One of the pillars supporting any successful banquet and catering operation is return business— something that can take years to develop. So how does a new hotel flying an unfamiliar flag start building repeat clientele? The F&B team at Chicago’s Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, opened last November, believe they have the solution to attracting new banquet business: identify a potentially underserved market and build everything around that demographic. “We’re upper-upscale,” says Fred Khoury, director of sales and marketing at the hotel, which is the first Radisson Blu in North America. “Our clients understand what that means; we’re right below luxury.
May traditionally marks the beginning of the wedding season. But at Disney—both in Anaheim and Orlando— wedding season is 365 days a year. Both locations combined host more than 1,500 nuptials annually, and it’s the result of more than two decades carefully building a definitive “destination” wedding program. When I was in Orlando for our cover photo, I saw proof of Disney’s prosperity: we had to wait for a bride to finish using Cinderella’s carriage so we could stage it for our shoot—on a Tuesday at 4 p.m. in February. I witnessed another test of success while in Boston at
A staff morale booster in the new cantina is highlighting each day’s lead cook on the entryway sign, so “they take ownership and become leaders in the room,” says Director of F&B Lori Crowley. Access to the Santa Monica Farmers’ Market inspired the property to replicate a recipe from the market’s cookbook, paired with the book itself, as a gift option for guests. Hotels that scrutinize food cost with a proverbial microscope might look at employee dining as an easy area to slash spending. After all, there’s little ROI on the surface; the meals are free, and staff will
No guest likes being pushed or manipulated. Use the By the Way technique instead. It’s soft, casual, charming, fun, and easy to use. It offers guidance in a personal, yet professional, manner, and it helps you perfect the principles all great salespeople use, whether selling 747s, beach towels, or calamari. 1. Upgrade without being pushy. Gently offer higher-quality items. When a guest orders a vodka tonic, say, “By the way, we offer a great selection of vodkas that includes Grey Goose, Ketel One, Belvedere, and Absolut.” Avoid the manipulative, “Will that be Grey Goose or Ketel One?” And stay away
There is a movement of sorts upon us. Perhaps you have noticed it in your travels. In numerous hospitality businesses, there is an ever increasing number of saboteurs. You might leap to mental images of individuals behind enemy lines wreaking havoc, acts of espionage, or cyber hacking. But no, these are people or systems that work “for you” and are not-so-silently undoing your brand. You may have encountered the “short-arm syndrome” when an overly demonstrative pseudo-friend/ unclaimed relative flails unsuccessfully at a group dinner check. Short-Armed Saboteurs As next in line at a busy branded coffee shop attached to a
“Anytime you reinvent a place that’s an institution, you get some pushback,” says Suzanne Wenz, regional director of public relations. “It’s important to let people know this was done with respect.” One way the revived OAK Long Bar + Kitchen pays homage is in displays of historic menus and programs. “What the hotel industry has done from a food and beverage standpoint for so long has been wrong,” says Don Falgoust, VP of F&B, FelCor Lodging Trust. “We’ve missed the mark in trying to create these destination-dining places based on the old days. Those days are gone.” Falgoust isn’t
Several years ago, InterContinental Hotels Group [IHG] recognized a need to increase attendance at evening receptions in Staybridge Suites properties to achieve better guest satisfaction, says Robert Radomski, VP of global brand management, extended stay brands, at IHG. Staybridge’s Sundowner Reception typically had provided a heavier dinner buffet. IHG’s idea was to offer more customizable small-plate offerings and add regional beverages, Radomski says. “We also observed an overly diverse program brandwide and wanted to encourage more quality control, consistency, and favorable guest expectation,” he adds. Thus was born “The Social,” an evening reception offered Tuesdays through Thursdays from 5:30 to
“We have at least one ingredient in each breakfast entrée that comes from a local vendor,” explains Curtis Crawford, executive chef and director of F&B at the Hotel Indigo Gaslamp Quarter In Table 509 Bar & Kitchen at the Hotel Indigo Gaslamp Quarter in San Diego, guests can choose breakfast dishes with farm fresh eggs, produce fresh from the farmers’ market, and coffee from a local roaster. It’s just one example of an emphasis on farm-to-fork dining that was part of a brand-wide “refresh” of Hotel Indigo, an InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) boutique hotel with 50 properties around the
What does your operation do to reduce food waste and the associated costs—especially for high volume applications such as banquets and catering and buffets? “Trial and error” may not seem like good advice for an F&B manager, but counsel from F&B pros is more in-depth than just cutting your losses and trying to do better next time. While cooking is an art, planning and preparing a meal for a large number of people and working the numbers so that your kitchen meets its margins is more of a science. Especially in B&C, the key to eliminating waste is to keep
Brains, beauty, and brawn defined the equipment we saw at this year’s NAFEM Show in Orlando. Sleek designs, user-friendly technology, and energy savings go hand in hand with versatility to meet the demands of any F&B initiative on property— restaurants, banquets and catering, bars and lounges, lobby grab n’ go, and more. At Food Warming Equipment (FWE), the new UHRS-8-8HR cart can hold, transport, and serve all from one unit and store hot and cold food at once. “There’s a five-inch thermal barrier wall which has about 4½ inches of insulation to protect each side from having any kind of
As the old adage goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is focused on prevention when it comes to food safety as part of their overall plan within the context of the Food Safety Modernization Act signed into law in January of 2010. This law is one of the most comprehensive attempts in history to make our food supply safer. There are five basic rules being discussed at this time to strengthen our food supply chain. Two are critical at the farm and processing stages of a product’s life cycle.
Disney’s discovery process and menu tastings are key, says Executive Chef Robert Gilbert, especially given the custom nature of the dream meals of many brides and grooms. “There is a package we put together, but we prefer to do a total custom experience for them from beginning to end,” he says. Executing F&B dedicated to delectable detail drives Disney to give remote chefs all the tools they need to pull it off at any location on the property. Today’s destination weddings spirit wedding parties away to exotic climes—Caribbean beaches, mountain retreats, Europe— and quite often to the place that
Known as the “Art Hotel” for its collection of contemporary American art, La Posada de Santa Fe attracts a national meeting clientele to the Land of Enchantment. “Our average meeting group is 35 to 60, and we are able to provide more labor-intensive refreshment breaks,” says Conference Service Manager Bobbie Ferrell. “One of our most popular teambuilding options is the Adobe Chef Competition, our regional version of Iron Chef,” says Executive Chef Carmen Rodriguez. “We offer an end-of-meeting-day salsa-making contest for teams of six and present them with a host of exotic ingredients, cutting boards, and knives. With no instruction,
Many people may celebrate their twenty-fifth birthday—or any deserving occasion—with gin, but the Mandarin Oriental San Francisco took its own anniversary to a whole new level. As part of a massive renovation with a price tag in the double-digit millions, the hotel opened a lobby restaurant that claims to have the largest gin collection in San Francisco. The change required moving the restaurant from upstairs to a lobby location in the hotel and reintroducing it to locals. Brasserie S&P, named for the intersection where the hotel is located, at Sansome and Pine, opened last August. It is successful in all
In continuous operation since 1927, S&D Coffee and Tea, a national custom coffee roaster and blender of iced tea, serves over 80,000 customers through distribution and direct store delivery. CONTACT: www.sndcoffee.com Nestlé Coffee-mate’s Open For Business campaign spotlights the power of brand loyalty with the Mystery Shopper Sweepstakes, Wall of Fame Sweepstakes, and quarterly product “Feel The Love Deals,” along with business-building tips, simple signature beverage recipes, information on our product portfolio, and more. CONTACT: www.cmfeelthelove.com Folgers produces highquality, satisfying coffee from roast and ground varieties to the innovative Select Brew Coffee System. With generations of coffee expertise and
STOUFFER’S Alfredo Sauce combines nutty parmesan with cream, Romano cheese, and ground black pepper to offer a made-fromscratch flavor and appearance, with no preservatives. Contemporary flavor pairs with pasta, shrimp, vegetables, or chicken for menu versatility. For ultimate convenience, simply heat and serve. CONTACT: 800-288-8682, www.nestleprofessional.com/stouffers The REVOL black porcelain cast iron-style wok is an individual black porcelain wok made for all presentations from fusion to comfort food. Made in culinary porcelain, it has half the weight of cast iron and is perfect for oven to table. CONTACT: www.revol-usa.com Included in their selection of online searchable upholsteries, MTS Seating offers
Napa Technology has released its annual research study identifying the most compelling trends in the wine, beer, and spirits industry. An overview of trends for 2013 includes a continued effort to reach millennials, more emphasis on women wine drinkers, and a general belief that wines by the glass need to stretch beyond the known varietals and be more plentiful. For more information, visit www.napatechnology.com Scotsman Industries, recently acquired by the Ali Group, will remain a US-based global group reporting to Ali Group North America. Responsibilities held by Dave McCulloch and Dave Wrench, as CEO and CFO respectively of Scotsman Industries,
In the Culinary Clash, two culinary schools each paired a student chef with a student sous chef to develop a threecourse dinner for approximately 75 guests. The “stars” were aligned at the InterContinental San Francisco (ICSF) in March, when budding culinary stars cooked at the property’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Luce, raising money for their schools in the process. ICSF’s second-annual “Culinary Clash” featured eight students from nearby California Culinary Academy and the Art Institute of California-San Francisco. Each school paired a student chef with a student sous chef to develop and execute a threecourse dinner for approximately 75 diners. A
Having chefs who are dedicated to the educational growth of all team members is one of the most vital parts of the culinary education process. From the start of culinary training, we must ensure that there is a strong support system in the kitchen that enables these young people to rely on their chefs for their educational needs. Starting with six basic classes in the spring of 2007, Potawatomi Bingo Casino’s Culinary Academy has grown exponentially since its inception and now features 31 classes at various levels. The program has become a critical part of our success in talent development.