Dow Finding Success with Basil's Kitchens

Has Track Record of Raising Revenues, Profits and Guest Satisfaction

. October 14, 2008

SEATTLE, WA, October 2, 2006. Dow Hotel Company, LLC (DHC), a hotel ownership investment and management company, today announced that it plans to double the number of its proprietary Basil's Kitchens restaurant concept over the next 18 months. Currently located in six upscale hotels owned or managed by the company, Basil's Mediterranean upscale, casual theme has developed a proven track record for establishing profitable hotel restaurant operation under a variety of hotel franchise flags, raising guest satisfaction and appealing to local, non-hotel guests. The company is in the early stages of determining if it will franchise the concept to other hotels.

"Hotel restaurants typically are treated as a loss or 'break-even' service for many full-service, upscale hotels," said Murray L. Dow II, DHC founder and president of the Dow Hotel Company. "We set out to break that paradigm and to create a restaurant concept that not only would work in a hotel, but be transferable to other upscale hotels, regardless of brand."

Dow noted that creating a restaurant concept, from menu to uniforms, table settings to advertising is costly and time consuming. "We now have the systems, graphics and marketing materials, even the music selections, which makes Basil's a speedy, cost-effective turnkey operation," he said. "However, the concept is flexible, and we adapt each restaurant to local market conditions and customs.

"We literally can convert an existing restaurant in days," he said. "We bring in a task force of experienced Basil's operators from other properties to help get the restaurant up and running smoothly and quickly."

The casual but sophisticated concept serves all three meals, presenting a different setting for each meal period, including an upscale buffet breakfast and using double tablecloths to establish a fine dining experience for the evening meal. "A good restaurant helps set the reputation for a hotel," Dow said. "In recent installations, Basil's typically has generated more than a 40 percent increase in revenues with an immediate jump in guest satisfaction scores. All of our Basil's generate profits well in excess of the industry average."

Named in honor of Basil Miaullis, a well known hotelier and restaurateur who mentored Dow early in his career, Basil's menus feature approachable, home-made Mediterranean cuisine, including Steak Vesuvio, navy bean soup, Capellini Bianchini and freshly baked artisan breads. A chef's table showcases the restaurant's signature cuisine, as well as special dishes. "We are one of the few restaurants in the casual upscale segment that still toss a Caesars salad table-side, which is just one of a number of small touches we add that set Basil's apart from other hotel restaurants," said Ernie Catanzaro, Dow Hotel Company vice president of operations.

The colorful, eclectic d'ecor evokes the feeling of a family-operated caf'e in Monaco on a summer day. The setting features large jars of pasta, olives and other foods, as well as wine magnums, which are rotated frequently to keep the d'ecor fresh and inviting. The Basil's at the Crowne Plaza, Hotel Lake Oswego in Portland, Ore., recently was named one of the top 10 "Best Places for a Power Lunch," by the city's Business Journal, one of only two hotel restaurants to make the list.

The company's newest Basil's Kitchen, with nearly 200 seats, recently opened in the Hilton Bellevue, WA. "The restaurant already has established a reputation in the market, and we are seeing spill-over benefits in our banquets and meeting business," said Catanzaro. "And as we add new restaurants, we believe that guests will become more aware of the brand, which we believe will further build our revenues."

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