theWit Hotel Appoints Piers Smyth as Director of Restaurants & Beverage

USA, Chicago, Illinois. July 15, 2019

theWit Hotel, perfectly nestled in the heart of Chicago at 201 N State St., is thrilled to announce the recent appointment of Piers Smyth as the Director of Restaurants & Beverage. Smyth brings with him over 18 years of experience in hospitality, most recently as the Director of Food & Beverage at Hotel Julian and its restaurant, About Last Knife.

"With my new role, I hope to focus on the social aspect of truly hosting our patrons," says Piers Smyth. My passion is in hospitality, and I always try to push myself to create a better experience for my guests. At ROOF, I want everything to be about enjoyment. From the offerings and the content to the delivery, I hope to engage with people and make them feel comfortable. With our new programming and cocktail selections, I want to embrace the culture of theWit. The humor, creativity, and innovation. Comedy and wit are great tools to create a personal connection with your guests, rather than just a transaction. Simply having a good menu isn't enough."

Originally from Savannah, Georgia, Smyth brings a unique perspective and genuine southern hospitality to his new role at theWit Hotel and ROOF on theWit. Prior to his current position, Piers served as the Director of Food and Beverage for Hotel Julian and its steakbar, About Last Knife, where he managed all food and beverage operations, along with menu development and hospitality training. Before that, Smyth helped open multiple hotels and restaurants in the Chicagoland area, including Cerise at Virgin Hotels Chicago, and I|O Godfrey prior to that.

In addition to Piers' impressive resume with previous positions at gastropubs and cocktail lounges to nightclubs and fine dining, Smyth is also a seasoned mixologist with numerous accolades. He has participated in competitions locally, nationally, and globally, including the 2015 Tullamore D.E.W. Bar Stories, where he took home the winning title and a trip to the Tullamore D.E.W. distillery in Ireland, and the 2017 Punch Kings Cochon555 Grand Cochon where he was the Chicago Punch King winner.

For the new beverage program at ROOF, Smyth plans to use compound infusions to keep drinks simple and approachable by nature, and complex in flavor while incorporating his love for sarcasm into his cocktail programming. Some humorous cocktails include his list of Spring Spritzes, like the Breaking News with Wolf Spritzer, (Itali)Kiss from a Rosé, My Name is ___, and I'm an (Aperol) ic. Smyth plans to make his menus an approachable experience for those looking to try something new in the city by creating concoctions that don't intimidate, but rather, welcome guests to explore something they wouldn't otherwise feel comfortable trying. Smyth also intends to develop an exclusive Decanter Collection, meant to showcase premium spirits, barrel-aged in house. Smyth will also lead the charge with a new Macallan experience featuring the Macallan 1824 Master Series, where guests can experience some of the rarest spirits in the world.

Smyth received his BFA in Industrial Design, with a second concentration in Architecture, from the Savannah College of Art and Design. Upon moving to Chicago, Smyth found a niche in designing bars, nightclubs, and restaurants, consulting to help create designs of these spaces for optimal use. In his spare time, Piers enjoys fitness, watch collecting, animals, and all things creative.

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Food & Beverage: New Technological Innovations

In the past few years, hotel food and beverage departments have experienced significant growth. Managers are realizing just how much revenue potential this sector holds, both in terms of additional revenue and as a means to enhance the guest experience. As a result, substantial investments are being made in F&B operations as a way to satisfy hotel guests but also to keep pace with the competition. Though it has been a trend for many years, the Farm-to-Table movement shows no signs of abating. Hotel chains are abandoning corporate restaurants and are instead partnering with local chefs to create locally-influenced dining options. Local, farm-sourced ingredients paired with specialty beverages or local wine also satisfies the increasing demand from Millennial travelers who are eager to travel sustainably and contribute to a positive impact. A farm-to-table F&B program also helps to support the local economy, which builds community goodwill. Also popular are "Self-Serv" and "Grab & Go" options. These concepts stem from an awareness that a guest's time is limited and if a hotel can supply them with fast, fresh, food and beverage choices, then so much the better for them. Plus, by placing these specialty kiosks in areas that might be traditionally under-utilized (the lobby, for instance), they can become popular destination locations. Of course, there are new technological innovations as well. In-room, on-screen menus allow guests to order from any restaurant on the property, and some hotels are partnering with delivery companies that make it possible for guests to order food from any restaurant in the area. Also, many hotels are implementing in-room, voice-activated devices, so ordering food via an AI-powered assistant will soon become mainstream as well. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these developments and document what some leading hotels are doing to expand this area of their business.