keeping people happy with their lawns and solving challenges that come up along the way. There’s a lot of customer service involved. I think many people that work in hospitality would find a strong connection with what we do in the green industry.” 

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