Editorial Board   

Mr. Rajagopal

Venkat Rajagopal

Professor, Pacific International Hotel Management School

Venkatraman Rajagopal known as Venkat is currently a lecturer teaching hospitality and tourism management subjects at Pacific International Hotel Management School in New Plymouth, New Zealand. Venkat holds a degree in Commerce, a Masters in Business Administration and a Masters in International Hospitality Management. With more than 20 years experience in the hospitality industry, Mr. Rajagopal has worked his way up in all departments of the industry, holding senior management positions such as Director of Finance, Director of Food and Beverage and General Manager. He has worked with city hotels, beach resorts and game parks, in India, Middle East, Africa and New Zealand. Most of the properties have been owned and operated by such well known chains as the Indian Hotels Company Ltd., (which owns and operates Taj and Taj groups of hotels in India and abroad), Intercontinental Hotels, The Kempinski Group, (Leading Hotels of the World), Preferred Group of Hotels, Stamford Plaza and Sheraton to name a few. Mr. Rajagopal has also been responsible for computerization of front office, food and beverage and interfacing of the same with back office accounts for one of the best beach resorts in Mombasa, Kenya, East Africa. He is very proud to have introduced “expatriate business” as one of the important segments for a city hotel in Nairobi, Kenya. Mr. Rajagopal has conducted many training sessions and workshops for middle and senior management staff in the hotel industry as part of “Training within Industry”, and has also been guest lecturer at the Institute of Hotel Management, Catering Technology and Applied Nutrition in India. Mr. Rajagopal has chosen to live and work in New Zealand because of the unprecedented growth of the hospitality and tourism sector within the country. In recent times that has resulted in increased opportunities for skilled and qualified personnel.

Mr. Rajagopal can be contacted at 64 9 8350535 or venkatr@pihms.ac.nz

Coming up in August 2019...

Food & Beverage: Millennial Chefs Lead the Way

Led by Millennial chefs, hotels continue to foster sustainability, sourcing and wellness within their dining rooms and banquet spaces, and by all measures, this is responsible for an increase in their revenues. In many hotels, the food & beverage division contributes 50 per cent or more to hotel sales and they are currently experiencing double-digit growth. As a result, hotel owners are allocating an increasing amount of square footage for F&B operations. The biggest area of investment is in catering, which is thriving due to weddings, social events and business conferences. Hotels are also investing in on-site market or convenience stores that offer fresh/refrigerated foods, and buffet concepts also continue to expand. Other popular food trends include a rise of fermented offerings such as kombucha, kimchi, sauerkraut, tempeh, kefir and pickles - all to produce the least processed food possible, and to boost probiotics to improve the immune system. Tea is also enjoying something of a renaissance. More people are thinking of tea with the same reverence as coffee due to its many varieties, applications and benefits. Craft tea blending, nitro tea on tap and even tea cocktails are beginning to appear on some hotel menus. Another trend concerns creating a unique, individualized and memorable experience for guests. This could be a small consumable item that is specific to a property or event, such as house-made snack mixes, gourmet popcorn, macaroons, or jars of house-made jams, chutneys, and mustards -all produced and customized in house. One staple that is in decline is the in-room minibar which seems to have fallen out of favor. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will document the trends and challenges in the food and beverage sector, and report on what some leading hotels are doing to enhance this area of their business.