How Hotels Can Compete and Win with Food & Beverage
By David Garcelon Director of Culinary, Waldorf Astoria NYC | November 27, 2011
I often hear hotel chefs and food and beverage managers lament that it is too difficult to compete with the freestanding restaurants near their hotel. They say that the latest "hot" restaurants, celebrity chefs or food media favorites have advantages over the outlets in their hotel. Whether it is higher labor costs or the inability to react quickly to culinary trends, hotel outlets often feel behind the curve compared to their freestanding counterparts. While both freestanding and hotel outlets each have distinct advantages, great opportunities exist for hoteliers and chefs to win big in the culinary game.
One of the most crucial, and perhaps overlooked, strategic components is the understanding trends in the local restaurant scene and more broadly. There needs to be a savvy understanding of which trends will be a flash in the pan and which are long term and appropriate for a hotel.
In addition to having a finger on the pulse of the restaurant world, the following are ten top strategies I believe hotel chefs can employ to compete and win.
In my opinion, the crucial role of an executive chef is to assemble and lead a great culinary team. An executive chef will never truly be successful without this. If you already have a great team, you must continue to nurture, challenge and develop it. Assembling the team is too critical to success to be left to the HR department. Network, use your contacts and get out there to find the talent you want.
Hotels may not always have a celebrity chef that will attract the young hot shots coming out of culinary school, but they do have many advantages when recruiting. Most hotels offer benefit programs, training programs and lifetime career opportunities for advancement. Most restaurant operations cannot offer their employees opportunities to transfer to other properties within their company. Hotels however, can and do offer these life-changing opportunities to their employees - diversifying and enriching an employee's future. In addition, hotels are dynamic and exciting places to work, offering a variety of meal periods, banquets, room service, weddings and special events with significantly more diverse workplace exposure than most freestanding operations.
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