For GM, pots and pans led to P&L and plans
26 JUNE 2015 6:48 AM
Stefan Blömker—GM of Hyatt’s first Hyatt Place in Europe—has used his cooking and management skills to best effect in running kitchens and hotels across the world.
AMSTERDAM—Stefan Blömker has cooked himself up a very tasty career in the “kitchen” that is Hyatt Hotels Corporation.
Now GM of Europe’s first (and so far only) Hyatt Place property, the 330-room Hyatt Place Amsterdam Airport, Blömker is a 23-year veteran with Hyatt, and it all started with food. The German national had several positions in the role of executive chef before moving up the ladder of responsibility.
Those early lessons and experience behind the pots and pans were crucial, Blömker said.
“Originally I did not have so much in the way of a sales and marketing background, but a chef needs an eye for detail and has to be quietly focused, and executive chefs generally are part of the management team reporting to the GM.
“Being a chef is about leadership. But I went about that also in a quiet manner. I’m not (celebrity chef) Gordon Ramsay,” Blömker said.
Blömker said the necessity of having a strong financial view in terms of kitchen management translated well when he took on his first GM role in November 2010, a three-year stint at the Hyatt Regency Taba Heights in the Sinai Peninsula, Egypt, close to the Israeli border and now the Miramar Resort Taba Heights.
It was a posting that coincided with the Arab Spring that threw Egypt and other North African and Middle Eastern countries into turmoil and change.
It was a time that had its challenges, but for Blömker it was yet another step on his steep learning curve that started in 1981 when he took his first chef position at the Hotel Haus Deutsch Krone in Bad Essen, a wellness destination in Germany’s Lower Saxony region.
Blömker has enjoyed a rich, global career, perhaps based on the idea that a person who knows how to cook will never go hungry and be assured a good welcome.
His career saw the peripatetic Blömker work in such destinations as Jerusalem, Cairo, Sharm el-Sheikh (Egypt), Istanbul, Sydney, Alice Springs (Australia), Beijing and Lucerne (Switzerland). His first role with Hyatt came in October 1992 as executive sous chef at the Hyatt Regency Cologne.
He discovered ingredients and management techniques in all those places.
Blömker said it is important to understand each market and what makes up their revenue streams and guest mix. Today, that has extended to new hotel-industry disciplines such as revenue management.
“RM is first an analyzing tool, and then it is an optimizing one,” Blömker said.
When Hyatt offered him the chance to be GM at the Hyatt Place in Amsterdam, he jumped at the opportunity.
He still keeps an eye on the kitchen, but more often he is cooking up a storm in the lobby.
“I want to be there during the busier check-in and check-out periods. Every day on the arrivals list are 10 to 15 guests I’d like to personally greet, but just introducing myself to as many of our guests as possible allows me to make sure the hotel is as good as it can be,” Blömker added.
Attention to detail—as much in the lobby and hotel as in the kitchen—makes the entire hotel recipe look and taste its finest, he said.