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Putting on the Ritz in the Kitchen

When you think of upscale dining at hotel brands such as St. Regis, Four Seasons or Ritz Carlton, do you think about wearing formal or semiformal attire? For most, tradition dictates that a five-star hotel naturally comes with an uber-luxury restaurant accompaniment. This dining establishment would typically feature high priced menu items, often themed, and an expansive wine selection. Service would always be exemplary. In all, every detail would lend itself to an incredible and often unforgettable dining experience (with prices to boot!). This ‘fancy dining’ proposition is challenged by the exceedingly casual lifestyle of South Florida. While there is no shortage of dining options, one would be hard-pressed to find anyone wearing a jacket or formal dress, except perhaps at a life cycle function such as a wedding. Take for example The Ritz-Carlton in Sarasota, Florida, a stunning, 266-room luxury property. When opened in 2001, it featured a traditional …

lmaadminPutting on the Ritz in the Kitchen
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Building Your Hotelerati, or Promoting Your Hotel Personalities

People buy from other people, not from corporations. This mantra – or any other version of it – has existed for almost as long as the craft of salesmanship itself. And it makes sense, too. We build rapport far easier in person than over the phone or via the internet. Furthermore, human beings are genetically programmed to constantly read faces and facial expressions as a means of analyzing social cues or forming emotional bonds with the opposite party. We mentally connect with and remember faces much quicker than with objects, places, symbols or words. This makes it hard for companies, which are inherently faceless. It also explains why corporations spend billions of dollars each year in advertising to try to develop a ‘face’ that people will recognize. More recently, particularly with regard to the widespread adoption of social media, companies have started to promote select employees to publicly, and often …

lmaadminBuilding Your Hotelerati, or Promoting Your Hotel Personalities
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Five-Step Recipe for F&B Success at Le Chateau Frontenac

Fairmont Le Chateau 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 in fact the entire Quebecois population. This is no small order! Add to this the task of realigning the entire F&B 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 Chef Peupion explains, “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 …

lmaadminFive-Step Recipe for F&B Success at Le Chateau Frontenac
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In Vino Veritas Part XXXV: Eastern European Wines

When we picture vineyards in our minds, your first thoughts are probably going to be along the lines of bucolic, sun-baked hills beset against a lush Mediterranean climate. Even though it was in these lands where grapes were first domesticated and where most of the world’s produce still originates, let’s not discount the ingenuity occurring in small pockets across the globe that is allowing for some rather tasty bottles to emerge. While some people may consider Austria and Greece as a part of Eastern Europe, I’ve already covered those two nations in previous articles. This entry concerns Hungry, Romania, Bulgaria and, to a certain extent, the Balkans, all with quintessentially continental climates. That’s quite a bit of territory to cover, but as your guests are concerned, you only need a cursory knowledge base of the region, largely because many of the names are unusual and thus intimidating to the average …

lmaadminIn Vino Veritas Part XXXV: Eastern European Wines
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Father’s Day All Summer Long

As the third in the triune of hallmark holidays which also includes Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day, Father’s Day is easiest the most subdued and the least elaborate. Catering to its audience, most themed events or promotions are linked to popular summer activities and shared family experiences. This year should be especially fitting as it almost aligns with the summer solstice, which means the most heat and the most sun for outdoor adventures. (It also means that technically the number of hours of daylight are in decline from here out, but don’t let that depress you; we still have plenty of summer left to come.) Given that we’re discussing Father’s Day two days beforehand, it’s a tad late to start brainstorming ideas and putting promotions together from scratch, even for only a few last minute sales. What we can do, however, is attempt to fully explore the question of ‘What …

lmaadminFather’s Day All Summer Long
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The Four Horsemen of the Hotel Apocalypse

We survived Y2K. We outlived the end of the Mayan calendar. But are you ready for the total annihilation of everything your property holds sacred? These four ever-present issues are what I see have the four largest problems that we hoteliers will need to confront within the next decade. As I present the hypothetical ‘Four Horsemen of the Hotel Apocalypse’, let’s keep in mind that not only has the idea of the biblical four horsemen changed over time, but so too will the four main detractors to our industry’s current practices. PLAGUE (red horse) – The OTAs This one is like beating a dead horse. Nothing better represents a constant pestilence on the state of affairs in our industry as the damage the OTAs have done to warp consumer behavior. Much like a virus or airborne pathogen that weakens its host, by all but forcing customers to use their high …

lmaadminThe Four Horsemen of the Hotel Apocalypse
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Brooklynize Your Property

We live in an era of buzz phrases and neologisms to represent just about anything the human mind can imagine. More specific to hotels, we are also living in an age of embracing the ‘local authentic experience’ and all that that infers. Combine these two ideas and we arrive at the word ‘Brooklynization’ which has recently been making waves in the more erudite presses. This catch-all can mean a lot of different things depending on the context, so let’s make sure we are on the same page with regard to its meaning for hospitality. To start, why Brooklyn? It’s less about the historical relevance of this two-and-a-half-million-strong borough and more about what it stands in the shadow of – Manhattan. With the nearby island as an archetypical representation of capitalism, corporate imperialism and unchecked greed, Brooklyn has sought to be the exact opposite with a focus on small-batch production, artisanal …

lmaadminBrooklynize Your Property
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So You’ve Hired an Intern, Now What?

Interns are far more than just temporary recruits brought aboard to finish all the menial jobs piling up around the office. In many cases, there are laws preventing this kind of treatment – the sorts of laws stipulating that interns must complete ‘meaningful labor’ and that’s inscribed by that terminology. Recently, I was approached by an eager hotelier looking to get the most of her shiny new summer intern fresh from a premier university. This hotelier was in essence seeking a road map to help direct her own efforts in guiding the intern on a path of meaningful labor. After some deliberation, I gave her eight questions to aid in her treatment of this intern. Given that summer is upon us, these are seven that I will share with you as well. 1. Do you have an overall plan for the intern? In other words, what do you hope the …

lmaadminSo You’ve Hired an Intern, Now What?