5-step recipe for F&B success
15 JUNE 2015 6:04 AM
A hotel’s F&B operation is integral to long-term success. Here’s an easy recipe to follow that will kick up the flavor at your F&B outlets.
Fairmont Le Château Frontenac in Quebec City is not just the most iconic property in this provincial capital city, but also all of Canada. To be the executive chef of this property is more than just a position; it is to be the flag bearer for the cuisine of the hotel, city, region and the entire Quebecois population. This is no small order! Add to this the task of realigning the entire food-and-beverage operations for this 611-room property as part of a $75-million renovation.
Enter Executive Chef Baptiste Peupion, determined to reclaim the property’s leadership in the F&B arena. As Peupion explained: “The property was resting on laurels established many, many years ago. The good news was that there were no sacred cows and no one who would feel put out by reorganizing the entire F&B concept.”
The work was so extensive that someone visiting the property prior to the renovation would not recognize any of the new outlets or locations. The lower level restaurant was converted into a dining space for groups and meeting rooms. The main floor dining room, bar and outdoor spaces were completely gutted and replaced with a three-part combination of deluxe restaurant-bar-bistro. Total budget for this project probably exceeded the cost of building an entire 100-room, select-service property.
You get what you pay for, and armed with a completely new dining room and kitchen, Peupion has instituted a remarkable five-point fundamental approach to cuisine—one that is easily replicated within your F&B outlets. In a nutshell, his fundamentals are:
1. Simplicity. Follow the basics. Your guests should be able to easily understand what you are serving and what the ingredients are.
2. Essentials. All of the core selections should be available to the guest. The guest should make the selection, not the chef.
3. Originality. Just because you are delivering, for example, a beef steak, it does not mean it should be boring. Use your creativity to deliver a memorable experience with interesting sides that delight the senses and compliment the flavor of the meat.
4. Passion. Every member of your team should share your passion for food and taste experiences. If they are not committed, they have no place in your kitchen. Delivering exceptional dishes is a total team effort.
5. Fun and pleasure. Food is fun; eating it should be pleasurable. Heck, it better be given that we do it so often. Keep this in mind in all that you do.
Peupion, together with Restaurant Chef Stéphane Modat, have worked together to conceive a menu for the signature restaurant (Champlain) that not only capitalizes upon local suppliers, but also brings taste sensations that fit the five-point fundamental program.
Our conversation moved to the broader issue of being a restaurateur within the hotel setting. As Peupion remarked, the origin of hotels and inns started with the food experience—a filling meal for the stomach of a wearied traveler. Then, as hoteliers focused more upon profitability, F&B became less important, even to the extent that many hotels franchised or sub-contracted their restaurants. Now, as the differences between hotel properties are narrowing, hoteliers are once again realizing that a memorable moment starts in the kitchen.
And as every astute hotelier knows, and the reason why you should make F&B a top priority: EVERYONE EATS!
Larry Mogelonsky is the president and founder of LMA Communications Inc., an award-winning, full service communications agency focused on the hospitality industry (est. 1991). Larry is also the developer of Inn at a Glance hospitality software. As a recognized expert in marketing services, his experience encompasses Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts and Preferred Hotels & Resorts, as well as numerous independent properties throughout North America, Europe and Asia. Larry is a registered professional engineer, and received his MBA from McMaster University. He’s also an associate of G7 Hospitality, a member of Cayuga Hospitality Advisors and Laguna Strategic Advisors. His work includes three books “Are You an Ostrich or a Llama?” (2012) and “Llamas Rule” (2013) and “Hotel Llama” (2014). You can reach Larry at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss any hospitality business challenges or to review speaking engagements.
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