History of the Ritz Carlton

Essay by Jorebate1University, Master'sA+, January 2005

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Joanne Cerulo

TQM Midterm


Since opening in Boston in 1922, the Ritz Carlton has catered to the needs of prestigious travelers. The Ritz Carlton Hotel Company is a management firm that develops and operates luxury hotels worldwide. It was formed in 1983 when Atlanta-based W B Johnson Properties purchased exclusive USA rights to the Ritz Carlton trademark along with the Boston Ritz Carlton hotel. Today, under the leadership of William B. Johnson (CEO) and Horst Schulze (COO), the privately owned company operates 27 hotels and resorts in the United States and Australia. Its future expansion plans include adding hotels in Hong Kong and Barcelona, and the Ritz Carlton also has 9 international sales offices and employs 11,500 people.

Ritz Carlton hired Horst Schulze as President and COO of the company in 1983. By 1989, Horst recognized that the management style of the Ritz Carlton had changed over time and had lost its focus - quality and customer satisfaction.

Faced with this challenge, Horst decided to return back to fundamentals and personally take charge of MANAGING FOR QUALITY, because he realized that "quality cannot be delegated". Schulze understood that a more comprehensive organizational structure was necessary for the Ritz Carlton to optimize their performance. To accomplish this challenge, Horst selected the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award Criteria as his guide. By using the Baldridge Award Criteria, he was able to assess EVERY FACET of the business. By reviewing the resulting feedback reports, Ritz Carlton was able to develop its own customized plan to reach business excellence. As a result, Ritz Carlton attained SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER performance levels within its organization.

Almost a decade before the Ritz Carlton won its first award, Horst too charge of overseeing quality maintenance in each hotel. To ensure that every hotel met the same high...