The Official Magazine of the World Class Beverage Program
E.&J. GalloWinery Celebrating 80 years as an industry leader and innovator, legendary winemaker E. & J. Gallo is showing no signs of stopping.
Talking F&B with Francie Schulwolf The Vice President of Corporate Communications for the Americas shares about her passion for healthy eating and the role of food and beverage in media relations.
In This Issue
Talking F&B With Francie Schulwolf
World Class Beverage Program Supplier Profile: E. & J. Gallo
Coca-Cola: Engaging In Healthy Conversation
Making Food Safety A Top Priority
Keeping Beverage Offerings Fresh
Owner Profile: Holiday Inn Express St. Hyacinthe, Quebec
Crowne Plaza Old Town Alexandria, Virginia
Chef Profile: Didier Lailheugue of The InterContinental Buckhead
Winter Promotion: Hotel Indigo
Working the ‘T’ Americas President Kirk Kinsell often speaks about the importance of doing the “T.” Only through teamwork, by reaching out across disciplines and departments and “having each other’s backs” will we be able to achieve breakthrough results, he urges us. Food and beverage has a unique opportunity to lead in making the “T” a best practice. By its very nature, F&B touches most every function within our hotels and connects people through eating, drinking and being social. We can help take Team to a whole new level that includes creating Trust, making Time for communicating face-to-face, rewarding Tenacity in our performance and demanding zero-Tolerance for anything but excellence. Let’s build some bridges and have some fun!
Jean-Pierre Etcheberrigaray Vice President, Food & Beverage, Americas InterContinental Hotels Group
If you go to lunch or dinner with Francie Schulwolf, you can be sure of two things: both the food and ambience will be interesting, and the menu will include a generous number of light, healthy choices. In a recent interview, we asked the Vice President of Corporate Communications for the Americas about her F&B preferences, including her many favorite restaurants and her one viceâ€”an abiding love of the diet soft drink TaB.
Any foodservice experience in your background? “Yes—in a way. My father owned a food brokering business in my hometown of Montgomery, Alabama, which represented various packaged goods companies such as American Home Foods, Del Monte and Sweet ‘N Low to retail grocery stores. In high school and for one year of college, I had a summer job ensuring we had product on-shelf, with the proper facings at the right price. I traveled from Wetumpka to Birmingham, Alabama, calling on Piggly Wiggly, WinnDixie and Super Foods Grocery stores across the state. Truly an experience I will never forget! “In college I worked for a while as a bartender and realized just how difficult it was to mix cocktails. Fortunately, the crowd was made up more of beer than martini drinkers. My friends had a lot of fun ordering complicated drinks and watching me try to figure our how to make them. At least the tips were good! My professional career has been in advertising, brand marketing and communications, not F&B.”
What does a great dining experience look like? “Great service, first of all, with excellent food almost as important. My big priority is healthy cuisine, so the menu should provide a good selection of items that are interesting as well as healthy, things you can’t find just anywhere. The ambience should offer a mix of flavor and fun—you should actually be able to hear your conversations, relax and enjoy a good bottle of wine and the company of the people you are with.”
What’s your favorite food? “Sushi...it’s truly an art form and not something you can easily make yourself. I enjoy the experience as much as the food. There’s always an opportunity to try something new, and it makes for great conversation and fun with your friends.”
Carolina Black Risotto with Asiago Cheese and Shrimp from Southern Art at InterContinental Buckhead
How about your favorite beverage? “I’m famous for my love of TaB—it’s one of those brands that has a very loyal following. It might not be the soft drink for the masses, but for TaB enthusiasts, it is truly a great brand. When you see someone drinking it, you have an instant connection, and everyone has their TaB story, kind of like with Holiday Inn. As for alcoholic beverages, my preference is Dewar’s and water—definitely an acquired taste.”
Favorite restaurant? “Koi, a Japanese-style restaurant near Bryant Park in New York City, is one of my favorites. It’s sophisticated but not stuffy. Cod is their specialty, and of course, their sushi is amazing. I try to grab dinner there at least twice a year. “In Atlanta, I like The Optimist Fish Camp & Oyster Bar and the West Egg Café, both on Howell Mill in the West End. The West Egg has the best black bean burger in town. One of my lunch favorites is Cafe Sunflower, a vegetarian restaurant in Sandy Springs.”
Any recent standout meals at an IHG property? “I always love the food at Southern Art at the InterContinental Buckhead. When I was there for lunch as part of the grand opening press event, I had their Carolina Black Rice Risotto with Asiago Cheese. It was fantastic!”
Any F&B “pet peeves?” “Disingenuous service is my pet peeve. You have to have a passion for what you do and the service you provide. It’s obvious when someone has been trained on process versus service. Having a server who takes great pride in the job and is willing to go the extra mile to delight and surprise can make a dining experience for me. People are not a commodity and are truly the defining factor in what makes an excellent restaurant.”
1773 Sushi Roll & Signature Jalapeño Margarita from Sushi-Teq at InterContinental Boston
C o r p o r ate C o m m u n i c at i o n s
Taking a 360ºApproach Americas Communications is organized for effective information delivery to internal stakeholders—corporate and hotel employees and owners—as well as to the business, trade and consumer media. “We work to ensure IHG is viewed positively by multiple key groups, both inside and outside the company,” says Francie Schulwolf, Vice President of Corporate Communications, Americas. “Employees always get top priority with regard to news about major changes and in celebrating our wins. Our Corporate Communications Internal team addresses this area, as well as owner and hotel communications.”
Do you cook yourself at home, and if so, what are your specialties? “I do cook, but it’s not gourmet. My best dish is probably my veggie stir fry with tofu— sounds awful, but it’s delicious. I also make a good miso soup, and we eat a lot of homemade pizzas. Our family specialty is salmon smoked in the Green Egg. We use Tony Chachere’s Famous Creole Cuisine seasoning, which is one of the companies my father used to represent. It’s been around for a long time and is great on everything!”
What role does food and beverage play in positioning and promoting IHG brands in the media? “It’s extremely important. Guests want more than a clean room and a great night’s sleep. They are looking for a place where what’s happening outside the room is as important as the room itself. Food and beverage is key to making those common areas such as the lobby, bar and restaurant more appealing. We have to stay current with our F&B offerings, whether it’s a grab-and-go meal at a Holiday Inn hotel or a gourmet dining experience at an InterContinental Resort. We must win in this area to stay ahead and beat the competition. “From a public relations and social media perspective, food and beverage is a great human interest story. Everyone wants to be in the know about the latest restaurant craze and what’s new and different on the bar scene. Great ideas like the Canine Cocktail Hour at Atlanta’s Hotel Indigo—where neighbors and guests are invited to bring their dogs and have a drink on the patio—provides us a great opportunity to tell the Hotel Indigo story in an interesting, distinctive way that differentiates our brand from others. I think we’ll see some great advancement in this area over the next few years with all of our brands. It’s essential that we get this right in order to deliver Great Hotels Guests Love.”
Corporate Communications focuses on positioning IHG in the business-to-business realm of financial and industry news coverage, she notes. The Brand Communications teams drive awareness and strengthen the brands’ reputation with the general public. The Meetings & Events group organizes functions across all areas, from major undertakings such as the Americas Investors Conference to small meetings like the Board of Directors. Reputation and crisis management skills are a must, Francie says. Communications deals with as many as 80 potential media crises each year, from hurricanes and fires to implications stemming from various company business moves. “Every team member has to be good at strategic thinking and working across the organization, particularly in a crisis situation where the reputation of our brands or the entire company may be at risk,” she says.
Natasha Gullett, Director
Gwen Trahan, Administrative Assistant
Monica Smith, PR Manager, US Sales & Marketing
Jennifer Dempsey, Director (Internal)
Lindsay Cameron, PR Specialist, US Sales & Marketing, InterContinental Alliance Resorts, Holiday Inn Resorts, Holiday Inn Club Vacations
Brannon Smith, Manager/Channels
Kristal McKanders, PR Manager, Upscale/InterContinental
Sherry Telford, Manager
Caroline Huston, PR Manager, Upscale/Crowne Plaza, Hotel Indigo
MEETINGS & EVENTS
Sarah-Ann Soffer, PR Manager, Midscale/Holiday Inn, Holiday Inn Express, EVEN Hotels Mike Adler, Coordinator
Michelle Thernes, Manager
Pamela Sabin, Specialist Suzette Meade, Director (External)
Bill Burton, Vice President Celeste Edwards, Manager Annette Reynolds, Specialist
rand-builders. Innovators. Visionaries. E. & J. Gallo Winery is marking 80 years of leadership in the American wine industry in 2013 with the same level of energy and inventiveness that led brothers Ernest and Julio Gallo to develop the modern U.S. wine market back in 1933 in postProhibition Modesto, California. Today E. & J. Gallo Winery is the largest winery in the world, still privately held and family-owned, with 14 members of the Gallo family, spanning four generations, actively working in the business. The company employs more than 5,000 people worldwide and offers a broad portfolio that includes 60 brands, more than a dozen of which are imported from leading wine-producing countries, including Argentina, Australia, Germany, Italy, New Zealand and Spain. The company is also the largest exporter of California wine, with products available in more than 90 countries. Fourteen Gallo products, from regions across the world, are included in the World Class Beverage Program, ranging from New Zealand Whitehaven Sauvignon Blanc to MacMurray Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.
E.&J. Gallo Winery:
In Sync Customer with the
Out in Front of Trends The enduring success of the company makes it clear that E. & J. Gallo knows how to relate to its consumers on a long-term basis. “People’s interests in wine evolve over time, and we are constantly working to anticipate their preferences and adapt to them quickly,” says Larry Sturcken, Managing Director of National Accounts for E. & J. Gallo. “We take great care to give our consumers what they want through our portfolio of quality wines and to make them available at a great value.” One example of the company’s responsiveness was its development and positioning of Moscato and Red Blend wines, two newly popular categories with a somewhat sweeter profile that have driven a considerable amount of business in the domestic wine industry over the past three years. Gallo’s Barefoot Cellars produces the top-selling Moscato wine in the United States; its Apothic Red Blend is an appealing combination of Zinfandel, Merlot and Syrah that has taken consumers by storm in the growing blends segment. “One of the unique things about winemaking is that it’s an agricultural business,” Larry notes. “You can’t make up your mind one day to offer a Moscato wine and have it on shelves in a couple of months. You must plan carefully, from a vineyard, winemaking and supply chain standpoint. To capitalize on an emerging trend, you must source and plant the right grapes several years in advance.” Here Gallo holds an advantage as well by owning nine wineries in California and Washington and more than 16,000 acres of vineyards. The company also maintains long-term contracts with growers around the world, expanding the ability to obtain high-quality fruit for its winemaking needs.
MacMurray Ranch Vineyards in California’s Russian River Valley is one of Gallo’s holdings.
Perfect Price Points Larry adds that Gallo believes the wine market still has considerable room to grow, especially in the U.S., where per capita consumption is much lower than in France or Italy, for example. The company strives to develop wines that appeal from multiple perspectives—labeling and packaging, marketing and delivery, and price point. Gallo has shown itself to be as masterful at enhancing and repositioning brands as it is in creating them, as evidenced by the turnaround of such once-prestigious brands as Mirassou and the Louis M. Martini Winery in the Napa Valley. “Our objective, whether we’re developing or repositioning a brand, is to start with what the consumer wants, layer on industry trends and then look for a price point not currently occupied by another brand,” Larry says. “That leads us to create brands with great value that ‘drink above their price point.’ We’re proud of that.”
Building Trust As E. & J. Gallo turns to the future, its management continues to keep an eye on the longer-term horizon. According to Larry, the Gallo family is passionate about sustainability and intends to farm their land for many years to come. Commitment to the environment permeates the culture: Gallo is a longtime leader in adoption of eco-friendly agricultural practices and even operates a recycling facility that turns one-third of California’s disposed glass into Gallo wine bottles. Recently the company has set its sights on becoming an overall beverage business, moving beyond the realm of wine to introduce several new spirits brands: Familia Camarena Tequila, developed in partnership with a family-owned business in Mexico, Shellback Caribbean Rum and New Amsterdam Vodka and Gin. “We plan to stay focused on producing high-quality products that are interesting, appealing and enjoyable, and that will continue to build our consumers’ trust in us,” Larry says. “They know that with our brands, they will get a great wine or spirit that perfectly meets their needs.” 7
C r ow n e P la z a O ld T ow n A le x a n d r i a :
Offering a FreshTake
on the Pub Concept W
hat’s in a name? For the food and beverage program at the Crowne Plaza Old Town in Alexandria, Virginia...everything.
Start with the moniker of the restaurant/bar: the Railstop Gastropub. With a nod to the train tracks located just behind the hotel, the “gastropub” term telegraphs to guests and would-be local area patrons alike that this establishment takes both its beer and its food seriously.
“Our hotel is located approximately eight blocks off the beaten path of Alexandria’s main tourist area,” says John Severino, Area General Manager with responsibility for both the Crowne Plaza and its nearby sister Holiday Inn hotel. “However, we are surrounded by high-end condos, and Alexandria ranks fourth in the country for concentration of professional and trade associations—thanks to our proximity to Washington, 8
D.C.—many of which are headquartered near us. As a result, the Gastropub draws a considerable amount of local traffic. And, our guests absolutely love the atmosphere!” That atmosphere is part-English public house, part-railway station, featuring a warm color scheme, polished wooden bar and fixtures and chocolate-brown leather chairs and stools. Names also come into play in the décor: Gastropub regulars are fond of the quotations extolling the virtues of drinking beer—positioned on chalk boards above the bar—from famous individuals, ranging from Abraham Lincoln and many of the Founding Fathers to Winston Churchill and Kaiser Wilhelm.
Listed Among The Best The Gastropub delivers on its name when it comes to provisions as well. The six draft beers offered are all well-respected, locally hand-crafted brews. A cleverly themed menu developed by Executive Chef Mark Henry elevates traditional “pub grub” to
The Gastropub’s decor evokes the warmth of a classic English pub.
inventive new heights, with unexpected, irresistible dishes such as Fried Potato Salad and the everything-in-it Hangover Burger. “Mark is phenomenal and has played a huge role in the success of the Gastropub,” says John. “He’s able to pull off creative combinations and approaches that result in meals our guests talk about and remember.” The Gastropub’s effective mix of comfortable ambience, superior beers and unusual cuisine have earned inclusion in a new coffee table book, The Great Gastropubs of America, set to publish in May of this year.
Partnering For Events The Crowne Plaza has an additional F&B outlet on the secondfloor. Chequers Restaurant serves a bountiful daily breakfast buffet, as well as a la carte service. Popular year-round with corporate customers, Chequers is flooded with leisure guests
Executive Chef Mark Henry
during the D.C. area’s high tourist season, from April through June. The hotel regularly hosts tour groups, John notes, with a healthy percentage of international visitors, particularly from Great Britain and New Zealand. The property also handles a steady stream of corporate and social events in its 12,000 square feet of function space. “The Holiday Inn Old Town has another 14,000 square feet, and the two hotels are sold by a single sales team,” John says. “Between the two, we can accommodate the needs of almost any group.”
Coupling Concept with Service While the unique Gastropub concept allows the hotel to stand out from area competition, John says the real secret to the Crowne Plaza’s F&B success is its people. “We have a very good team here at the hotel who are dedicated to taking care of our guests, making sure their experiences with us are excellent and generally ensuring we are delivering on Great Hotels Guests Love.”
Area General Manager John Severino
With A New Global Advertising Campaign Targeting Obesity in America, The Coca-Cola Company Is
the issue of this Generation... more than one-third of adults in the United States are obese, and almost 17 percent of the country’s children and adolescents fall into the category. What’s more, the percentages have been climbing dramatically over the past two decades.
Now one of the world’s leading companies is raising the stakes in the battle to find meaningful solutions to the complex challenge of obesity. World Class Beverage Program partner The Coca-Cola Company is reinforcing its efforts to work together with American communities, business and government leaders to address the problem. At the forefront of this initiative is a major global advertising campaign showcasing the many activities Coca-Cola has under way to help fight obesity. Though normally reticent about promoting its own service programs and the support it provides to numerous others, the company is putting its good works in the spotlight in the interest of raising awareness on this subject. “The Coca-Cola Company has an important role in this fight, and in the ongoing conversation for making healthier lifestyle choices,” says Stuart Kronauge, General Manager, Sparkling Beverages, Coca-Cola North America. “This is about the health and happiness of everyone who buys our products and wants great10
tasting beverages, choice and information. We’re committed to bring people together to overcome obesity, and together with willing partners, we’ll succeed.”
Burning Off The Calories The campaign kicked off in mid-January with a twominute television commercial titled “Coming Together” that aired on national cable news. The video encourages viewers to be mindful that every calorie counts in weightmanagement efforts, including those in Coca-Cola products and in all foods and beverages. A second spot, called “Be Ok,” debuted a few days later on American Idol. “The purpose of the television spots is to highlight some of the specifics behind Coca-Cola’s ongoing commitment to deliver more beverage choices, including no- and low-calorie options, and to clearly communicate the calorie content of all its products,” says Stuart. “‘Be OK’ makes it perfectly clear right up front that a can of Coca-Cola has 140 calories. This spot also encourages people to have some fun burning those calories off.”
Programs, Policies and Products In addition to the new advertising, Coca-Cola will later introduce new efforts to help support and promote physical activity initiatives in local communities. The company already fields a robust array of
To view the “Coming Together” commercial, visit www.coca-colacompany.com and click on Videos.
In the U.S., Coca-Cola offers more than 180 no- or low-calorie beverages. programs. A few examples include: Coca-Cola Troops for Fitness, a program that taps returning military veterans to teach fitness classes and nutritional techniques to families in communities most in need of wellness services; America Is Your Park, a collaboration with the National Park Foundation that encourages citizens to enjoy and vote for their favorite park, with the winning park receiving a $100,000 recreation grant, and Triple Play, a joint program with Boys & Girls Clubs of America that encourages kids to eat a balanced diet, become more physically active and increase their ability to engage in healthy relationships. The company also adheres to and supports school and marketplace policies that encourage physical activity and promote nutritional education, such as refraining from advertising to children under 12,
introducing front-of-pack calorie labeling for nearly all of its products and working to increase the availability of no- and low-calorie beverages in vending machines. Finally, Coca-Cola is continuing its commitment to provide a variety of products to help consumers manage their calories, including more than 180 no- and low-calorie beverages in the U.S. and Canada and 7.5-ounce mini-cans for many of its full-calorie beverages, such as Coca-Cola®. “Overcoming obesity will require work from all of us,” Stuart says. “If we are to reach the goal of Americans achieving a happy, healthy and active future, we all will have to dedicate ourselves to move forward together.”
The ‘Be Ok’ television commercial encourages viewers to have fun burning off calories.
We continue our series celebrating leading IHG Executive Chefs in the Americas
Lailheugue of the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta
CULTIVATING TALENT & TEAMWORK
Roasted Beet Salad with Alabama Goat Cheese Panacotta and Rosemary Infused Honey
best, most effective executive chefs not only are superior cooks—they also know how to build a skilled, motivated kitchen and banquet team. Didier Lailheugue is one such executive chef. Throughout his 22-year career, he has honed his natural leadership abilities right along with his culinary talents.
“To be a good chef, you have to be passionate and love what you do,” says Didier, who has been Executive Chef at the InterContinental Buckhead since 2009. “I love to cook, and I love teaching and managing people.” Didier’s training approach has been influenced by a series of culinary teachers, beginning with his parents and grandparents when he was growing up in southwestern France. Putting fresh, delicious food on the table was a family priority in which he willingly participated. Didier decided to become a chef, and after graduating from culinary school, he served in the French military, held foodservice roles in diplomatic service and then took a series of cooking jobs that included positions with Michelin two- and three-star restaurants in Paris and Monaco, training under such culinary masters as Patrick Henriroux and Alain Ducasse. He then began a seven-year stint with the Relais & Châteaux hotel/restaurant group, taking on his first executive chef role at a new hotel property in South Africa. Foodservice
experience was scarce in the market, and Didier had to recruit and train a team of 15 unskilled individuals. Within a year, the hotel’s restaurant was named one of the five best in the country. He led the culinary teams at properties in the Dutch West Indies and Bora Bora before joining the InterContinental Mexico City in 2005 as executive chef of Au Pied de Cochon restaurant. He was executive chef of the free-standing Au Pied de Cochon in Miami before stepping into his current role. “Once I became an executive chef, my goal was to work for one of the world’s great hotel companies. Joining InterContinental Hotels was a dream come true,” he says. Didier’s culinary track record, including winning numerous competitions, led to his being named a Master Chef of France (Maître Cuisinier de France) in 2012, making him one of an elite group of 300 of the best French chefs in the world. His philosophy, and the core of instruction to his team, includes firm adherence to using quality ingredients and simple techniques that allow the natural flavors of a dish to shine through. The approach, coupled with ongoing training, has noticeably elevated the quality of the banquet and catering product at the InterContinental Buckhead. “I’m proud of my team. We have been cooking together for the past four years, so there’s lots of stability,” he says. “I try to be clear on my expectations and then trust them. It’s also important to listen—I realize I’m not the only one who has good ideas.”
“Didier is a real team player and the backbone of our food and beverage department. You can always count on him to help his team members learn and grow. His experience with both stand-alone restaurants and hotels brings a fresh perspective to our banquets and culinary events that’s helped build a strong reputation for the hotel within the Atlanta community for superior food and service. As a result, we are able to get the top catering clients in the city.”
Salade Niçoise with Black Olive Mille Feuille
—Jason Deville, Food & Beverage Director, InterContinental Buckhead
Hudson Valley Foie Gras with Fig Chutney on Toasted Brioche
he 2013 edition of the World Class Beverage Program is introducing new partners, new products and new countries to the lineup offered at company-owned and -managed full-service IHG hotels.
“We review the program requirements each year to ensure the needs of the hotels are being met and that we are staying current with consumer beverage trends,” says Pamela Tweedell, Senior Account Manager for iMi Agency, which manages the World Class Beverage Program for IHG. “The major changes to the program for 2013 are in the wine category, reflecting a widening of preferences on the part of guests.” While complete details and product slicks will be provided to hotels later this month, here are the highlights:
Adding wine from Spain—Marqués de Riscal Tempranillo, a full-bodied red from Spain that is part of the Shaw-Ross portfolio, is now part of the program for InterContinental, Crowne Plaza and Hotel Indigo hotels. “We try to be mindful of having the major wineproducing countries represented in the program, so adding Spanish wine is an important move,” Pamela notes.
Prosecco for the house—House sparkling wines in the program have been replaced with Prosecco, for all brands. Villa Sandi Il Fresco, from the Folio collection, is a dry, fresh, flavorful Italian sparkling wine with a fruity, harmonious aftertaste. Some of the brands will continue to offer a house champagne, Pamela says.
Riding the crest of the cider wave—Industry sales of hard cider have skyrocketed over the past two years, and the World Class Beverage Program offerings have been expanded to include this hot new category. Crispin Miller Cider will be added to the program for all brands. 14
Welcoming new partners—In addition to Crispin Miller (Minneapolis-based Crispin Cider was recently acquired by Miller Coors), three other new beverage partners are joining the program: Napa Valley’s Duckhorn Vineyards; Francis Ford Coppola Winery, based in Geyserville, California, and Portón, manufacturers of pisco, a grape-based white spirit from Peru. “We continue to seek exciting and appropriate new products, promotions and training for the World Class Beverage Program,” Pamela says. “We’re looking forward to implementing the new elements of the Program and appreciate the ongoing support from all of the suppliers as well as the hotels.”
MAKING FOOD SAFETY
A TOP PRIORITY S
afe, immaculate kitchens are the foundation of any successful food and beverage program. That’s why IHG Food and Beverage maintains an ongoing partnership with The Steritech Group, Inc., the leading provider of food safety and quality assurance services in North America, to help protect the integrity of the company’s full-service brands from a food safety perspective. Steritech conducts an unannounced, annual audit of each hotel’s foodservice environment and practices, based on the USDA food code, checking for everything from the proper internal temperature of refrigerated foods to ensuring that employee eating and drinking are restricted to nonfood areas. The audit results are used to create individual hotel action plans to address any critical (potentially hazardous to guests) and non-critical deficiencies observed. Hotels that do not pass are re-audited within 30 to 45 days and then reevaluated. Now in its eighth year, the audit program is designed to promote continuous improvement, according to Scott Chapman, Project Manager, IHG Food and Beverage. “The action plans, along with
Areas To Watch Scott notes that results from the 2012 Steritech audit assessments surfaced several areas where hotels need to be particularly vigilant with regard to hygiene and safety procedures. These include: • Ensuring employees consistently demonstrate proper hand-washing, and that there is a designated area solely for this purpose. • Continuous rigor with regard to proper cleaning and sanitizing of food contact surfaces, utensils and equipment. • Maintaining proper food storage practices (for example, ensuring that uncooked proteins like meat or fish are not stored above ready-to-eat items, such as produce). • Carefully monitoring date-marking to ensure food items are not held or sold past their expiration dates.
hotel success stories, are housed on a secure website. F&B directors can use this online tool to manage their action items and elevate the level of food safety at their properties.” Steritech also offers online training that is an important part of the IHG food safety program. Hotel foodservice management team members are required to successfully complete a ServSafe Manager’s course, and properties are encouraged to have their kitchen employees, stewards and food handlers complete the ServSafe Food Handler course. IHG has negotiated attractive discounts for both classes, Scott notes. “We continue to fine-tune the process to ensure our approach to food safety, cleanliness and regulations is thorough and results in an impeccable F&B environment,” he says. “This supports our ability to provide an exceptional experience to our guests.” For information about Steritech training, visit IHGMerlin Team Spaces/ Risk Management eLearning. For questions about the food safety audit process, contact Scott at firstname.lastname@example.org or 770.604.8035.
Top Performers of 2012 Here are the highest-scoring hotels for each full-service IHG brand on the 2012 Steritech food safety audits. Congratulations to these high achievers! • InterContinental Chicago, Illinois • Crowne Plaza Los Angeles Airport, California • Hotel Indigo Chicago Claridge, Illinois • Holiday Inn San Francisco Civic Center, California • Staybridge Suites Lake Buena Vista, Florida
GROUPE ROBIN IS LEADING THE WAY IN CANADA TOWARD MAKING HOTEL OPERATIONS
A Sustainable Proposition
hen Nellie Robin looks at her family’s Holiday Inn Express & Suites in Saint-Hyacinthe, Québec, she sees the future.
Situated in southwestern Québec between Montréal and Québec City, the three-year-old, 94-room hotel is sleek, contemporary—and much more than meets the eye. The property is also the first LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified hotel in Canada, and the initial foray into the world of green construction and operation for its ownership, the Saint-Hyacinthe-based Groupe Robin. The 40-year-old family business develops and operates residential and commercial properties, including retirement homes, with Nellie’s father directing development, her brother overseeing construction and Nellie responsible for management. The Holiday Inn Express is their first hotel. 16
“Our decision to build a green hotel came directly from our personal and company values,” says Nellie. “We like to take a long-term view with our projects, and that often means doing things differently. My brother and I both have young children, and we wanted to invest in an approach that would be better for the future of their generation. So going green was a must.” Building costs were higher than for a non-green property, she notes. Some LEED-specified materials were hard to find as well as expensive. “The balance comes in the reduction in waste from operations. Since opening, we have saved substantially on electric, gas and water expenses, as well as taxes.”
Smart Technology and Green Habits Sustainable aspects of the hotel range from construction and systems to practices and procedures. The roof is white, to minimize heat absorption, and the building’s primarily wooden
Groupe Robin Vice President Nellie Robin
structure will continue to become more air-tight and energyefficient as the wood cures over time. Elevators are hydraulic. Intelligent technology built into the hotel’s walls heats waste water which in turn is used to facilitate faster heating of incoming water. A smart power system monitors and balances the electrical output throughout the property to keep usage within a specific kilowatt range, allowing for savings as well as tighter energy cost budgeting. In the Express Start Breakfast Bar area, guests eat from ceramic bowls and plates that are washed in a small, efficient, short-cycle dishwasher. To-go coffee cups, dishes and boxes are made from 100-percent compost-recyclable material, and disposable utensils are corn-based, designed to break down in a landfill within about three weeks. Milk is provided in a closed pitcher rather than small individual cartons, so guests use only as much as they need. “We’re out to create a state of mind and raise consciousness about our sustainability efforts,” says General Manager Kristopher Wekarchuk, who joined the hotel a year ago. “Guest rooms and public areas are organized to make it easy and natural for our guests to form new, ‘greener’ habits during their stays with us.”
The Breakfast Bar area incorporates recycling practices and green expendable items.
One simple but effective example: Kristopher and his team placed attractive photo decals on the the trio of trash, compost and recycle bins in the breakfast area, depicting exactly what items should be placed in which bins. “People weren’t clear about what goes where, and we wanted to educate them,” Kristopher says. “The guests have responded positively. Proper usage of the bins has increased significantly in the eight months since we put the visual helpers in place, eliminating a lot of waste.”
Choices Favoring the Future Additional green projects are on the drawing board for Groupe Robin, Nellie says. Groundbreaking is scheduled for April on a second Holiday Inn Express in nearby Vaudreul, which will also be LEED-certified. The company will also be moving its headquarters to a new six-story office tower it has under construction in SaintHyacinthe that will feature such innovations as wind turbines, solar panels and indoor, energy-saving vegetation. “We continue to try to make the right choices, and we are dedicated to the green initiative,” Nellie says. “We are also proud to be part of the hotel industry. It’s a wonderful business that we respect and enjoy because of the high level of commitment to service and quality for the customer.” 17
StayingWarm this In
the midst of the mid-winter doldrums, there’s nothing like a delicious hint of citrus to awaken the senses and remind us that warmer weather is not so very far away.
That’s the thinking behind the Hotel Indigo first-quarter promotion, a collaboration with World Class Beverage Program partner Constellation Brands, Inc., that features two shining stars from the company’s portfolio as a pair of “Cozy Cocktails.” For wine-lovers, Kim Crawford Marlborough Unoaked Chardonnay is a crisp, approachable, 100-percent Chardonnay from New Zealand that blends the succulence and citrus characters of peach, grapefruit and pineapple with the sweet smoothness of butterscotch. The wine pairs well with seafood, delicate white meats and creamy pasta dishes. On the spirits side, Constellation’s ever-popular SVEDKA vodka is the foundation of the delicious Basil Remedy, which also includes fresh basil, orange and a hint of spice. Imported from Sweden, SVEDKA is a premium vodka that is distilled five times from Swedish winter wheat. It’s perhaps best known, however, for its innovative and award-winning futuristic marketing campaign featuring the iconic female “bot.”
“We decided to give our winter promotion a citrus twist partly because we wanted it to be a cold weather ‘pick-me-upper’ and partly because this is the time of year when citrus fruit in the U.S. growing regions is at its peak of ripeness and availability,” says Dianna Stoffer, Manager of Food & Beverage Programs for Hotel Indigo. “We wanted to take advantage of both.” The promotion began in January and runs through the end of March. All Hotel Indigo properties in the United States are participating and have received promotional kits that include a How-To Guide and recipe, table tents and coasters. Constellation also created a YouTube video that was distributed to all the participating hotels that features a mixologist showing how to make the cocktails—a first for the training program for Hotel Indigo. For more information on the Hotel Indigo first-quarter promotion, contact Dianna Stoffer at email@example.com or 770.604.2633.
• 1 Fresh Basil Leaf (torn in half) • 1 Orange Coin • 1 Dash of Allspice • 2 oz. SVEDKA Vodka • 0.5 oz. Fresh Lemon Juice • 0.5 oz. Simple Syrup • Splash of Club Soda
Fill a rocks glass with ice. Combine all ingredients except club soda and orange coin in a cocktail shaker. Shake well and pour. Add the splash of club soda and garnish with orange coin.
IHG Culinary Collection Program Wins Cheers Award Collaboration was the key to a winning entry for IHG in the prestigious 2013 Cheers Beverage Excellence Awards, which were presented at the Cheers Beverage Conference February 12-13 in Dallas.
The results of the promotion were compelling: case wine purchases of house wines increased 75 percent year-over-year in the first 12 months of the program (2011 versus 2010) with only a slight decrease in 2012.
“We’re pleased to have our Stone Cellars Culinary Collection program recognized with this Cheers award. Too often the culinary importance of beverage programs goes unrecognized,” says Jean-Pierre The promotion features the World Class Beverage Program house Etcheberrigaray, Vice President, wines for the InterContinental and Crowne Plaza brands, which are Food & Beverage. “While most selections from the Culinary Collection of Stone Cellars by Beringer. companies give only a passing IHG teamed with Beringer’s parent, Treasury Wine Estates, to nod to their build the promotion around pairings of the Stone Cellars selections house wines, IHG with delectable dishes developed by the IHG Culinary Committee, elected to make comprised of some of the company’s most outstanding chefs. In these the center of a addition to creating the dishes for the promotion, the Committee successful promotion was actively involved in choosing the specific Culinary Collection for two of our upscale wines to be designated as the brands’ house selections. brands. The offering affirms the wisdom of The suggested pairings are featured in the promotional materials the guest’s decision provided to each hotel, including beautifully photographed posters, to order the house in-room recipe cards and customizable concierge/chef invitation wine. At the same cards promoting sampling events at the hotel. The chefs at each time, it highlights and participating property were also encouraged to showcase their celebrates the ‘perfect own best local matches of dishes with the house wines. match’ between our The hotels were invited to be creative in promoting the chef-selected house program, including using social media. Several properties wines and the best of promoted “invitation only” sampling events through Facebook, InterContinental and supplemented by an aggressive Twitter campaign. Crowne Plaza cuisine.” The Stone Cellars Culinary Collection wine promotion at InterContinental Hotels and Crowne Plaza Hotels in North America took the honors in a new hotel/restaurant chain category: Best Synergy Between Bar and Kitchen. Entries in all categories were judged on creativity, originality, impact on sales and profitability.
Training efforts included a “Crushed Grape Tour,” conducted by representatives of IHG’s World Class Beverage Program and Treasury Wine Estates, who visited 14 IHG properties in seven major markets. At each stop, the team met with F&B Directors and outlet managers and trained the serving staff on the Culinary Collection and general wine knowledge. 19
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