Not every hotel can recruit a celebrity chef to their location, but you can make your hotel well known for premium eats if you get the right motivated person in place and work in cooperation with them to create fine dining, room service and banquet fare to attract connoisseurs. Marshall Alan shares the things you need to do to attract and keep a chef and create a menu that is outstanding.
Hotel chefs and food and beverage managers often bemoan the fact that they can’t seem to compete with freestanding restaurants near their hotel. Despite the attraction of hot clubs and restaurants outside the hotel doors, great opportunities exist for hoteliers and chefs to come out on top of the culinary game.
1. Hire talent. It doesn’t matter if thy were the crowd favorite on Iron Chef or if they’ve just graduated culinary school. Test drive your applying chefs to find one that serves terrific food and has the skill to appeal to the palate of your broadest demographic.
2. Let prospective chefs know you are open to working with them to create a crack culinary team. An executive chef will never be successful without a support system! Don’t leave this to the HR department.
3. Emphasize your benefits package. Health and financial programs, training programs and lifetime career opportunities for advancement are all carrots to dangle, and an added enticement is the possibility of promotion to even more desirable locations owned by the same hotel group. Hotels can also have an edge over a restaurant job since you may be offering banquets, room service, weddings and special events.
4. Discuss ingredients and equipment at the interview. Your prospective chef isn’t just worried about their salary and benefits, they want to know they will have a kitchen that showcases their talent.
5. Make sure any chef you hire is ready and willing to deliver room service on a quick turnaround. Room service is becoming more important for luxury and boutique hotels, as demonstrated by these successful hotels and their renowned food service:
- At the W Atlanta Downtown, celebrity chef Laurent Tourondel delivers room service that matches his in-house restaurant cuisine – including Kobe sliders and hanger steak frites with béarnaise sauce.
- Similarly, Washington D.C. based Park Hyatt Executive Chef Brian McBride oversees the celebrated Blue Duck Tavern, where dishes from the menu are also available for room service, including house-smoked mackerel rillettes and braised beef rib.
- Executive Chef Dominique Crenn, of Luce Wine Restaurant at the InterContinental San Francisco, serves grilled chicken with apple-and-mint couscous, and grilled ahi tuna with a truffle/white bean purée as room service options.
- The Water Club in Atlantic City doesn’t have an in-house restaurant, but Town and Country chef Geoffrey Zakarian has added gourmet appetizers such as smoked-salmon pizza and escargot risotto with black truffles to the room service menu.
- Chef David Garcelon, of the Waldorf Astoria in NYC, dishes up burgers, continental breakfast, clubhouse sandwich and Eggs Benedict for room service, as well as making sure that healthy options, special dietary needs, elegant dinners for two, decadent desserts, and a stunning selection of wines and champagne are available with speedy delivery.
Offer corporate training and educational assistance programs to help attract talent. This shows you are committed to your employees having careers, not just jobs! By encouraging team members to take advantage of training, you show them that you value them and that there is definite possibility of advancement. By investing in them, you encourage them to invest in you.