Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Raz

Jonathan M. Raz

Director of Food & Beverage, Waldorf Astoria Orlando

With nearly 20 years of experience in food and banquet operations, Jonathan M. Raz brings a passion for innovative cuisine to his position as director of food and beverage at Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. Mr. Raz manages the F&B operations of the hotel complex, including 12 dining outlets, in-room dining service for 1,500 guest rooms and an extensive banquet facility. Offering over eight years of experience as director of food and beverage under the Hilton umbrella, Mr. Raz plays a pivotal role in the property's renowned culinary program, where he works with more than 150 chefs to develop delectable dining experiences and creative group catering menus that continue to earn top honors in food and beverage excellence. Mr. Raz's greatest joy comes from developing original restaurant and bar concepts that provide guests with a customized dining experience. A natural leader, Mr. Raz relishes mentoring and collaborating with his culinary team, helping them hone their skills and push creative boundaries. Exposed to the food operations business at an early age by his father, a food and beverage director himself, Mr. Raz constantly challenges his chefs to develop new approaches to their cooking with a focus on creating ahead-of-the-trend menus that still evoke the comforts of classic dishes. While the majority of his day is spent in operations, Mr. Raz makes time to interact with guests and strives to provide an unforgettable dining experience for every visitor who sets foot in his restaurants. Mr. Raz began his career as the banquet manager at DoubleTree Guest Suites in New York City, working his way up to assistant director of banquets and events at the Waldorf Astoria New York, where he oversaw the operation of presidential dinners and exclusive galas. He continued his career with Hilton as assistant director of food and beverage at Hilton Americas and as director of food and beverage at Hilton Baltimore before his most recent position as director of food and beverage at Hilton Orlando, overseeing all kitchen operations, budgeting and restaurant concepts. Mr. Raz made a name for himself as a culinary leader when he helped open Hilton Baltimore, recruiting all leadership positions and directly supervising the executive chef, director of catering, director of banquet operations and assistant director of food and beverage. An avid cook, Mr. Raz brings his culinary expertise home with him, where he enjoys spending quality time with his wife and three children, dining out and finding time for an occasional round of golf.

Please visit http://www.hilton.com for more information.

Mr. Raz can be contacted at 407-597-5500 or jonathan.raz@hilton.com

Coming up in February 2020...

Social Media: Social Listening Tools

The reach and influence of social media is staggering. Nearly 3 billion people use social media daily, posting a range of messages, selfies, images, and everything in-between. According to HubSpot, almost 4 million posts are uploaded to the major social networks every single minute! That's an astounding amount of content and it is crucial for hotels to skillfully use social media in order to effectively compete. From establishing a suitable brand identity and voice to creating content across all the major networks (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.), the goal is to actively engage consumers and to eventually convert them to customers. Some hotels are initiating online contests as a way to attract new customers, while others are rewarding customers with discounts who subscribe to the their email lists or follow their social media pages. Another recent strategy is to employ social media listening tools that track what people are posting online about their businesses. These tools allow hotels to monitor - or listen to - what's being said about a brand across the entire social web, and this can prove to be very valuable, unfiltered information. Social listening permits hotels to be aware of people's opinions about their business, industry or competitors, and some of these tools even listen beyond social media platforms. They also monitor publicly available information on blogs, forums, news outlets and websites. Some listening tools are more focused on gathering and analyzing data, while others offer more engagement-oriented features, which allow hotels to interact with people right from the platform. Often the information that is gleaned from these listening tools ends up being the most authentic, unbiased insights a business can get. The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to successfully integrate social media strategies into their operations.