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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 on...

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 on...

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 on...

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 on...

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 on...

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 on...

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 on...

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 on...

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 on...

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 on...

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 on...

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 on...

Andrew Freeman

Reality Bites. Let's face it, most hotel restaurants aren't typically destination hot spots and in fact, many are still decorated as "garden terraces" and have the sort of vibe that is most attractive to the drowsy breakfast crowd. Yet, hotel operators know they have a real opportunity to create restaurants with destination caliber cuisine that are both social centers and culinary experiences. These operators are bringing in experienced restaurateurs, consulting/rising star chefs, mixologists, as well as public relations and branding experts to help them develop clearly defined (and appealing) concepts, create enticing menus and identify innovative ways to build the buzz, covers and revenue. By making their hotel restaurants sexy, fun and delicious, these smart operators are creating hot spots that entice both locals and hotel guests alike. Read on...

Joanna Harralson

Whenever a bar is generating healthy gross sales it is most likely racking up equally healthy profits, right? Not necessarily. Much to the dismay of owners and managers of bistros, bars, lounges, nightclubs and restaurants -anywhere drinks are prepared and served - profits are the result of good sales volume plus a multitude of factors which need to be created and nurtured on an ongoing basis. If profitability is the goal, then control and constant diligence must be major components of the oversight provided by owners and managers if their establishments are to remain 'out of the red' and send profits spiraling upwards. Read on...

Joanna Harralson

As every hotel manager knows, a good buffet can be a tremendous marketing tool for promoting a hotel's banquet and catering services, as well as being a magnet to attract a constant crowd of discriminating guests willing to pay for great food, attentive service and pleasant, relaxed surroundings. But what defines a good buffet? And how does one realize healthy profits while avoiding huge losses, including those suffered through employee theft or carelessness? Read on...

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Coming up in November 2019...

Architecture & Design: Biophilic Design

The hospitality industry is constantly evolving to meet and exceed guest expectations. As a result, hotels are always on the lookout for new ways to improve the guest experience, and architecture and design is an essential part of this equation. Bold design is often the most effective way to make an exceptional first impression - an impression guests use to distinguish between brands. One design trend that is being embraced worldwide has become known as “Biophilic Design.” Biophilic design is based on the concept of biophilia, which is the theory that human beings have an innate tendency to seek out nature, natural elements, and natural forms. Biophilic design is more than hotels simply adding a surplus of plants; it involves incorporating specific design elements into a hotel in order to imbue it with a sense of wellness and well-being. Some of those elements include exposure to natural lighting; views of nature and rooms with a view; natural architectural patterns; salvaged or reclaimed woods of all types; reclaimed metals; sustainably sourced stone; living green walls and vertical gardens; and direct and indirect exposure to nature. Hotels that have incorporated biophilic design into their properties are reaping the benefits associated with this trend including reduced stress responses, better air quality, lower energy costs, and more positive guest reviews. Biophilic design has also been shown to improve guest moods and to satisfy consumer demand for environmental responsibility. Savvy hotel owners and managers are aware that nature-inspired elements enhance their guests' comfort and well-being, which is why this trend is becoming so prevalent. Biophilic design is just one topic in the fields of hotel architecture and design that will be examined in the November issue of the Hotel Business Review.