Library Archives

 
Juan Carlos Flores

It is not always necessary to have an extremely large selection of wines to have a successful business and happy clients. Do you recall how many wines were on the last wine list you read? Did you read them all? As a wine client, was it really important to you to sort through an enormously lengthy wine list before selecting the one you would order? For most people, it is not. In the last five years I have lost many dinner partners because of my passion for reading and asking about everything on the menus and wine lists. Sometimes menus-and especially the wine selections-are so extensive that they can be painful for our dinner companions. Certainly, those of us in the food & beverage business are fascinated with seeing creative new ideas and new information, but it can be exhausting for the layman who just wants to enjoy a good meal, complemented by a nice bottle of wine, without spending thirty minutes on the selection. READ MORE

Juan Carlos Flores

You can't sell wine when the atmosphere in your restaurant puts all its emphasis on cocktails. Often we find owners, managers and professionals in the art of the table who think that wine is just one more option on the restaurant menu and that it is as simple to sell as a coke or an iced tea. We all know that selling wine in a restaurant is an important income producer if it is done in the correct way. We must also understand that wine is not just another liquid product: It is a moment. It is culture, history, sensuality and opulence that people share while they are drinking wine. We need to respect this moment, and we do so by paying attention to the details that honor it: with correct glassware, correct temperature, correct quantity and with skill and professional attention from the people who are serving it. You can't sell wine if you and the ambiance of your location do not offer your clients the small but significant details that they normally don't have at home. READ MORE

Juan Carlos Flores

We know that knowledge of special cuisine and wines is not easily acquired, but comes from the investment of time, study and money. How often we see the people we have spent months training in our restaurants or wine boutiques leave for other jobs, taking with them all they have learned from us. Here we will discuss not only motivation and incentives, but also the importance of making the small changes in our business that will encourage staff stay with us. READ MORE

Juan Carlos Flores

How often have you gone to a restaurant and though the setting was beautiful, the total experience was merely adequate? And how often have you thought how rare it is to find a restaurant where the entire experience was perfect? Proper ambiance, good service, good food and a good selection of wine among other beverages are all important for the success of a restaurant. But more is required to make your restaurants a standout. It takes perfect communication and interaction between the kitchen and the service, the chef and the sommelier, to create the perfect fusion in everything your guests will taste. READ MORE

Juan Carlos Flores

Throughout the world we are living in a period of experimentation, when many winemakers are breaking all the rules of wine-making. Though I agree that progress and finding new styles is important, we need to give our clients enough information to let them know that sometimes what they are tasting is completely different from the typical characteristics of the grape variety and/or the region it comes from, so they won't be confused. READ MORE

Juan Carlos Flores

Throughout time, food and beverages have been the most important pairing on earth. Our existence depended on them. Water has been and still is the most important liquid-vital to survival. Through evolution and experimentation, human beings have found ways to produce additional liquids by pressing fruits, cacti and various other plants. Adding a further element of sophistication, we have also learned to mix these liquids and infuse them with cereals, flowers, spices and herbs to obtain the wide variety of interesting beverages we now have available. Pairing food with wine is very pleasant, but sometimes we want to try something different and we discover that other beverages can offer great moments too. The more we learn about them, the more we try and the more we discover new sensations to share. READ MORE

Juan Carlos Flores

Before Spanish Ships landed in America, cacao beans were already being used as currency to trade for other products in the area that today is known as Mexico. Mayans and Aztecs also used cacao beans to make a special beverage that only the most important governors were allowed to drink. The Mayans called this cold energizing beverage Xocoatl, which is the origin of the name chocolate. For me, as a Mexican citizen, it is an honor to write an article about pairing chocolate with different beverages. Although some stories say that chocolate originated in South America, many others indicate that Mexico was the birthplace and cradle of the entire chocolate industry. And of course this article was also a pleasure, since to research it in depth required tasting innumerable samples of chocolates and wine. READ MORE

Susie Ross

In trainings across the country, the resounding theme among long-term servers is quality benefits and bonuses. Bonuses are usually tied to sales and productivity, which translates to higher check averages. These days, without fringe benefits like health care and 401ks, employers have to get creative with ways to keep staff interested and motivated. At the same time, they have to keep their own bottom line a priority for survival! This dilemma can become an opportunity for you, the employer, to motivate your staff in new and creative ways. READ MORE

Susie Ross

Many employees want to know if there will be periodic reviews and/or evaluations of their performances. Even if they don't ask about them in the interview process, you should mention them. Then you have to live up to your statement and conduct regular evaluations. What it does is convey the message that you run a professional organization and you expect them to have the same professional attitude about their careers. If staff presents themselves as professionals, then it's highly probably that their customers will see and treat them as professionals. You must start the professional image at the interview stage and hold them accountable thereafter. READ MORE

Juan Carlos Flores

Cigars-where to begin when there is so much to say about them? I was studying for my sommelier's diploma while working in the Hotel de Paris in Monte Carlo when the world of cigars first opened to me. From the balcony of the hotel I could watch Ferraris and Lamborghinis arriving at the Casino, people wearing fashionable clothes, drinking the best wines and spirits, and very often complementing the experience with a long cigar. It was paradise for someone who was learning and wanted a taste of the best. READ MORE

Kevin Batters

Hotel companies face big challenges - bringing the best possible value to their guests while competing with increasingly similar products from brand to brand. Hoteliers spend large amounts of time and energy focusing on how to do this through care, comfort and amenities, but often end up with properties that have few if any distinctive features. One method for achieving differentiation is to institute a seamless culinary theme throughout all hotel food and beverage departments. READ MORE

Kevin Batters

Most, if not all, of the major hotel companies have restaurants in their hotels. This allows for a fantastic opportunity and advantage when creating a unique banquet menu. The attitude my team has taken, is to reflect the theme of the restaurants at each property and allow this style to flow into banquets. Food and beverage directors must take great care and place major emphasis on not offering generic fare and items that seem to be on so many catering menus. READ MORE

Joanna Harralson

Are you aware - and in control of - what is happening in your hotel bar? How can you be certain that profits, which should be realized by your venue, are making it to your bottom line? Take a look around. If there are no receipts or checks on the bartop in front of the seated guests; if there happens to be a key in the lock of a cash register drawer; if no video display terminals (VDTs) have been installed for the cash registers, or if loose coins and currency, as well as discarded check folders and other papers, are scattered across the countertop of the backbar, your bar could be experiencing some heavy losses. READ MORE

Joanna Harralson

There are times we wonder just how important it is to constantly demand adherence to the rules we've put in place in our bars and lounges. For instance, just what can the negative impact be of a bartender becoming lax in reviewing servers' checks? To forget that guidelines such as this were established for definite reasons is, of course, foolhardy. For one, when a bartender is diligent about 'redlining' or otherwise reviewing checks created from a server's drink/food orders, the server tends to be more diligent about maintaining accountability and accuracy with those same orders. By the same token, the bartender is encouraged to travel a straighter path, as well. And collusion between a bartender and server is not an unheard of scenario in many bars and lounges. READ MORE

Dennis M. Baker

As every chef knows, providing fresh, wholesome, attractive seafood is the desire of every hotel's food and beverage operation. However, providing customers the seafood they want in an increasingly environmentally-conscious world can be a difficult task. Numerous issues confront us in today's seafood marketplace. In fact, more often than operators like to admit, the products they think they are buying are not what they are getting. Besides mislabeled products, another major concern is agreement on a clear, and universally accepted standard for "organic" seafood. But, with proper oversight and a desire to be proactive, you can create a program that is both in tune with the wishes of today's hotel guest and creates value for your company. READ MORE

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Coming up in July 2020...

Hotel Spa: Back to Nature

As the Wellness Industry continues to expand, hotel spas are also diversifying, placing a greater emphasis on overall well-being. For some spas, this means providing clients with all-inclusive packages that include fitness classes, healthy dining, and offsite leisure activities, in addition to their core services. For example, spas near ski resorts are offering packages that include lift passes, pre-ski yoga sessions, after-ski dinners and spa treatments. Other spas are offering packages that include massages, saunas, mineral baths, hot springs, and recreational hiking and snowmobile activities. These kinds of spa offerings are also part of a "Back to Nature" movement that encourages guests to get out and experience the healing qualities of nature. One such therapy is the Japanese practice known as "forest bathing" which has become popular with spas that are near wooded areas. This practice relies on the ancient power of a forest for promoting a sense of health and well-being. Other spas are incorporating precious metals and stones into their health and beauty treatments - such as silver, gold, pearls and amber. Silver ion baths relax the body and mind, reduce fatigue, and restore energy balance. Gold keeps skin radiant and can even treat various skin diseases and infections, due to its antibacterial qualities. Amber is used to calm the nervous system and to relieve stress. Other natural products and therapies that are increasingly in demand include sound therapy, cryotherapy, infra-red saunas, and even CBD oil, which is being used in massages, facials and foot scrubs, providing a new form of stress relief. The July issue of the Hotel Business Review will document these trends and other new developments, and report on how some hotel spas are integrating them into their operations.