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Volume 10 | Issue 1 |February 2018 | `50








Vinita Bhatia

Rashmi Naicker

What defines a great restaurant in a hotel? According to Bart Buiring, chief operations services officer, Asia Pacific of Marriott International, it is an F&B outlet with a great vibe, which also happens to be in the neighbourhood establishment. In his opinion, any property that is relevant to the local community within a couple of kilometers radius is doing a really good job. In our cover story this issue, which incidentally is focused on the vibrant F&B domain, Buiring tells us how Marriott is concentrating on three things – delivering the best local food; attracting the best talent, and engaging with customers through creative marketing. He also revealed how this year Marriott will identify F&B outlets that need to be refreshed, since all food concepts have a time frame . It will renovate these establishments, working in close partnership with its owners. Read the article to know what Buiring has on his plate! We also have Jean-Michel Cassé, COO, India and South Asia of AccorHotels explain how intuitive technology is making inroads in hotel kitchens – be it in food order, presentation or delivery time. It can be used effectively to overcome the perennial manpower problem to a certain degree. As guests become more fastidious about what’s on the menu, hotels and restaurants are doing their best to create distinctive experiences for even the most discerning customer. We ask some leading chefs to share their insights about emerging trends, as well as topics of interest that will dominate conversations this year. And while chefs work on enthralling guests with their culinary masterpieces, we find out how F&B managers and directors are brainstorming on strategies to generate additional F&B revenue, especially from underutilised spaces at a hotel. They divulge how many properties are reinventing in-room dining to make it more personalised in terms of food preparation and presentation, in a bid to encourage guests to order in often. As you can see, the February edition is a power-packed one. So, grab a cup of coffee, read it at leisure and let us know your opinion about the issue. Until next time!

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Vinita Bhatia Editor

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Published by and © 2018 ITP Media (India) Pvt Ltd RNI no.MAHENG/2009/34648 MIB no. 10/47/2008

ADVISORY BOARD Our distinguished advisory board has been assembled to help guide Hotelier India to become even more representative of its community. Members have been invited from the highest levels of the industry to ensure that the magazine continues on its path of success.












Senior VP, Operations (South) Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris






CMD, Concept Hospitality




SOUVAGYA MOHAPATRA Executive director, Mayfair Hotels & Resorts Limited





Executive chairman, Sarovar Hotels and Resorts

Director, Brigade Hospitality

Deputy MD, The Lemon Tree Hotel Company and Chairman, Carnation Hotels

CEO, Berggruen Hotels

Senior Vice-President, Operations (North), Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris

Founder and CEO, Indian School of Hospitality

CEO, Pride Hotels

Chief executive, ITC Hotels

CEO and MD, Intellistay Hotels

Senior VP, Operations (West) Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris

MD and CEO, Roots Corporation Ltd (Ginger Hotels)

Director, Horwath India

COO-India and South Asia, AccorHotels

CEO, South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group

MD-South Asia, Golden Tulip Hotels & Resorts/Louvre Hotels Group


Founder-chairman, Hotelivate

President, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts

Regional VP, South West Asia, InterContinental Hotels Group

Area VP-South Asia, Marriott International

President - Hospitality, Panchshil Realty

MD and Founder Cygnett Hotels & Resorts














16 6






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The new Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts that will open in Bengaluru.


our Seasons Hotels and Resorts, a luxury hospitality company, and property developer Embassy Group will open a new Four Seasons hotel and private residences later this year in Bengaluru. Located within Embassy ONE, a new mixed-use development featuring commercial office space and premium retail outlets, the new hotel and residences will debut as Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Bengaluru at Embassy ONE in the summer of 2018. The Embassy ONE development is located in northern Bengaluru, which is a short drive to Kempegowda International Airport, business districts, Bengaluru Palace and Cubbon Park, offering business and leisure travellers as well as residents

The Asian brasserie and bar designed by LW Design Group.


Story of the month

of Four Seasons the best that the city has to offer. The hotel will be led by General Manager, Fredrik Blomqvist, a Four Seasons veteran of more than 10 years, who most recently served as the General Manager of Four Seasons Hotel Shanghai. “We are excited to introduce a new luxury experience at Embassy ONE that will soon be a hub of activity. Whether browsing the shops, dining at one of the restaurants, staying with us at the Hotel, or living with us as a private residence owner, there will be something for everyone,” said Jitu Virwani, CMD, Embassy Group. “Through our partnership with Four Seasons, guests and residents can expect the highest levels of personalised service that the brand is known to deliver around the world, and it will be unmatched in Bengaluru, helping to distinguish Embassy ONE as offering the best accommodation and living experience in the city.” “Bengaluru is a very exciting city, in part because of the tremendous progress of industry, technology, research and edu-

cation, with just as much to offer in the way of culture and nightlife,” noted J. Allen Smith, president and CEO, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “It’s attractive to business and leisure travellers, and with a growing population of more than 10 million, is also a significant residential market.” Smith continued, “India is an incredibly important market for us at Four Seasons, and we have been looking for the right opportunity to expand our presence here. This project is the perfect opportunity to do so, in an ideal location and with our visionary partners at Embassy Group, who are deeply involved and committed to the evolution of this city.” The Embassy ONE development consists of three new buildings, with the hotel and private residences located in the North and South Towers, and the third building housing the office and retail space. The 230-room hotel, designed by HKS Architects and Studio u+a, with interiors by Yabu Pushelburg, will be located in the South Tower of the development, with the 105 private residences occupying the upper floors of the South Tower as well as all 30 floors of the North Tower. The hotel will also be host to three dining outlets, in total seating more than 600 people at a 24-hour restaurant, a lobby lounge and bar, and an Asian brasserie and bar designed by LW Design Group. Guests and residents can enjoy a spa and salon, fitness centre, and meeting and event spaces. Landscape architects P Landscape (PLA) will create an outdoor oasis, featuring a pool and waterfall, butterfly garden and ribbon lawn, conveniently located between the North and South Towers, yet quietly secluded from the surrounding city. The property will be the second Four Seasons hotel in India, complementing Four Seasons Hotel Mumbai.




Anil Madhok (center) during the signing of the deal.

Sarovar Hotels & Resorts signs new hotel in Mumbai Sarovar Hotels & Resorts signed a new hotel deal in the Mumbai market. One of the fastest growing hotel chains in India with over 75 operating hotels across 50 destinations in India and Africa, the group has signed an agreement for a 112room hotel, Royal Hometel Suites in Dahisar, a suburb in the city. Owned by Lion Pencils Limited, Royal Hometel Suites is expected to open in 2018. It will offer guests an all-day dining, bar, banquet halls, conference and meeting facilities, swimming pool, and gymnasium. Sarovar Hotels is focused on strategic expansion throughout India and Africa. Some of the expected openings next year include hotels in Raipur, Mahipalpur, Jaisalmer and Lusaka, Zambia.

Mayfair Hotels & Resorts wins award from Odisha CM

Mayfair Hotels & Resorts was recently honoured with the silver award in ‘Large’ category in the ‘Brand of Odisha Pride of India — Corporate Excellence Awards’. This award is an initiative from the Sambad Group to felicitate local business enterprises from Odisha who have created an impact across India. The trophy was presented to Dilip Ray, chairman and managing director of Mayfair Hotels & Resorts. Souvagya Mohapatra, executive director of Mayfair Hotels & Resorts received it on his behalf from Naveen Patnaik, the honourable chief minister of Odisha.




ark Inn by Radisson IP Extension, New Delhi has launched its voice assistantenabled smart hotel rooms. The property features guest rooms with complete automation of service requests and virtual control of TV and lighting fixtures. Six of the hotel's studio rooms have been fitted with Amazon’s AI-powered Echo Dot devices. This allows guests to control light settings, music played in the room, and even the television with simple voice commands. Additionally, they can now request for services such as room cleaning, wake-up calls, laundry, in-room dining, and room check-out by merely speaking to the smart device. Alternately, guests can manage basic room functions and service requests with just a tap of their personal mobile phones; without downloading any apps. Park Inn by Radisson IP Extension, New Delhi claimed that is the first property in the world to provide this app-free solution, with Web RTC technology. Saurav Dutta, general manager, Park Inn by Radisson IP Extension said, “Internet of

With voice-activated smart hotel rooms, efficiency of housekeeping and concierge services is expected to grow by 50%. Things (IoT) and voice-enabled technologies are the future and we are excited to pioneer these intuitive smart hotel room features in India. With the voice-activated in-room solutions, we expect a 50% improvement in housekeeping efficiencies; ensuring speedier completion of service requests. Eventually, the intent is to diversify and grow the connected room features, as part of our on-going efforts to offer bespoke experiences that evolve with the needs of our patrons.”



ountry Inns & Suites By Carlson, an upper midscale hotel brand, has changed its name to Country Inn & Suites by Radisson. This name change will allow the brand and the individual hotels to leverage the global recognition and strength of the Radisson brand. Country Inn & Suites by Radisson is a part of Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, which also includes Quorvus Collection, Radisson Blu, Radisson, Radisson RED, Park Plaza and Park Inn by Radisson.

Consumer-facing changes will be made in stages to the brand throughout the first half of 2018.

The consumer-facing changes will be made in stages throughout the first half of 2018. Changes will include a new visual identity, updated logo and refreshed marketing and hotel collateral. “We are delighted that our Country Inn & Suites brand will be taking on a new name to leverage on the strength of the Radisson brand, drive awareness and increase marketing efficiency,” said Katerina Giannouka, president, APAC, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “Our Country Inn & Suites hotels deliver modern country warmth, and heartfelt experiences, through inviting design, products and services, and creating memorable moments for our guests.” “Country Inn & Suites is a market leader in the mid-scale segment in India. Identification with our core brand, Radisson, will lend further strength to its brand identity and appeal to investors and promoters in the promising, fast growing mid-scale segment,” added Raj Rana, CEO, South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.



LIP SERVICE NO MORE Till a while ago, diversity hardly figured as a topic of interest at corporate discussions. It has finally grabbed a seat, and eyeballs, at the management table BY VINITA BHATIA


ecently, McKinsey surveyed 366 public companies for its 'Diversity Matters' report and it found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity are 15 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. Also, companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 percent more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. What this basically means is that organisations that make diversity and inclusivity as one of their leadership goals are more successful than those that don't. While most companies already have included diversity as one of their mission statements, this is more like offering lip service than taking dedicated action in that direction.


Not the Indian Hotels Company Ltd (IHCL), which owns Taj Hotels Palaces Resorts Safaris, though. This is what Praveen Chander Kumar, area director, Pune and Nashik and general manager of Taj Lands End, Mumbai, emphatically stated. And he should know – he has been with the company for 25 years. for instance, he pointed out how over the past four to five years, the organisation has been working towards increasing the percentage of women associates. WOMEN REPRESENTATION The hotel industry is characterised by long working hours, stressful situations and emotional labour, which leads to the high attrition causalities amongst women employees. According to Kumar, the first thing that is required is to sensitise team members about the fact that the needs

of a female employee might differ from that of a male. Only when this understanding is established, can a company become truly inclusive. “When we first decided to recruit more ladies, we wanted to figure out what was stopping them from being a part of our industry, the hurdles they faced and how we could change that?” Kumar recalled. “We understood that we had odd working hours, so we arranged for drops, and even pickup, for lady employees from their homes in certain hotels.” The second realisation, according to him, was that women with children would worry about their young ones while they were at work. To come up with a solution for this conundrum., Kumar said, “Every hotel has a day care center for employees, where they can leave their kids, and visit them during their breaks.”



The aim of diversity is to ensure that all associates feel part of the team — regardless of their gender, race, religion or age. Thirdly, there was a need to facilitate the movement of senior women leaders up the value chain so they can then become role models for then next rung of achievers. “We currently have around 5% lady general managers, which is not a very good score compared to international markets, which could be as high as 40%. So, we give them equal rights and we spot the right talent and help them move up the ladder,” Kumar opined. In fact, so serious is IHCL about promoting women leaders that senior managers are given targets on increasing the ratio of the women associates in their team! A DIVERSE TEAM The all-encompassing aim of inclusivity is to make sure that all associates feel part of the team — regardless of their gender, race, religion or age. In fact, age diversity is emerging as a big challenge as majority of the staff are millennials, who report to people from a different generation. “We researched on this young work force and their needs and found that we needed to rework their salary structures. They are not interested about retirement


Organisations that make diversity as one of their leadership goals are more successful than those that don't. While most companies already have diversity as a mission statement, this is more like offering lip service. benefits, gratuity and provident fund,” Kumar explained. He also found that their food habits are different from that of their predecessors. While the staff dining room served Indianstyle food, the millennials preferred soup, sandwich or pasta. “So, we changed our menus all over the company, where we

ensured salad and sandwich were added to the Indian fare,” Kumar said, a move which was not only good for employee morale, but also for their performance. COMPATIBILITY MATTERS In a country as mixed as India, achieving diversity isn’t easy, especially since it is home to many religions. The outlooks of people from differing states will vary so one has to be careful when it comes to amalgamating them in a cohesive work environment. It also occurs when people from different economic strata also work in the same organisation the. According to Kumar, the trick to making it work is to be patient and payattention to employees’ feelings. That creates a sense of empathy, which goes a long way in creating a sense of belonging. The success of managing diverse teams ultimately boils down to listening to employees, making them feel as if their opinions matter, acting on their genuine concerns, and leading by example. And of course, unless diversity is a top priority for the company, all of this will fall flat and not matter anyway. HI





BART, OBVIOUSLY Marriott International has always prided itself on its F&B parlance. Its chief operations services officer for APAC, Bart Buiring, wants to continue using this distinctive dialect BY VINITA BHATIA

We need to be super relevant to the local community. Hence, as a company we concentrate on three things – deliver the best local food; attract the best talent, and engage with customers through creative marketing”


hat is one of the smartest ways of developing a lucrative food and beverage (F&B) strategy for a hotel chain in any region? Well, according to Bart Buiring, chief operations services officer, Asia Pacific of ‎Marriott International, it boils down to a simple thing – sit around with the team, brainstorm about it very solemnly, and then add make the whole thing a fun affair! If someone else were to offer this as a stratagem, it would come across as whimsy. However, when this idea is presented by a hardcore F&B professional, who spent the first three years of his career as a kitchen steward, one tends to take it a tad more seriously. After moving up the food chain as a stewarding manager, Buiring was responsible for the kitchens areas being scrubbed clean after every service. “Those three years in the back-of-house taught me a couple of things. Firstly, you need to provide employees with adequate opportunities and recognise their performance. Secondly, if they are doing an exceptional job, you need to communicate to them that they can choose the work domain they are most comfortable in, rather than the one they signed up for,” he shared. “This is one of the things that has helped Marriott in India because we acknowledge and care for our associates. We give constructive feedback, invest in our associates' training and sit down with them to chart their career paths.” In fact, he recalled how, when he started his journey with Marriott International as director-operations for JW Marriott Mumbai (now Juhu) in the early 2000’s during its pre-opening phase, he visited several hospitality schools in Aurangabad, Manipal and Goa where he had to convince candidates to join the company. 17 years since, finding talent has become much easier for




the company as it expands its hotel pipeline in the country has become far easier. “What we look for are people who are passionate about this business, particularly in the F&B area; who wake up daily wanting to do an amazing job for our guests. That is the first aspect of attitude we look for in recruits. After hiring, we train them on technical skills and give them an opportunity to be part of pre-opening hotels so that they can learn more and better. We fly them to international conferences where they can engage with their global peers and discover more. Within Marriott, there are so many examples of people who have had tremendous careers, which itself attract other folks,” he stated. Buiring should know, he has been with the company for 17 years and has changed domains through his career. Starting out as a director of operations at JW Marriott Mumbai, this Netherlands citizen later became the corporate VP, F&B for Ritz Carlton and then shifted gears to senior VP, operations for the continent lodging services. And throughout this growth he

has seen some trends hold their ground steadfast in the industry. “Our first hotel in Asia Pacific was the JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong, which we opened in 1989, and today we have more than 600 hotels in the region. 28 years later, that hotel does breakfast, lunch, and dinner business with local customers, and that is how you sustain the business – by focusing on the local business,” Buiring emphasised. In his opinion, if a hotel is successful with diners who within a couple of kilometers radius and they have space for guests to stay with them, then it is doing a really good job. “We need to be super relevant to the local community. Hence, as a company we concentrate on three things – deliver the best local food; at-

“Our first hotel in Asia Pacific, which we opened in 1989, was the JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong. 28 years later, that hotel does its breakfast, lunch, and dinner business with local customers, and that is how you sustain the business – by focusing on the local business.”

tract the best talent, and engage with customers through creative marketing,” he added. REWIND TO RETURN While many hoteliers treat F&B as a part of their overall profit bouquet rather than a standalone business, Buiring underlined that Marriott has a different take on things. Seeing the importance that F&B can contribute independently, he said that the hotel chain will try to build 50 to 60-seater F&B outlets and specialty restaurants. Additionally, it will focus on offering authentic culinary experiences, irrespective whether they open a property in India, Thailand or Hong Kong. “Most food concepts have a time frame, after which they need to be refreshed. For instance, a nightclub’s lifecycle is two or three years, probably longer if it is a rooftop bar. We will look to renovate our outlets, working in partnership with our owners,” Buiring revealed. Even restaurants need a makeover after five or six years, whether it is through interior design or menu changes. While

“The JW Marriott Hotel Hong Kong.




chatting with the team at St Regis Mumbai, Buiring was surprised to learn about the increasing number of freestanding restaurants opening in the immediate vicinity. In his opinion, competition like this should be viewed positively as it keeps every brand on its toes. “A hotel is where people come to meet and socialise. We love nothing more than for our hotel to be the social heart of the local community. The only way to achieve this is by offering relevant, value for money, interesting and authentic dining experience,” Buiring stated. Another important component of the F&B equation is catering and banquets, especially in a country like India, where weddings can be multiple day extravaganzas. Today, every hotel wants a piece of this action, and with everyone competing for the similar target audience, it is imperative to create some sort of differentiation. One of the best ways to do this is by creating exemplary culinary experiences. To be able to do this, Marriott is empowering its chefs and F&B heads to take the right decisions that will lead to guest

About Bart Buiring Based in Hong Kong, Bart Buiring is the chief operations services officer, Asia Pacific, ‎Marriott International. Prior to that he held the position of senior VP, lodging services and operations for the company’s Asia Pacific region for three years where he provided leadership to all operations disciplines including rooms, food and beverage, engineering, procurement and guest technology. His journey in Marriott International began in 2001 as director-operations of JW Marriott Mumbai (now Juhu). Prior to that, he had worked as an executive assistant manager, F&B at Grand Hyatt Jakarta and assistant F&B at The Dorchester.

delight, even if it means overlooking food costs at times. “It is all about balancing within the hotel – the food cost does not have to be the same in all outlets that we operate. In a specialty restaurant, like Akira Back in JW Marriott Hotel New Delhi Aerocity we fly in imported fish couple of times a week to ensure we offer the best food quality. In such instances, we are fine with the food cost being 50% to 60% at a


three-meal day restaurant or even in banqueting, as we are more focused on the guest experience, as things balance itself out,” Buiring explained. Additionally, chefs in Marriott International are encouraged to travel often, experiment and come up with new culinary creations to present remarkable food quality. However, there is an unwritten caveat that goes without saying – not all produce has to be exotic or expensive.

THE ROOM IS ALWAYS FULL When it comes to the F&B domain, customer expectations are moving northwards, while at the same time they expect it to be value-for-money. That is one reason they gravitate towards standalone restaurants, where thyy perceive the average price per customer to be lower than F&B outlets in star-rated hotels. Herein lies the challenge for hoteliers – those with 100 to 150-seat establish-



Emperor's Court at Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel.

“A hotel is where people come to meet and socialise. We love nothing more than for our hotel to be the social heart of the local community. The only way to achieve this is by offering relevant, value for money, interesting and authentic dining experience.” ments are struggling to have full occupancy. That explains why Marriott would rather have smaller F&B outlets. “A successful restaurant is one with a queue at the door, which is not easy to achieve. In our company, we are aiming for 100% restaurant occupancy. This year, therefore, we will focus on adding more folks to our team and working with our owners to renovate restaurants in a timely manner,” Buiring said. He added that the company has some refreshingly cool ideas around F&B concepts and by 1st April, 2018, around 100 hotels will implement these in the region. It will also take a close look at some of the worst-performing restaurants to see how these can be reinvigorated to keep pace with the competition. This could well begin from a space planning perspective, as the industry


trend is moving towards compact buildings with better utilisation of space. Since such well-planned properties offer a clear ROI for owners while improving operational efficiency, Marriott’s team reviews all hotel designs in Asia Pacific regularly, where they look at the floor plans and decide how the space programming can be optimised. “We have a team that not only looks at the feasibility of the hotel, but also its facilities. Then, we look at how large the property should be, how many rooms it should have, how big the F&B space ought to be, what facilities should be there, etc. Where earlier we might have built two or three specialty restaurants in a hotel, we would probably limit it now to one good buffet restaurant or café,” Buiring claimed. Marriott is also attempting to break free from the conventional dining loyalty programmes, especially keeping in perspective the needs of the younger generation who like to wine and dine often. Seven years after the Club Marriott dining programme was launched, it has around

225,000 members in India and counting. Last year, the company integrated its three dining loyalty programmes—Club Marriott, Eat Drink & More, and Star Privilege—into a single paid membership one. The newly combined Club Marriott provides members with more choices and benefits whenever they dine in any of the 250 participating hotels across 16 brands in 13 countries across the region, with more hotels joining every month. Buiring revealed that a newer version of this programme will make it more hyper-local, offering guests access, benefits and recognition based on their personalisation parameters. “We have developed a luxury version of Club Marriott that will promote our luxury brands hotel-by-hotel, market-by-market. The next iteration is connecting it to our three loyalty programmes – Marriott Rewards, SPG & The Ritz-Carlton Rewards,” he mentioned. These are just some of the activities on Buiring's plate, and he seems to be game to pile on more. Little wonder then, that even when he is standing, he looks like a man who is sprinting! HI



A SLICE OF TECH, SERVED SUNNY-SIDE UP Intuitive technology has made great inroads in the F&B business, believes Jean-Michel Cassé, COO, India and South Asia, AccorHotels BY VINITA BHATIA

In-house gardens, like the one in The Pullman New Delhi Aerocity, will become more popular as dishes prepared with locally-procured ingredients increasingly feature in menus.


echnology is redefining how hotels deliver services to their guests; irrespective of the domains they operate in. Be it the economy, mid-scale or luxury segment, it is being leveraged to understand and anticipate a guest’s needs, and then personalise the offerings accordingly. One vertical where this personalisation is most evident is in the F&B domain, where hoteliers are using intuitive technology to understand a guest’s behavioural patterns and find ways to facilitate customisations – be it in food order, pres-


entation or delivery time. While all of this happens at the front end, a lot of action is also taking place at the back of the house, especially in the kitchens. Today, these areas are designed based on the chef’s convenience and to ensure hassle-free operations of their time given their constricted daily schedule. A good commercial kitchen is created to incorporate the kitchen staff’s easy movement across workstations, strategic placement of heating and cooling appliances, ventilation, reliable appliances, etc. Maintaining this well has a direct reflection on the food presented to a cus-

tomer on various parameters, including its quantity, quality, presentation, texture and freshness. According to Jean-Michel Cassé, COO, India and South Asia of AccorHotels, there are many levels where technology can help in raising the bar when it comes to daily functioning of a kitchen. But this has to starts early in the supply chain “For example, even before receiving rice in the hotel, it is already sorted with the help of a colour sorter to remove rice grains of different colours, or stones and other impurities. This saves considerable labour in the kitchen. Similar processes



Jean-Michel Cassé, chief operating officer, AccorHotels India South Asia.

Traditional rice varieties and local grains will emerge to occupy a greater place in dishes, like this ‘Millet Citrus Green salad with maple balsamic dressing’. are applied to vegetables, and meat. Other things like peeled garlic and precut vegetables are ubiquitous today,” Cassé explained. TACKLING MANPOWER CHALLENGES During the actual cooking process, equipment like pressure steamers, pressure brat pans and combi-units reduce cooking time per product significantly. Thus, by employing technology effectively, hotels can also overcome the perennial manpower problem to a certain degree. Cassé pointed out how a typical kitchen would operate at a much-reduced manning level compared to one not using these implements. “Many of these can be automated, whereby the requirement of skilled staff changes to one of having an operator. All these, however, come at a cost that not every commercial kitchen can afford,” he conceded. The other advantage that technology presents to commercial kitchens is the use of production and inventory control systems that can help in eliminating paperwork – mistakes that may end up costing the establishment dearly – and also result in plenty of rework of efforts. According to Cassé, dealing with excess inventory or chasing after missing inventory is a major time waster that can be prevented through inventory control systems.


UPCOMING TRENDS Technology aside, according to Cassé, 2018 is poised to be an interesting year for F&B in the hospitality industry. Of these, the foremost is the growing inclination for sustainability causes, where people and organisations are aware and responsible about their impact on the environment and on the local community. Traditional rice varieties, local grains, local poultry and animal breeds will emerge to occupy a greater place in food. Dishes prepared with locally procured ingredients and cooked in traditional ways are going to increasingly feature in menus. In-house gardens are likely to become even more popular as hotels and restaurants will push this to the forefront. “We will also see an increase in demand for simple, home cooked food and street hawker style food. With an increasing number of households not having time to cook daily, the demand for home food and simple hawker style food in going to be in high demand,” Cassé predicted. RISE OF ARITSANAL PRODUCE It is also interesting to see the advent of concepts like ‘Bean to Bar Chocolate’, with several young entrepreneurs entering this space. There are players like Nitin Chordias Cocoa Trait and Mason and Co. in Pondicherry who are promoting artisanal chocolate and breaking the traditional

By employing technology effectively, hotels can overcome the perennial manpower problem to a certain degree. mould. There is a growing acceptance of dark chocolate with locally grown cocoa, and an increasing popularity for it, especially when it is combined with Indian ingredients. On the other hand, there is a rising interest for low-fat, low-carb, organic and gluten-free foods. “With celebrities following the Keto diet and many health clubs advocating Paleo and related diets, healthy fats are going to be back in many menus. Awareness of the impact of food on health, well being and daily performance will drive a higher number of people to this type of food,” Cassé prophesied. At the end of the day, F&B when done right, can go a long way in aiding hotels get regular and repeat business while also boosting their overall profits. More importantly, it can help them accentuate their customer's satisfaction, while keeping track of changing trends and guest preferences, thereby creating new revenue-generating opportunities. HI



IN LOVE WITH THE SHAPE OF YOU Few know how dramatically a wine glass’ shape can impact its quality and the overall drinking experience BY VINITA BHATIA


here is something to be said about most sommeliers. They make something very pleasurable like enjoying a glass of wine come across like a complex, formulaic exercise. But does is have to be as complex as that? Well, not exactly. While the jury is still out (and will probably be there for a while) about the varieties of aromas and bouquets involved in making a great wine, there are other aspects that go a long way in showcasing a wine in all its glory, like the glass it is served in. Since this is a natural beverage that evolves with time, it is important to drink wine from the right glass as the nuances of various wines change depending on its shape and size. The choice of the right glass can actually make or break the wine savouring experience. To truly experience


every nuance of wine drinking, it must be enjoyed at the right temperature, in the right glass. A MATURING MARKET Till a few years ago, not many Indians knew that the shape of a wine glass could impact its quality. According to sommelier Nikhil Agarwal, director, All Things Nice, this realisation is now gaining ground. “While we are getting there, a lot of catch up needs to take place. Glass suppliers and wine companies need to educate consumers more about the importance of glassware,” he exhorted. There is a lot of science involved in the design of a wine glass. Everything from the base of the glass to its rim is well thought and customised, based on the wine that will be served in it. According to Pesi Engineer, GM, India,

Zwiesel Kristallglas AG, India Liasion Office, the creation of the glass starts in the minds of a company’s designer who consults with various sommeliers. These glassmakers then translate the work of the designers into dimensioned drawings with sectional presentations and make the resulting mould. “Mould making is an art by itself and at Zwiesel Kristallglas factories, the mould maker uses his free hand and a tuner to shape the damp beech. Glass is then blown into these two-piece moulds. With skill and apparent ease, the glassmaker intuits the precise time to blow into the tube to form the glass in a wet mould. Subsequent heating of the goblet tip to a high enough temperature, the stem is then pulled. As simple as this sounds, only experienced glass makers succeed here since the process is mostly done by



hand and with basic tools. The final glass is shaped then checked against a stencil outline and cooled. Only a well-rehearsed team of five glassmakers, who always work in a team and will not function with any substitutes, can accomplish these complex and highly precise moves,” Engineer added. Talking about the physical structure of the glass, Abhas Saxena, sommelier, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai pointed out that the base is responsible for the glass not tipping—so the sturdier the base, the less chances of spillage. The stem of the glass is designed to hold the glass. “If the glass is held by the bowl then the wine gets warmer faster because of the body temperature coming in contact for elongated time periods. The other purpose of the stem is to also avoid getting the hand

Abhas Saxena, sommelier, The Taj Mahal Palace, Mumbai.

to be close to the rim of the glass. With all sorts of scents that fingers carry (fragrant soaps, hand lotions or perfumes), it is better to keep the hand away from the rim where the wine's real aromas can be overpowered or masked by the ancillary aroma from hands,” Saxena explained. The glass’ bowl is where the wine rests. The bigger it is, the bigger the rim, which gives the wine enough space to swirl. Also, when the wine is swirled it creates a central vortex where all the major aromas and flavours are concentrated. “When the nose is put into the glass after a swirl, a concentrated set of notes come straight out. A bigger surface area is good to get maximum volatile compounds responsible for aromas to be released. The rim of the glass is equally significant. This is where the wine meets the palate. The rim should ideally be as thin as possible to make the transition of wine from glass to the palate is smooth,” Saxena explained. HIDDEN POTENTIAL There are several types of wine glasses available with more options being added. The effect is a wide variety that can make it quite perplexing to choose the right one. Saxena recommended that one keep in mind some simple facts. Wine glasses can be categorised based on the make, varietal, style, etc. Though majority of glasses available in India is machine made, the handmade versions the ones that are most sought after.

Guests sampled different wines at the 6th Indian Wine Consumer's Choice Awards 2018 where Lucaris showcased its Desire Universal wine glass collection.


Nikhil Agarwal, director, All Things Nice. “The various varietal specific glasses are based on the shapes and their aesthetic appeal rather the salability of the wine varietal. The popularity of the wine style is not a major driver for the permeability of the glass style in the market yet. The key varietal-based glasses that are readily available in various lifestyle stores are cabernet, burgundy and Riesling glasses,” he added. There are some brands that are more popular than the rest, largely because they have their own market segment that they operate in. Indian Hotels Company Ltd, for instance, works with bulk producers like Ocean Glass that is available across the country, as well as Zalto, which is available online. “But what is really pocket friendly and doesn’t take away the finesse or the quality away from the glass are brands like Riedel, Schott Zweisel, Spiegelau, Nachtmann, etc. These wine glasses are becoming very popular with the masses as well and are reaching glass racks of homes of wines lovers all over the country,” Saxena pointed out. Agarwal concurred with him. “I think Ocean Madison Series is perhaps the most used because of their efficient cost and durability in terms of HORECA usage. For the top end, the prominent brands we see around is Schott Zwiesl, Spieglau, Eisch and to some extent in very select restaurants and homes - Riedel. Lucaris is focusing on India now and you will certainly see a lot of them,” he added. After understanding the complex intrigues that go into the creation of a wine glass, the pleasure of drinking definitely increases manifold. HI


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one are the days when guests would walk into a restaurant or hotel only to have a meal in an opulent setting with refined service. Now, they want more; they want a dining experience that is memorable and which they can flaunt on their social media networks. Having realised that dining has gone beyond merely providing a meal, hoteliers are constantly seeking ways to anticipate their guest’s needs and top it. This has become critical as they face increasing competition from free-standing restaurants. They, therefore, rely on the expertise of their chefs to help them present an ex-

citing gastronomic experience to their guests, while staying true to their heritage. These culinary experts help their respective brands to adapt to the evolving tastes and demands of today’s well-travelled and well-informed guest, while extending a personal touch to every meal. In this article, we ask chefs how they create one-of-a-kind, delightful treats that will enthrall guests, and the food-related trends that are likely to gain ground this year. We also dwell on the technology they use to improve their efficiency, maximise their property’s revenue and enhance customer satisfaction.




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acting program director, International Culinary Institute, Hong Kong

Executive chef, Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway

Many restaurants opened without identifying their concept or the customer’s needs. Some, belonging to a company chain, are worth replicating, while other standalone outlets are trying to survive. Many shut down because proper planning was not involved. Asia’s dining scene has changed to offer more ethnic food, which is often not fully related to its core foundation. These trends are merely directed towards innovation and promoting a refined perception of street food. Chefs who want to create locally-focused dining experiences should identify their competition’s weakness and promote their brand in newer ways and even give additional offers. Source more food from local markets, promote local farming, reduce portion of dishes, redefine recipes, change eating habits, promote seasonal food. Thinking out-of-thebox could lead to new trends.



chief judge,Young Chef Olympiad

celebrity chef and consultant for Vortex

In the last couple of years, diners have a high expectation about food, especially its ingredients, nutritional value, freshness, etc. Many are conscious about their health and increasingly select organic, low-carbon and sustainable dishes. Hence, concepts like farm-to-table and sustainability of ingredients will continue to be popular. Hotels and restaurants are working hard to combat food waste and chefs can do their bit in this endeavour. They can regularly review the menu and recipes to use seasonal and appropriate produce. They can also provide relevant training to their sous chefs and service staff who assist in food preparation. The life cycle of different restaurant concepts vary and they should follow their target market. In Hong Kong, people forget concepts easily so an eatery's life cycle could be 5 to 6 years. The menu will always remain its blueprint.


Chefs have started incorporating many regional and lesser-known foods into their menus. The attention has moved from complicated presentations to something that will compliment the food one is eating, while retaining the original dish in its true form. It is important to use authentic and well-researched recipes, get the right people to do the job and pay attention to sourcing right. Chefs will continue to look at unique cooking styles, as organic and healthy produce is now a rarity and a luxury. The white tablecloth days are almost over, barring a few fine dining restaurants that still choose to keep them. Guests prefer to dine in a more relaxed ambience, without the formality that comes with these venues. There are certain elements that add to the experience, which need to be retained. It is all about being sensible and relevant without being carried away emotionally –a mistake that promoters of most restaurants make.

2018 will be game-changing year, especially for Indian cuisine. Traditional cuisines will become global heroes. Ayurveda influences, alternate foods, in forms of wheat-free and chemically-enhanced foods, will take a back seat. Food presentation will take a turn towards many elements on one plate, while still being artistic at the same time. We might see plenty of colours and new textures with techniques like double dehydration and fermentation. Metallurgy will play a very important role and as will pottery. While people talk about use of technology in the kitchen, it can only act as an aid to save time and enhance accuracy, but can never replace a human hand or mind. An important step in combating food waste is having interactive cooking. More chef-driven restaurants and chef menus will help a lot in this endeavour because a degustation design helps to produce controlled quantities in a large way.


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AH I CHEF HIMANSHU TANEJA Director of culinary,The St Regis Mumbai

To prevent food waste, plan your consumption weeks in advance as it allows portion control. It is also imperative to know how much of a particular produce that is in storage will be consumed. If this is planned well, wastage can be easily avoided. Once this planning is done, it is important to ensure that temperature control is also managed as the food needs to be preserved at the right temperature and in the right portions. This temperature forecast can be checked and food batches can be kept in the deep freeze. This goes a long way in ensuring minimum wastage of food. As guests ask for so they get value for money, we have to give the right quality with the right experience in the right ambience. This coupled with the right kind of service will drive immense guest satisfaction without diluting the brand’s ethos or standards. The simplicity of getting these factors right, from order taking to serving to the quality is an important factor for diner gratification.


With chef and service team shortages, companies need director and co-founder, to stop focussing their efforts on recruitment, and inKitchen CUT stead look at retention and developing the existing people. They can hire young people, train and nurture them. What restaurateurs and hoteliers can also do is put together structured training and development plans for their teams that will teach them new and unique skills, which they could not learn anywhere else. Then they will stay with you. You need to fix the hole in the bucket first before you add more water into it! Also, technology is extremely important in modern operations, whether to help you cook or manage your operations better, allowing chefs more time in the kitchens and less time in the office. It is here to stay, so chefs need to embrace it.

WACS GLOBAL MASTER CHEF KARL GUGGENMOS former dean, Culinary Development, Johnson & Wales University, USA

When it comes to trends, elevated comfort food has been making inroads and will continue doing so. It is a style of cookery where the food is prepared in a simple fashion with more natural and unaltered ingredients. Globally, F&B staffing has been an increasing problem with sometimes dire consequences. The best ways to address the issue are by creating a positive work environment. The industry simply has to create a work atmosphere that allows for a better quality of life and provide fair wages and benefits. It should also avoid ‘burning workers out’ with the long hours and little time off. The kitchen staff should also be trained on issues like better portion control and writing precise recipes as well as collecting clear data of sales. This way they can plan perishable inventory in alignment to sales.


Simplicity and minimalism will be the leading food trends for executive 2018 as consumers move towards healthy living. Smaller portions with cost effective pricing will help patrons sample varied cuisines. To control food waste, at Conrad Pune, we follow a 15 by 10 rule. Only a batch of 10 portions of food is cooked for the buffet, which is replenished every 15 minutes. This ensures the service of hot food during the buffet service and cuts down food wastage drastically. Since hiring, training and retaining the correct staff is very challenging, we follow a two-step method. We prefer recruiting an associate who has worked with any of our chefs previously. This gives us an idea about their strengths and focus in the kitchen. Next, we have a food trial with them to gauge their skills and communication ability.


chef, Conrad Pune



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MANISH SHARMA executive chef, The Oberoi, Gurgaon

corporate chef, Keys Hotels

Hotels are struggling to retain good staff, who get lucrative offers from restaurants. The problem is that the new generation of chefs and managers want to rise fast without understanding the nitty gritties of the trade, losing the zeal for culinary excellence. Give them a comfortable and environment, with regular soft skills and technical training, which gives them a reason to stay. Pay them well, and on time, as this gives financial security. Supervisors, and even head chefs, should be hands-on and show youngsters the skills of the trade. Not many chefs today stand with their team at the range teaching them things. Organise inter-hotel cross trainings to give them exposure and learn from their peers. Chefs and F&B managers should also work closely with the promoters to understand irthe audience and act promptly to gather their attention. One should be able to maintain the food standards and sustain it with the set budgets.



executive chef, Shangri-La’s, Eros Hotel, New Delhi

corporate chef, Mayfair Hotels & Resorts

There is indeed a strong need to reduce and control food wastage, which starts by adopting a correct method for peeling vegetables to controlling kitchen ordering and estimation of food consumption at events. An effective technique is to measure the food waste and develop an action plan to reduce it by using this data, with targets, timescales and responsibilities. Conducting weekly inventory check, using products before their expiry date, proper menu planning and striking off the least selling items from the menu will help build a system that will ensure recycling of all types of restaurant waste. This has also led to innovation of advanced technologies and methods like using cooking oil which can be re-used many times. Localisation and sustainability are amongst our core values. Hence, we mention the ingredients used in each dish on our buffet boards to make guests aware about what are they eating and why it is so special.


Fermentation is getting big in India. Chefs inspired by Rene Redzepi’s Noma—with its core philosophy of working with fermented foods and a fermentation lab—have been pushing the envelope by curing, ageing and pickling seasonal and local ingredients. Secondly, the world has a whole new understanding of Indian food where individual regions are claiming the spotlight. At Amaranta, we continue to explore small cities in search of key seasonal ingredients and authentic regional recipes coupled with constant experimentation for our menu. Chefs today have refined recipes, created new dishes, paid more keen attention to the quality of ingredients and redefined presentation. Irrespective how successful you are in adapting your cuisine to suit foreign palates, all evolution has to be indigenous. Indian chefs are inspired to curate menus primarily keeping Indian guests in mind and look beyond the usual dishes to create a revolution.

Since long, technology has been a dominant part of food operations – with the use of mixers, blenders, grinders to food processors – and has helped overcome labour shortages. However, with the advent of WiFi operated appliances like Air Fryers, smart refrigerators and ovens, a chef can attend to a task even when they are 150 feet away by using wireless devices. Intelligent touch-free taps, preheating of ovens and rice steamers can also be operated through WiFi as a connected cooking concept, which can free labour to do other chores in the kitchen. Chefs also need to focus on retaining their existing people as this is easier than hiring new recruits. This is possible if one takes care of upgrading their team’s skills and creates a healthy working environment. Referrals are a good source for recruitment. On the job training adds up to a person'a output and leads the way for their career growth.


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PRATEEK SADHU executive chef, Masque

executive chef, Fairmont Jaipur

Plant-based and protein-based food will go mainstream. Lots of people are converting into vegetarian and vegan, so wholesome meals are more in demand. Ingredients like avocados, fresh organic vegetables, grains like quinoa, jowar, bajra and red millets are gaining prominence, which will help develop farm-to-fork menus. Indian and South East Asian countries street food are ‘fusionating’ making Indian food more palatable for Americans. Big flavours-based on fermented food, umami and lots of spice is real trend now. Dishes from the North and South Poles align with our newfound interest in plant proteins, gut health, and seasonal cooking. Increase in communal and comfort food is also in high demand. Chefs have countless tricks for turning food waste into dishes, which they can use. For instance, cheese rinds can be simmered in pasta sauce or stock for a soup base; vegetable peels can become ravioli filling.

Broadly speaking, ingredient-based menus with renewed focus on putting fresh, regional produce on the plate, and an increase in sustainable foods and practices will become popular. Grains like millets and other region-specific ingredients will make frequent appearances on dinner plates, as will less fussy and frilly food that lets the produce shine through. Food wastage is a big issue in restaurants, so they must take care to segregate wet and dry waste in the kitchen, recycles and compost. There are some companies that now offer a holistic, start-to-finish waste management service. A number of NGOs also pick up excess food from restaurants and banquets and redistribute it to the underprivileged. While technology can assure speed and consistency, it cannot replace a skilled worker. At the end of the day, that personal, human touch that makes all the difference when it comes to a plate of food.

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executive sous chef, Grand Hyatt Mumbai

celebrity chef and consultant

With the increasing social need to dine-out, guests today are seeking more than just food—they want experiences. From the music to the lighting, art to activities, there are a lot of additional factors that influence their decision. While we have stringent quality checks to ensure only the best food is served, we are increasingly making our dining experience more enjoyable. For instance, additions like kids zone/live band/ bazaar as a part of the brunch to make it more engaging for guests. Given the increasing demand for healthy food options, we introduced the Breakfast Project at Fifty Five East where we have special tasty specials of the week for guests to choose from. With the evolution in the education industry, hotel management graduates today engage in extensive on-thejob training before they are hired as chefs. They have better knowledge and are equipped to take on their responsibilities, which makes it easier to hire and train them.


RISHIM SACHDEVA head chef, Olive Bar & Kitchen

executive chef, Oberoi Mumbai

Two trends will gain a lot of popularity, Umami and preserving. Umami is important because diners are becoming more aware of what they are consuming. As their palates become more advanced, they can detect even subtle ingredients now, as they've become more attuned to unusual ingredients. Even chefs, who previously may have resorted to easier methods of overloading dishes with too much cheese, or heavy tomato sauces, are scaling back, and allowing ingredients to shine through with simpler techniques and preparations. Fermenting is also gaining a lot of ground because it is really healthy for the gut, and also, fermented ingredients last longer, thereby side-stepping the issue of things running out of stock. While technology plays an unquestioned role in daily life for virtually everyone today, I still believe that skilled labour cannot be replicated in a kitchen.


We are headed towards back-toroots at both scientific and culinary levels. Hyper-localisation, close to roots and source and home-inspired cooking are what I foresee to be the focus in 2018. Usually, chefs tend to talk about food wastage, wherein we try to save and recycle where possible. But, food loss needs to be taken care of right from the time we get stocks to the time it comes into the kitchen or is processed. This usually would be due to incorrect packaging or lack of processing understanding or essentially a lack of knowledge of using the product. Hence, food loss and food wastage have to be jointly tackled when we talk of saving food. The way forward is to create locally focussed dining experiences. The only uniqueness you can add other than yourself to your food is to respect the unique longitudinal and latitudinal coordinates that you are in and what goes in and around it.

Diners now expect value for money, whether they are dining at fine dining restaurants or upscale hotels, which is fair. Hence, we should ensure this, even if it means taking a hit sometimes on our costs. There is competition everywhere and the best way forward is to keep giving guests quality products and make them come back for more. That is only possible if we use more local produce and engage with our suppliers to keep giving us quality products. Whenever we do the pricing of our menus, we take into account the cost of the ingredients as well as the competition pricing. Chefs should also take responsibility to control food waste by matching production with forecasted business on a daily basis and not be afraid of making the dish again if it gets over, even if this is inconvenient. We also do a batch-wise cooking in buffets to avoid wastage and also keep food fresh.


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Serving the best Himanshu Lodha, founder & director, AH International, gives us a glimpse into how the company and its products are dedicated to aid hoteliers in delivering the best guest experience What makes AHI a leading OS&E solution provider in India's hospitality industr y? AH International provides a broad spectrum of creative and innovative hospitality solutions to help elevate guest experiences. We have a vast brand portfolio, comprising over 40 national and international brand partners, with a stock catalogue exceeding 40,000 products. We also cater to a large customer segment – ranging from three-star to luxury hotels – and provide our customers with a personalised touch that helps maintain their brand identity. Real beauty lies in details, and hence at AHI, we help you curate these details and form relationships and memories that last for a lifetime. Which are the prominent brands that AHI provides in India? Our brand portfolio consists of some of the best and most innovative brands, such as Schott Zwiesel, JVD, Luzerne, Abert, Sola Switzerland, Pordamsa, Broggi, Luzerne, Vista Alegre, Mauviel 1830, Kilner, Cotell and many more. We have also launched our own label BuffetCraft, which specialises in woodenware. How do you customise products from these brands to suit the individual needs of hospitality companies? Hospitality is an art, and in order to create

masterpieces, you need wide range of colours in your palette. At AHI, we do this by customising our products to suit varying needs. From customising the product by variables such as size, colour, shape, material, cost, etc, to creating special moulds and handcrafted items, we offer a wide range of customiing options so that what hoteliers and chefs get reflects their vision and theme, and helps them stand apart from the crowd. How do you ensure that your products/ solutions continue to of fer uniformity in terms of quality while your company continues to provide consistency in terms of ser vice? AHI is associated with some of the most prominent brands in the hospitality industry, with brands like Vista Alegre being tableware pioneers since 1824. These brands have years of experience, and are consistent yet innovative to meet the needs of the market. Their unparalleled quality standards, as well as patented technologies ensure consistent quality to all our customers. As for AHI, we pride ourselves in helping clients achieve across-the-board brand consistency and scalability with our prompt dispatch and innovative stock strategy solutions. Ours is a team committed to lasting relationships, built upon trust and the promise of a job well done.

Which are some of the leading hospitality companies that AHI is currently working with in India? Some of the leading hospitality companies we have had the pleasure of working with are Marriott, Hyatt, Hilton, Taj, Shangri La, Accor, Keys, LemonTree, Alila.




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member of Culinary Team Canada

The industry has a huge demand for trained chefs and we need more chefs entering the business. It is important to retain young recruits by keeping them engaged with solid training, moving them from station to station, which ensures cross-training. However, this is a two-way street – they must be able to perform and earn everyone’s trust to move forward. The incentive of more money is slowly coming forward, but that is a bit dangerous in the kitchen as there needs to be some distance between skilled labour and unskilled or entry level. Also, respect ingredients. Food can look cool and have smoke and mirrors, but if it doesn't taste good, then clients won't buy it. Additionally, you cannot replace chefs with technology. While tools, like combi oven or punch machines for cookies and patties, help maximise production, these machines are costly. So, an establishment needs to have the volume to justify its purchase.


TANVEER KWATRA executive assistant manager, Goa

Chefs need to learn how to use the whole vegetable. F&B,W Many agree that a lot of vegetable scraps, as we call them, are overlooked, which can easily be the gems that can add a lot of value to a dining table. Coming to the use of technology in the kitchen, the human touch cannot be replaced. If cooking becomes a guided and mechanical process then you are going to take the heart out of it. However, technology is the need of the hour with manpower shortages and the costs related to it. More than making up for labour, the technological revolution has helped in consistency of the product. If we take an example of a sous vide machine, it helps in achieving same desired result again and again. The time will come when ovens and other equipment will acts as robots too.


Celebrity chef and chocolatier Diners now expect value for money, whether they are dining at upscale restaurants or hotels. However, sometimes a brand’s ethos and standards get diluted when chefs try to play a role in ensuring this as the investor in the business does not understand why the stakes have to be raised. The objective should also be about what the guests' want and never what the owner wants. While chefs try to explain this to the investor, they often succumb to the pressure just because they want to have a restaurant under their name. Ultimately, taste, quality and value for money will determine the success and failure of any outlet. Proper planning right from the inventory level to minimise food wastage will be the mantra. Also charging the guests for food wastage could discourage them from wasting food whether in restaurants or banquets.

A convergence in dining and nightlife in India is inevitable. Food


is fashion and will follow the path. Hotels and some restaurants Alitalia will transition innovate to move from the traditional white tablecloth meals to fine dine hybrid concepts where guests can have a fine dining experience. Every restaurant must have a new concept to be able to compete with others. I always question myself asking why should guests come to me instead of going elsewhere. Then I give myself 10 different reasons why they shouldn’t. The trick is to have signature dishes with a personal touch, so the dining experience is unique. Also, ensure that the dining room decor matches that of the dishes. Incidentally, there is market for everything. Of course, it is more difficult to make this any model scalable and profitable. But, if you have enough consumers, the numbers can be easily achieved.




Hoteliers face the tricky task of continually upgrading their kitchens with equipment that are functional and cost-efficient without unduly burdening their balance sheet BY BINDU GOPAL RAO


n important aspect that defines a hotel’s reputation and the business it draws is the kind of food it serves. Naturally, since kitchens have become an important area, hoteliers are now focusing how on ways to ensure that the equipment in these spaces is effective and efficient. Talking about the equipment that is most integral in the kitchen, Subrao Hati, corporate chef, VITS Hotels Worldwide said, “The gas range is the powerhouse of the kitchen, so it is important to choose one that meets both your cooking and aesthetic needs. These make it easier to judge heat and change from high to low faster than their electric counter parts.” At the same time, freezers and refrigerators are an inseparable part when it comes to setting up a kitchen. A commercial kitchen is all about menu planning and optimum usage of all resources and that is where refrigeration plays an impor-


tant role to increase the shelf life of all the ingredients and preparations. This in turn increases the profitability of the kitchen. Subhadeep Datta, general manager of Goldfinch Hotel in Mumbai added that currently they are using equipment like high-end Alto-Sham and bakery ovens. “We are in the process to upgrade our bakery oven for the better quality of work as this will ensure highly efficient and uniform baking,” he said. According to Anthony Huang, the newly appointed executive chef of Sheraton Grand Hotel, Brigade Gateway, Bengaluru, dough mixers, dishwashers and most importantly, the fire fighting system that is installed in their hotel’s exhaust hoods are few of the critical equipment that keeps their guests and associates safe. And that is crucial—safety as well as efficiency while at work. NEW VISTAS Gopal Jha, executive chef, Grand Mer-

cure Bangalore explained that a good commercial kitchen needs industrial grade equipment that will stand its tough schedule. The design and layout of the kitchen should allow food to flow seamlessly from the preparation area to dispensing line. Sometimes a new restaurant has a fabulous location, but if it has a small kitchen space, it can be a recipe for disaster. "The ideal way to plan an upgrade or expansion of a kitchen is according to the cuisine served at the restaurant. This would allow proper equipment selection, spacing, and determination of capacity. A good kitchen design and proper menuplanning spare you from facing many future problems,” Jha added. Thermomix by Vorwerk is a critical, though simple, kitchen equipment that Roseate House is currently using and it plans to upgrade to the latest version that has a touch screen for convenience. “You have to keep upgrading kitchen



equipment with the latest technology to keep up with competition. Coming to aesthetics, we procure the equipment in sync with our hotel interiors, design and standards,” said Anuj Wadhawan, executive sous chef, Roseate House. “For the last few months our R&D team is working on a dosa maker, since dosa making is an art that South Indian chefs have mastered. We are trying to reach a level with this dosa maker (which is partly manual), where anybody can make a dosa following a basic level of instruc-

Chef Nishesh Seth, executive chef, Le Meridien Goa Calangute.

tions. As we have a chain of restaurants, the basic objective of designing such equipment is to have consistency all over the brand and better utilisation of manpower,” said Hati. Huang added that most of the equipment that comes in today are energyefficient and have additional features and programmes that allows chefs to control moisture, time, quantum of heat and even speed of mixing. “These can be programmed to suit the requirements of the recipe. They also look much better and fit in well to assigned spaces. Additionally, newer equipment invariably has built-in safety mechanisms that protect the user as well as the organisation's human and mechanical assets," he added. UPGRADE MATTERS A poorly planned kitchen results in high payroll, slow production, unhappy kitchen staff, and dissatisfied guests. "We are thinking of adding the Pacojet Ice Cream Unit to our existing equipment for easy and quick ice cream production, since we make own ice creams at the property. This is to adhere to our policy of offering food made from the freshest ingredients. Additionally, we are also looking at

acquiring the Excalibur Drying Unit for dehydrating the fruits and vegetables utilised in the kitchen," said Chef Ravish Mishra, executive sous chef, The Westin Kolkata Rajarhat. A good kitchen design needs to be energy efficient to help reduce the cooking, heating, and cooling costs. The biggest and most common problems are found in the heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system of the kitchen. Navin Kumar, executive chef of Radisson Blu, Paschim Vihar said, "Thanks to latest technology and awareness, manufacturers are coming up with sleek, but sturdy commercial state-of-the-art equipment that are well designed, environment friendly, energy-efficient. There are few international parameters to look for like, EU energy label that measures the degree of the energy usage. For refrigerators, the rating usually comes in the form of A+ or A++ depending on the capacity." MAKING ROOM While planning to upgrade or expand the kitchen, hoteliers need to keep several factors in mind, balancing aesthetics with functionality. A strong design will ensure that the kitchen runs smoothly and effi-


ciently and for this the key lies in planning well in advance of the service opening time. “We all know that we need great staff, solid equipment and a chef who knows what they are doing, but a vital part of operation is the design of commercial kitchen. Both food and non-food commodities need to be kept in a place that is free from contamination and in the right temperature, depending upon the product. Likewise, whether you are processing a fillet of fish or you are chopping tomatoes, it is vital to segregate different types of food during prep and as well as storing,” said Hati. The front of the house staff should have rapid and safe access to the pass (pick up counter) without disrupting the kitchen flow. Another aspect to consider are after-service and continuous rolling of crockery, cutlery and glasses, which will help in rapid service in the restaurant. Emanuela Tavolini, director of sales,

Europe, Graff explained that her company develops kitchen products to satisfy any request coming from the hospitality sector. “The Sospiro collection for the kitchen, for example, is offered as a single hole and as a bridge option to suit a contemporary style as well as a more transitional style. Furthermore, it is available in a smaller version to suit the bar area.” NOW TRENDING The smart kitchen may not be a new concept in the food industry because a lot of food companies are now using equipment, which are all functioning with the latest technologies. Hoteliers are now looking at smart appliances from ware washers and ventilation systems to oven and refrigerators that do self-diagnostics and track performance. "In 2018, some of the latest trends which will gain popularity will be sous vide and quick chilling ice cream units as well as evaporators. Equipment related to molecular gastronomy is also gaining momentum,” opined Mishra. Ovens with self-cleaning system are also expected to be common. “Business owners are realising that multi-utility machines are revolutionising the kitchen experience and changing the way commercial kitchens should function. However, as the machines come at a onetime heavy cost, thus the hotel management needs

to analyse and justify its long-term utility and return on investment,” said Datta. WiFi and internet-enabled kitchen equipment are trending. Some companies also have kitchen equipment apps where you can file complaints, look for recipes and other functions. Smart kitchens, colour-coded cabinet, streamlined designs, effective storage solutions, modern appliances and single-level multipurpose kitchen islands are other key trends. “Now that the open kitchen concept and front-of-house prep have become commonplace, you will see a lot of visually appealing equipment showing up. This includes ovens and fryers in bright colours as well as sleek touchscreens replacing knobs and buttons. In terms of size, you do not have to go for traditional sizing any longer. It seems like the sky is the limit with variety,” said Jha. In fact, he predicts that this year larger kitchen islands will come to the forefront. These will have storage solution cabinets and be fitted with various under-counter appliances while also providing seating– serving as a casual dining and/or drinking bar. To accommodate the increased size, we are seeing a tendency for the kitchen island to extend into living room spaces in homes with open plan designs. This ensures the kitchen island can be multifunctional without cluttering up space in the kitchen.

Navin Kumar, executive chef of Radisson Blu, Paschim Vihar.

Gopal Jha, executive chef, Grand Mercure Bangalore.


A good kitchen design needs to be energy efficient to help reduce the cooking, heating, and cooling costs.



The criteria for selecting suppliers are important as there are different types of suppliers in the market for different products.

Ravish Mishra, executive sous chef, The Westin Kolkata Rajarhat. STRIKING A BALANCE While keeping an eye on the functionality, hoteliers also need to ensure that the cost element is kept under control, especially during procurement, long time usage and maintenance. All this has a bearing on the capital expense. “For most of the equipment we buy, aesthetics is not our priority. Our chefs need to be comfortable, while the machine’s effectiveness and durability as well as its cost are also borne in mind,” opined Datta. The common denominator for maintaining the most expensive appliances is simply the act of cleaning them efficiently. Chef Nishesh Seth, executive chef, Le Meridien Goa Calangute averred, “While procuring new equipment, I read up on trends, discuss products with my peers for industry feedback and also visit industry expos to get a better understanding about them. I also take an active interest in understanding its


Subrao Hati, corporate chef, VIST Hotels Worldwide. durability, after-sales service, access and availability of spare parts, training and demos for my handlers by the manufacturing company is factored in before the final purchase is made.” VENDOR SELECTION Naturally, the criteria for selecting suppliers for kitchen equipment products and solutions are important as there are different types of suppliers available in the market for different products. “Choosing he suppliers who can meet your consumers’ demand for higher-quality products may bring some increase in initial costs, but it will pay off over time through consistent, high-grade quality. However, the process of finding the ideal supplier is often not easy and requires discipline and hard work,” advised Jha. While suppliers are associated with big brands, there are others who manufacture and assemble equipment locally. Ho-

teliers prefer to work with suppliers who are open to suggestions and are able to design the equipment as per their requirements. “Usually, we prefer to continue with existing suppliers. However, while choosing a new supplier, we keep in mind a couple of things, like reliability and responsiveness, timely delivery, market and industry certification, and product quality for the price offered,” said Datta. While outlining the criteria his company keeps in mind, Wadhawan added, “We look at their association with renowned brands, their technical know-how and their ability to deliver all the international latest kitchen equipment within the required time frame.” SPACE SAVERS After procuring the equipment, the optimum usage depends on the location where it is placed. To ensure the equipment is placed in the right location, it is best to refer to the master kitchen design. Although every kitchen comes with their own challenges, the this blueprint ensures all the equipment are placed ergonomically. “The equipment should also be placed considering the chef and other kitchen staffs’ easy movement across the workstations. It should be strategically placed keeping in mind the heating and cooling appliances as well as the area’s ventilation,” Datta stated. Ventilation, in fact, is a key factor in equipment selection and kitchen design. Equipment such as hearth ovens, rotisserie ovens woks might bring excitement to a display kitchen, but they often require heavy ventilation. Many kitchens now feature induction cooktops and ventless fryers and grills to balance the exhaust demands. “The basic principle of ergonomic design calls for employees to expend the least amount of energy to complete the most tasks in the shortest amount of time. An under-counter freezer, for example, must be placed right beside the deep fryer. This allows the fry cook to retrieve foods and place them in the fryer with little effort. The chef doesn't even have to take a step,” said Jha. With such science built into the design, development and procurement and placement, the culinary staff is free to rustle up a storm. And when they are not breaking into a sweat, it’s a good time to ask them, “What’s cooking?” HI




SPECTRUM OF OPPORTUNITIES The Hotelier India F&B Conclave 2017 brought together stakeholders from across various verticals to delve on the latest trends, opportunities and challenges in the F&B industry


one-of-a-kind conference in the hospitality industry – the F&B Conclave 2017, organised by Hotelier India – witnessed the participation of over 200 delegates that included leading chefs, culinary experts, F&B professionals, restaurateurs, hospitality designers and consultants. The day-long event that created a holistic platform addressing a range of topics and issues prevalent in this segment was held at JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity on 20 December, 2017. Focussing on ‘celebrating India’s next generation of innovative F&B leaders’, the conclave revolved around discussing current trends, strategies and emerging business opportunities, best practices


and experiences from experienced minds hailing from divergent verticals across the F&B spectrum. Some of the top hospitality experts took the lead in sharing their thoughts and ideas with participants from leading brands in the country. Kick-starting the conclave with her opening address, Gurmeet Sachdev, director, ITP Media India, evoked the focal discussion for the day – about how innovations and evolving trends in Indian hotel industry are largely driven by the F&B segment. “There are many other factors affecting the world of F&B today. To stay competitive and relevant, restaurant operators have to stay constantly updated with the ongoing market shifts, technological advances, and regulation changes. It’s equally critical, today, to

meet diners’ expectations while staying true to the concept’s identity and simultaneously file profits for the business,” asserted Sachdev. In the ensuing special address, Wilson Jebaraj, senior general manager, commercial refrigeration, Blue Star, led the audience through a brief snapshot of the brand and its offerings. As the hospitality partner for the conclave, Nitesh Gandhi, general manager, JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity, welcomed the attendees in anticipation of witnessing a great day defined by knowledge sharing. After the success of his ‘In conversation’ segment in the first edition of the F&B conclave held in Mumbai, the forum was honoured to once again have Zorawar Kalra, founder and managing director,






Bibhor Srivastava, group publishing director, ITP Media India, in conversation with Zorawar Kalra, founder and MD, Massive Restaurants.




Coloured Logo

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Wilson Jebaraj, senior GM, commercial refrigeration, Blue Star.





Ashish Bajaj, director, enterprise sales, India & SAARC, Harman International.

Massive Restaurants, on board its third edition. Invited to exchange dialogues with Bibhor Srivastava, group publishing director, ITP Media India, Kalra, during the session, particularly deliberated the various evolving and ongoing trends in the F&B industry. Concluding his discussion, Kalra shared his belief with the upcoming hoteliers present at the conference, stated, “We all were born to do what we love doing. So if you dream of running a hotel or restaurants of your own in future, just give it a shot.” PANEL DISCUSSION I: HOTEL & RESTAURANT - F&B TRENDS, STRATEGIES AND OPPORTUNITIES Following a short tea break, the first panel discussion commenced, which revolved around the topic – Hotel & Restaurant - F&B trends, strategies and opportunities. This discussion constituted

a panel of power-packed CEOs, leading restaurant owners and change makers in the hospitality industry. Gandhi proceeded to introduce the members and posed questions, respective to their individual field of expertise and background, in order to learn and bring out the best ideas. The session started with Katriar shedding light on how excellence and growth can be balanced in an holistic manner. Being a food-lover himself, while simultaneously being a part of the cycle, he mentioned that the key is to maintain this very balance – “Through the day, we concentrate on doing things right, but at the end of the day, we are expanding too. So, basically, numbers are just an outcome of the excellence that is put to work.” Being a young entrepreneur and founder of a franchise management company, Kanan was asked to share his best adopted practice. He answered this

question by explaining what they do as a firm: “The franchising capabilities of our country are pretty naive. However, we decided to provide adequate support to franchise owners in term of defining brand strategies, infrastructure, and supply chain management, etc. – thereby striving for sustainability for each of the respective companies.” Lamba, the director of an entertainment brand for hospitalities, was asked to deliberate the importance of cuttingedge technology and entertainment in today’s restaurant scenario. “I think entertainment is a huge factor that can bring in the crowd to the restaurants – coaxing them to spend more quality time through various form of art like comedy, music, fashion or literature, has gained immense popularity. What worked for us is that our customers look forward to what is coming up every day, rather than just visiting





us for the food served,” he explained. Responding to the question about the biggest disruptor for established restaurants, Suri mentioned “In today’s scenario, where time plays a critical role, in my opinion, the convenience of delivery is the biggest disruptor. We are looking at setting up shadow kitchens to service nooks and pockets; the key is to be consistent and serve quality food.” Varma was asked if there is a need for implication on regulations regarding food safety and hygiene of restaurants. He responded, “From quality point of view, there is lot of work that is happening with regards to regulations and control. But, I believe, the licensing procedure needs

1st Panel Discussion Members  Anurag Katriar, CEO and ED, deGustibus Hospitality  Karan Tanna, founder, Yellow Tie Hospitality  Viraj Lamba, co-founder and director, Funbars

to be made easy and efficient.” Talking about the liquor ban in Delhi and the best way forward, Chadha stated, “Such disruptions are going to keep happening; the way forward is to continue doing our basics right.” With manpower being one of the most important pillars in the industry, Agarwal opined that, “With the changing trends, we need to continuously keep training our human resources. They need to be knowledgeable about the changing fads, consumer food preferences, schedule and entertainment of the restaurant so that they can appropriately service their customers efficiently.” As the discussion ended, the panel members were felicitated and offered thanks for their undeniably insightful inputs. Following the discussion, Tarun Khattar, business development director (South Asia) and Veeranuch Trangtrakul, product group manager, on behalf of Lucaris, spoke about their flagship products and offerings for the hotel industry.

Hospitality (FLYP@MTV Café)  Kabir Suri, co-founder and CEO, Azure Hospitality  Raghav Varma, co-founder, Sunshine Teahouse

(Chaayos)  Sanjay Chadha, founder and director, Palms Hospitality  Ankush Agarwal, director, business development,

Harman International Moderator: Nitesh Gandhi, general manager, JW Marriott Hotel New Delhi Aerocity Delegates and fraternity members attending and networking at the Conclave.

PANEL DISCUSSION II: EVOLVING TRENDS AND INNOVATION IN THE F&B SERVICE INDUSTRY The second panel discussion, moderated by Michel Koopman, General manager, The Leela Ambience Gurugram Hotel & Residences, delved on understanding the ‘evolving trends and innovation in the F&B service industry’ from highly regarded chefs of various restaurants.

Panel members of the first session – (l To r) Nitesh Gandhi, Karan Tanna, Anurag Katriar, Sanjay Chadha, Raghav Varma, Viraj Lamba, Kabir Suri, and Ankush Agarwal.


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Speakers of the second panel – (l to r) Michel Koopman, Abhishek Gupta, Arun Sundararaj, Manisha Bhasin, Vivek Bhatt, Alexander Moser, Anupam Banerjee, Manish Sharma and Michael Swamy.

2nd Panel Discussion Members  Manisha Bhasin, senior executive chef, ITC

Maurya,New Delhi  Arun Sundararaj, executive chef, The Taj Mahal Hotel,

New Delhi  Manish Sharma, executive chef, The Oberoi Gurgaon  Anupam Banerjee, executive chef, The Ritz-Carlton,

Bangalore  Alexander Moser, executive chef, Andaz Delhi  Michael Swamy, chef patron at Nueva and food

Veeranuch Trangtrakul (left) and Tarun Khattar from Lucaris.


Pesi Engineer, GM India of Scott Zwiesel felicitating Abbas Saxena of Taj Mahal Mumbai with the Sommelier of the Year 2017 from Editorial Choice Award. Koopam was eager to know about the global culinary trends that have surfaced over the previous year. “Global cuisine as a whole is driving towards sustainability; there’s a recurrence in the basics and simplicity that dominated food through the erstwhile years. The presentation could be more different and modern, but the ingredients that consumers favour today are more elemental,” expressed Sharma. To which Moser agreed and added, “I believe, a mindful menu and making the best out of the locally-sourced ingredients can go a long way. We, hence, work very closely with farmers.” Talking about mindful menus and soulful foods, Bhatt explained, “Transparency is playing a very important role today. The customers


want to know the real history behind the food being served – how it is prepared and procured, if there is any particular cooking style involved, etc. This way, they connect and believe in the brand more. Soul food, for me, is one that not only satiates the body, but also the mind.” Continuing on the same thread, Sundararaj added, “Given that, guests nowa-days, are very aware and conscious about the food they consume, keeping up with all the latest ingredients and generating ways to add them in our menus is challenge and a global trend that we are witnessing. Another hurdle is to make the new product interesting, create a story, market it well and sell it.” Touching upon the personnel statistics in the industry, Bhasin was questioned about why the industry is witnessing a low influx of women in the profession and how this can be changed. To which she iterated that, “There has definitely been an increase of women entry in the kitchens. It is actually about the mindset; any girl working equally well, equally hard to a man will stand out no matter what.” Banerjee claimed that the F&B industry is driven by chefs and they are the ones who bring in newer concepts and put it on the plate. Koopam asked him if there

 Abhishek Gupta, executive sous chef, The Leela

Ambience Gurugram Hotel & Residences  Vivek Bhatt, executive chef, JW Marriott New Delhi

Aerocity Moderator: Michel Koopman, former general manager, The Leela Ambience Gurugram Hotel & Residences.

is any scope of betterment for chefs’ as of today. “In India, if we really need to better ourselves and the F&B industry, we need a compliant and a closer fraternity.” Agreeing on the same, Swamy said, “We need to share our knowledge – spending time with catering institutions, conducting workshops, etc, helps contribute to the industry as this is where new talent is being nurtured.” Before closing for lunch, Himanshu Lodha, founder & director, AH International, gave a short presentation on how the chefs, owners, facility managers and people from other verticals of the industry can gain from the offerings of AHI. PANEL DISCUSSION III: F&B OPERATIONS: LATEST TRENDS, INNOVATIONS AND ANALYSIS NEEDED TO SUCCEED IN TODAY’S MARKET Post the networking luncheon, the third and final panel discussion of the day was


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Panel members of the third panel the delved on latest trends, innovations and analysis in F&B operations needed to succeed in today’s market – (L to R) Umesh Dalal, Alok Kaul, Tanveer Kwatra, Amlan Ghose, Nikhil Mangal, Sanjay Verghese and Saji Thachery.

3rd Panel Discussion Members  Saji Thachery, F&B director, The Taj Mahal Hotel, New

Delhi  Sanjay Verghese, director materials & food safety,

The Imperial, New Delhi  Nikhil Mangal, head-F&B service, The Oberoi Gurgaon  Tanveer Kwatra, director of cuisine, W Goa  Alok Kaul, director-operations, JW Marriott New

Delhi Aerocity  Amlan Ghose, MD, Prologic First

Moderator: Umesh Dalal, F&B director, Crowne Plaza Gurgaon Himanshu Lodha, founder and director, AH InternationaL.

scheduled around the topic ‘F&B Operations: Latest trends, innovations and analysis needed to succeed in today’s market’. Umesh Dalal, director- food & beverage, Crowne Plaza Gurgaon, took on the reins to direct the flow of discussion that included renowned speakers, who are F&B managers and heads of eminent restaurants in India. Shedding light on some of the upcoming and ongoing trends of the F&B industry, Thachery stated that being rooted to basics is important, but at the same it is also important to innovate and modernise the dishes to fulfil the upcoming clientele demands. “Standalone restaurants, today, are completely abreast with the latest innovation and creativity as compared to long-established hotels and their in-house restaurants. Taking it as an encouraging aspect, we (in-house restau-


rants of five-star hotels) too should look forward to incorporating innovation and technology in our practices.” A globe-trotter himself, Kaul was asked to deliberate the many things that hoteliers should do to improvise on their customer experience. “Guests, today, have travelled extensively to different countries and hence have developed a palette beyond their regular cuisine. Basically, it is not only about the food, but the ambience. It is also very important for the restaurateurs to understand the culture and wants of the locality and serve accordingly,” he replied. Talking about how social media can boost and influence today’s food business, Mangal rightly pointed out that, “The contribution of social media is more measurable when specific targeted campaigns are held. To make social media ef-

forts more meaningful, rather than being granular, the content should be driven by the interest of customers or guests.” With a career spanning over two decades, Ghose, too, has been proficiently providing technological support to the F&B segment and beyond. He said: “Today, technology is aiding us with more strategic information and tools to manage and expand the business. Business analytics are being integrated with constantly evolving artificial intelligence to enable efficient understanding, operations and faster service. Putting into action this collected data, is very essential for the growth of the segment.” In today’s age of rapid evolution and international competition, Verghese was asked about how they deal with issues related to procurement. “The operating teams should be converted to enablers, because operations, at the end of the day, make money and that is where procurement begins. Operations should be intelligent, efficient and cost effective at all times,” he explained. Following the last panel discussion, Ashish Bajaj, Director Enterprise Sales - India & SAARC, Harman International, briefly presented his points on how hoteliers and restaurateurs can simplify customer experience with products, tools and offerings by Harman. The conclave marked its end with discussions that touched upon innovations, best practices and betterment theories within the hospitality industry for its development. HI


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GAINING THE EDGE Raheel Ahmad, culinary director (APAC), Marriott International, guides us through the company's journey to deliver and improve customer service in the F&B segment BY GURMEET SACHDEV

You head close to 300 properties and 22 brands of Marriott; what has been your biggest challenge? Handling 300 properties is never easy, and with another 100 properties in the pipeline, yes, we do face immense challenges. Finding skilled resources and talent is one of the most critical aspect for the growth and development in the company and that is one vertical we are focusing on a lot – how to engage them and get the best people on board, etc. Also, the scale in itself is humongous. Physically handling so many hotels and chefs is quite challenging at times and then to maintain the desired standards and quality is another additional aspect.


So, in order to combat that we have a plan of action in place – we have charted out various development programs – conducting workshops and training sessions, etc. This has immensely helped boost the performance and efficiency of our resources. Standalone restaurants today have become a major competition to in-house hotel restaurants. How are you addressing this competition? One of the biggest problems with restaurants in five-star hotels is that we complicate tasks by doing too many things to match up to the domain we operate in. But as a company we, now, have re-

alised some key facts – after a thorough research we’ve listed down some of the best characteristics of standalone properties and their USPs and are trying to adapt them within our own action plan. For example, when it comes to the profitability part – many international hotel brands in India are managed on franchise basis. Hence, delivering profits for the owners is a very important aspect. Whatever the investment is, they need to get that money back. Thus, looking at each of our P&L statements, the major difference what I have noticed these days is that many hotels owners don’t compare their P&L in percentages now. They look at the figures and focus mainly



on the topline. If the topline is good – i.e. if the restaurants are packed with customers and there are good reviews from them – then I don’t think you need to worry about the cost and other aspects. Yes, of course cost is important when you do the analysis – but at the end of it, it’s mainly the topline that matters the most. Many hotels today are adopting this strategy and going forward, we definitely aim to be ahead of them in this game. What is your one key strategy in this game? As always, the game plan to succeed is always a combination of various factors, and not just one or two. In our domain, several factors need to be taken into consideration – the concept, the marketing strategy and how well the social media platforms are managed, how actively the customers are involved, how the staffs are hired – be it a good craftsman or a bartender, etc. All these aspects come together to create a success story. If these can be worked upon to build a strong foundation, I am sure that with the kind of talent we have, the kind of design, resources and develop-

ment team we have, we can easily compete with them; it’s not rocket science. What is the contribution of the F&B segment to the hotel’s revenue? Globally, it is close to INR 15-16 billion, which basically sums up to 35-40%. As compared to other regions, Asia-Pacific markets have recorded one of the highest growth and generated maximum revenues from their F&B sector. And we still have the ability to grow further. There are many hotels that record higher revenue percentage from their F&B segment than from their rooms; this obviously varies with the hotel's size too. How do you choose your procurement partners? It all depends on parameters set by the hotel, chefs and the procurement team. We, Marriott as a company, have tied up with some of the best brands in the world – right from crockery to kitchen produce to in-room products; we have best of the best brands and people who want to work with us. Given the scale and range of consumption across our properties, we deal with suppliers – right from lux-

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ury to premium to select. We also work very closely with the local vendors and producers. This is our priority, especially when it comes to F&B. We have a nationwide network of vendors and our procurement team and chefs work very closely with them on day-to-day basis and I think we’ve got a great understanding with them about our needs. So I don’t really see many challenges here. Markets are witnessing a great growth – there are lot of vendors, farmers and producers with an amazing portfolio that constitutes quality and standardised products. What are some of the latest design trends and innovations in the kitchen? A hotel kitchen is a universe in itself. We have got dedicated design and development teams, who constantly keep researching on the latest technology, space management techniques, design trends, etc. We also work closely with many international brands to know more about customisation, design, efficiency in operations, etc. Given we have our basics rights, we’ve got the best of the kitchen equipments in our hotels. HI

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THE LUXE VIBE As VP, global sales for Jumeirah Group’s Middle East and APAC region, Linda Lewis has her pulse firmly on the needs of luxury travellers. As the hotel chain tries to establish its presence in India, she discusses what guests can expect from this luxe brand BY VINITA BHATIA




While expanding its operations outside the Middle East, why did the Jumeirah Group choose to India instead of regions like Europe? We are constantly on the lookout for newer and emerging markets and we have witnessed that the luxury segment travelling out of India is very good. The understanding of luxury brands here is high, so, we decided it was a great opportunity and perfect time for us to develop this market. Also, geographically, this region is a to us; by flight, UAE is just three hours away and it has good air connectivity. Hence, we saw this as an opportunity for our hotels. In 2012, you entered into an alliance to set up a 470-room property in India. Five years later, the property has still not opened. When can we expect it to open? We are still in the development phases for that particular property. Since it is still in the developing stages, I am unable to give an opening date for it. As a hotel operator, we continue, though, to look at opportunities that would be a suitable fit for the Jumeirah brand in India. But we ensure that it fits with the brand and is at a suitable location. The property you were planning was in Mumbai, wasn’t it? Yes, there was a property in Mumbai and I would say that it is still being developed, though I don’t have any details on that. However, we would look at other key cities. I can’t comment on the exact cities but we are looking at opportunities within the market. How are you planning to tap these prospects in the country? At the beginning of 2017, we started our relationship with Blue Square and since then we have developed the team to focus upon India. That is a starting point. Also, we organised our first Indian road show in Mumbai and Delhi. That is our initial entry into the marketplace, where we are predominantly focused on primary cities. What is the nature of your engagement with Blue Square? They are assisting us with sales, marketing and PR for this market. Our directors of sales and marketing works along with Nadia Beaulieu, director of global sales, and MEASA who heads the Indian


Jumeirah Emirates Towers Hotel at Dubai. market, work closely with them. August Simon, who is our global account lead, is in touch with Blue Square on a daily basis. The agency provides with information about the best cities in the cities to navigate so that we can tap this emerging market.

their families. Through differentiated experiences and services, we are able to offer a tailored stay to our travellers. This is also because of the cities where we operate in. For e.g. Dubai is a dynamic city with numerous entertainment options that can engage all types of customers.

What are some challenges of doing business in India? Since we are new to the market, we are opening as many distribution channels to ensure that our products are available to the consumer – whether they choose to book through travel agent or our own websites. We are also keen on working with luxury companies who would fit with the Jumeirah brand, and this is where Blue Square is assisting us to connect with the right partners.

What about creating resorts in unexplored regions, rather than multi-cultural mega-cities like Dubai, since millennials are keen to visit places that are slightly off-the-map? As a brand we have opened in cities of excitement and aspiration, be it in Dubai, London, or Mallorca. I am from London myself, but I could still visit it today and find some street that I have not seen before. So, if you walk into our hotel, you will find people of all ages visiting it. At the same time, we are opening a hotel in Bali, because you can explore so much on that island – you have the beach and the rain forest. So, we are steadily working to ensure that we offer exhilarating experiences to everyone who stays at Jumeirah hotel.

How do you aim you create a brand recall amongst Indian customers? I can’t comment about the hotels in India because we don’t have any currently. But Jumeirah is known for its iconic buildings, and a good instance is Burj Al Arab, which is known globally for its design and exceptional service. This is what we offer, regardless of where we go globally. Luxury is perceived different by different guests. Millennials, for instance, seek indulgent experientals rather than genteel experience. How will your brand meet these expectations? Our hotels cater to everyone. For instance, Jumeirah Beach Hotel is a 20-year old property where guests who had stayed with their parents are now returning with

What is the nature of your recent partnership with MakeMyTrip? We just signed a booking connectivity agreement with MakeMyTrip, which allows us to have a direct connection between our system and theirs. We are in the testing phase now and we hope to go live on to that portal with the access into our system by early 2018. After that, MakeMyTrip Indian travellers can book inventory directly into the system in real time and check availability of rooms. HI




Voila F9 Gourmet, commercial kitchen, launched in Hyderabad.


ontract catering company, Voila F9 Gourmet, has launched what it claims is India's largest commercial kitchen, in Hyderabad. The facility is spread over 60,000 square feet on a twoacre plot and has a peak capacity to produce 50,000 meals daily. Voila F9 Gourmet has been in the institutional catering space since 2007 and competes with global F&B giants like Compass and Sodexo for market share. With employee strength of over 850, it produces over 25,000 meals daily for corporate employees in leading multinational companies like Google, Facebook, Deloitte, Qualcomm, D E Shaw & Co., Arcesium, Uber, etc. The company works through annual contracts and bills clients on a monthly basis. Speaking on the launch of India’s largest kitchen, Arvind Kaila, partner

of Voila F9 Gourmet said “Hyderabad is a unique market with many large campus based technology companies providing employees with a premium food offering.” Vijay Amritraj, partner and CEO, Voila F9 Gourmet said, “We are witnessing an increasing trend in the above as food becomes a differentiator not only to strengthen employee value proposition but also in improving employee satisfaction and retention. This massive facility gives us the bandwidth to double our existing production capacity and also provide the best-in-class F&B experiences to our clients.” All the meals produced at the new central kitchen in Gachibowli are transported through a fleet of trucks and served onsite at company cafeterias in buffet formats. The company follows food safety processes like HACCP and ISO 22000:2005 and also runs an in-house microbiology lab to test and monitor every food item that is produced. This facility has specialised zones for receiving, stores, sorting, preprep, hot kitchen, confectionery, butchery, quality control, dispatch, temperature controlled refrigeration and also RO and STP/ETP plants.



H International has introduced its private label, BuffetCraft, which it has conceived using local craftsmanship with international design standards to create woodenware that tells a story. With each product handcrafted to meet an hotelier’s presentation needs, the whole range of polished rustic woodenware is made especially by local talents and artisans who add their own touch of magic so that the food doesn’t just taste delicious, but looks appealing to a guest. AH International is also proud to present the Tin Tin collection by Luzerne, which elevates the intricate art of food presentation and all that it entails. Lending a look of vintage enamelware with the reassuring weight and feel of ceramics, this unique collection brings a story every time a meal is brought to the table. Cloaked in a sheen of gloss, the timeless classic of enamel ware exudes a modest sense of novelty while playfully revealing deliberate flaws on the rims. Contact: Himanshu Lodha Email:


VitrA unveils Metropole Series of bathroom furniture


itrA, a bathroom solutions brand of Eczacıbaşı Building Products Division in Turkey, has introduced its high tech and trendy bathroom furni-


ture, Metropole. The allure of this new line its elegant simplicity and smart functionality in tastefully restrained forms. Metropole range offers a wide option of washbasins made with various dimensions for maximum ease of use. These are compatible with two options, mineral cast and ceramic washbasins with the pure white colour option of Metropole furniture contributing to an elegantly natural bathroom décor. The concealed mounting allows for visual continuity and easier cleaning. The WC’s feature water-saving flushing made with a rimless WC pan.



SELL IT TO ME OZONE LAUNCHES AIRDRIVE AUTOMATIC SLIDING DOOR SYSTEM This slim system from its S series has a tiny operator of 68mm height What’s the news: Ozone, a provider of architectural hardware solutions, has launched the Airdrive, which the company claims is the world’s slimmest automatic sliding door system from its S series. This newly launched automatic door system is designed with a tiny, yet powerful, operator of only 68mm height and 135mm depth enabling it to be the slimmest in size. What’s interesting: The product is engineered with state-of-the-art technology making its slim size its core USP while maintaining performance features of a normal automatic door system. Airdrive Automatic Door System is an energy-efficient door system made in compliance with prevailing German Standards, CE standards and EU standards for low-voltage directives with max power consumption of 250W. What’s in it for hoteliers: With Airdrive Automatic Door System, 2- and 3-meter door openings can be achieved in single sliding and bi-parting door configurations respectively. It can be integrated with all access control devices for ease of operation and access requirements. It enables customers to achieve graceful architecture, whilst maintaining the

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Hoteliers have realised that the right surveillance solutions can not only ward off imminent issues, it can help them monitor and improve daily operations BY BINDU GOPAL RAO


n January this year, armed thieves stole jewels and other valuables worth â‚Ź4.5 million from Ritz Carlton Hotel in Paris. This brazen heist in one of the world's most prestigious neighbourhoods firmly brought into the spotlight the need for security solutions. In the context of the hospitality business, these solutions encompass a gamut


of needs from ensuring physical safety of people as well as property and other assets. Physical security can be broadly categorised into internal and external aspects. The former includes making provisions against theft or physical harm for all people on the premises, fire incidents, ensuring proper lighting throughout

the property, tracking unwanted guests and safeguarding assets. External security entails adequate lighting outside the building, proper fencing of the building and pool area to avoid accidents at nights, manning service gates to restrict unauthorised entry and using video surveillance to monitor all movements within and outside the hotel.



Hotels and restaurants are meant to foster an inviting and friendly atmosphere; they have to adhere to this principle, while keeping a close watch over the movements of guests and staff on the premises. This can be a challenging task for the security personnel and the front desk employees who are assigned this job. Hence, hospitality companies invest significantly in training them regularly to stay on top of the game. The first thing they are trained on is on getting the credentials of all guests checking into a hotel. “This is a strict protocol, which should be followed by every staff member and employee of the hotel. Some of the key security and surveillance concerns that hotels and restaurants face currently are lone attacks on single/solo guests, theft of merchandise or personal belongings, and other items

that are expensive or important such as documents with identity details. We are extremely clear in our instructions to guests and visitors alike. We review every detail, including keycards (room entry cards), after-hours access, maintain emergency response protocols with the local police stations and hospitals located nearby the hotel and are committed to training our employees and staff on security measure of all types,” averred Rohit Vig, MD, Staywell Hospitality Group. Rajesh Kumar, head of security, Leela Palace, Bangalore opined, "Any security and surveillance technology can only give us greater return on investment when team members are fully trained and can master its usage. It is always recommended that technology should not master the human asset. Thus, the most important training of security related information is imparted only to the security staff but also to all departments in the hotel. Additionally, multiple entry and exits to the hotel and restaurant should be avoided." SURVEILLANCE MATTERS The hospitality and tourism industries are the largest and fastest-growing industries in the world. At same time, this growth carries the risks associated with natural disasters, fire, criminal activities and many other crises that fall under accidental threats like hazardous material spills. Security is not limited to a single aspect, it is been classified into various types and safety, too, which

Rohit Vig-Managing Director StayWell Hospitality Group in India involves preventing employees and customers within the hotel property from accidental slips as well as preventing related property damage. Ashvini Kumar, safety and security manager and certified protection professional, Novotel Hyderabad Airport said, “In hotels, surveillance is the top priority as they strive to create an environment that is both welcoming and secure. However, this is not an easy task as the presence of security personnel may upset customers if they find it over-intrusive or an invasion of their privacy.” Hence, hoteliers conduct regular workshops to ensure their security force is careful to work in a sensitive and calm fashion without causing any discomfort to guests. They are also trained to conduct preventive maintenance of the surveillance systems to ensure that these function properly.




Most hotels employ myriad solutions including fire and security alarm systems, access control systems including card key, locks, safes and biometric systems. Many have conventional background screening protocols, CCTV with night vision, motion sensors and are in instant coordination with relevant authorities like fire brigade, police station. Additionally, keeping pace with technology changes, they continue to invest in surveillance systems like IP and WiFi-enabled cameras, face detection systems. Talking about these solutions, Kumar explained that video solutions include the three theoretical identification views of a CCTV system namely subject identification, action identification and scene identification. In hotels, there are specific areas where these cameras can add a great value to security, like cash counters, lobby, restaurants, guest corridors and lifts.

Rajesh Kumar, Head of Security, Leela Bangalore

“To meet these needs while installing the cameras it is important to keep some things in mind – the purpose of each camera and areas to be viewed by a particular camera, environment as this may affect the camera’s performance and its mounting. After this, the proper equipment (camera) needs be chosen as per the requirement – whether standard analogue CCD camera, IP camera, Infrared (IR) cameras or thermal camera. The recording system needs to be chosen as per the requirement – digital video recorders (DVRs), Network video recorders or server/cloud applications are some choices,” he pointed out. There are different types of CCTV cameras, like the bullet-type, dome, discreet CCTVs, infrared, varifocal, network, highdefinition, etc. The high-definition cameras are useful in dim-light areas as its lens can capture images in better details. While this equipment is important in ensuring that security is upheld in hotels, in addition to installing surveillance systems, brands continue to follow strict protocols while maintaining security measures by placing key personnel in major areas of the hotel that are accessible to the public. This includes the entrance, exit and entertainment zones, including hallways, entry corridors and parking lots. “Our security and surveillance teams are experts from the industry. The equipment leverage use is state-of-the-art technology and we keep recorded files of all our properties in a secure space. We also take time to educate our guests and visitors to be alert and look after their

Hotels follow strict protocols like placing key personnel in major areas of the hotel, including the entrance and exit.


belongings in case of any untoward incidents that may occur,” said Vig. ROI MATTERS The security of guests and employees is very important when it comes to any hotel or restaurant. Hence, the best-ofbreed products and solutions always offer better return on investment. “To ensure that products are used to their best capacity, proper training should be provided to the staff so that maximum returns on the investment can be recovered by the hotel or restaurant. Sufficient investment in cyber security and incident response plans, conducting thorough background checks of employees and monitoring their activity, video recording with metadata, monitoring subcontractors and third-party service providers, training staff to be alert about suspicious activities, creating advanced alert and notification system are some solutions used in hotels and restaurants to minimise security risks,” said Santosh J, assistant manager, VITS Hotels Worldwide. By regularly training its staff and employees on security measures, Staywell Hospitality has been successful in ensuring that it maintains a safe and secure environment for its guests. Since the hospitality sector operates on reputation, a single untoward incident can impact business. “As a brand, we can face massive losses if our security protocol measures are lacking. In the case of any untoward incident, we have a strict set of orders that are followed and the legal and police will be involved if there is an urgent need for their presence,” added Vig. THE RIGHT SUPPLIER With the plethora of security and surveillance solutions available, it is pertinent that hotels and restaurants choose the right solution provider who can provide them with the systems they require. “When choosing a vendor for these solutions, one should consider their commitment to quality, cost, additional resources and capabilities, their prior work profile, contract terms and most importantly, the confidentiality clauses to ensure that the vendor has well-defined security policies,” Santosh recommended. Ideally, before selecting a vendor or even starting the selection process, it is



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Santosh J, assistant manager, VITS Hotels Worldwide. advised that their technical and business requirements is defined and documented in detail. Hotels like also conduct an extensive research to identify potential vendors and choose the best that suit their requirements. Most hoteliers prefer working with local companies since they can provide cost-effective solutions. “We work with both local suppliers and international companies based on the scope of work. We prefer local vendors as they are more approachable than global companies,” added Ashvini Kumar. These providers partner with multiple brands to can provide a bouquet of products at viable prices with economical installation costs. Since they are locally based, technical support is quicker and they often provide online and offline support. Spare parts or other certified peripherals are also easily available. In addition to usability, post-installation, regular training of staff is important. “Usually these suppliers are committed when it comes to training our staff for use of the security and surveillance solutions and its maintenance. However, sometimes, it does happen that hotels have to follow up with the supplier to get the work done,” explained Santosh. In most cases, suppliers have quick response teams who are always ready to be present at any time of the day or night to ensure that safety measures are up-todate. Since, this is an industry that needs to be on its toes 24x7, security protocols and methods have to be monitored by the minute. While there might be some discrepancies, at the time of any crisis, hoteliers always try to ensure that their


In hotels, there are specific areas where surveillance cameras can add a great value to security, like cash counters, lobby, restaurants, guest corridors and lifts. guests are secure before anything else is taken care of.

maintain the reporting line of communication around the clock,” said Vig.

BEING EFFICIENT Considering that security is an aspect that cannot be compromised, these solutions need to perform optimally. Continuous audit has to be done on a timely basis to ensure that the solutions are working effectively and efficiently. Also the staff has to be updated and trained about any new upgradations in the system so they can ensure the smooth functioning of the solutions. Vendor visit for equipment installation and maintenance should also be well planned. For example, the baggage scanner vendor should be called only when there is low occupancy and lower guest visits are expected. In banquets, equipment should be installed or repaired or staff trained only when there are no events. “The hospitality industry is light years ahead of time in surveillance and security systems. We have a team of experts who are on standby and they also train and skill our employees. We have strict procedures when it comes to keeping our security and surveillance systems up to date. Also, every upgrade, no matter the expense, is purchased and installed to maintain a zero-tolerance environment and keep our guests safe. Every member is trained in surveillance operations and they have to

NEW VISTAS As the hospitality business booms, hoteliers will need to ensure that their security and surveillance solutions are up-to-date by reviewing it regularly. Mahendra Kumar, security manager of Anya Hotels stated that after installation, they touch base with the vendor and schedule training twice a month for their security staff. To ensure that the products and systems are well maintained, we have follow up with the service provider at regular intervals. “Our staff is thoroughly trained in system operating and routine troubleshooting. Additionally, a comprehensive AMC is in place and all necessary terms is mentioned in the AMC document. A penalty clause is also included in this is the complaint is not attended to within a particular time frame and regular checks are not carried out,” Kumar added. Hotels and restaurants have realised that by installing the right surveillance solutions, they can not only ward off imminent problems, these systems can also help them monitor and improve daily operations. What’s more they can leverage it to enhance guest experience. With so many benefits, they are leaving no stone unturned to make the most of this opportunity. HI



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Rather than creating a radical new concept in F&B, hoteliers are rethinking some existing ones to step up their game BY PRADEEP SUVARNA


ith food and beverages (F&B) contributing almost 40% revenue to a hotel’s overall revenue, this department has become the cynosure of every hotelier’s attention. While chefs work on enthralling guests with their culinary masterpieces to make them return for more, hotels are also brainstorming on strategies to generate additional F&B revenue. We speak to some F&B professionals – Shahrom Oshtori, F&B director, Sofitel Mumbai BKC, Prasad Rao, associate F&B director, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel, Powai, Sarabjeet Singh Bhalla, F&B manager, JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity and Soumitra Pahari, F&B director, Novotel Hyderabad


Airport – about the areas that hotels can leverage to shore up their profits, especially from under-utilised spaces at the property. They also reveal how companies are reinventing in-room dining (IRD) to make it more personalised in terms of food preparation and presentation, in a bid to encourage guests to order in often. Similar attention is extended to banquet meals, where food, especially appetisers, is tastefully presented and circulated. Smaller portions are served and more live counters at set up, which helps in guest engagement and also reduces wastage. Some areas in a hotel are often underutilised as F&B destinations, like the lobby. How can hotels activate these zones with different F&B experiences to maximise every square inch successfully?

Soumitra Pahari: We try to optimise the spaces in our hotel keeping the overall aesthetics in mind. These days, guests are more focused towards health and have become very careful in choosing what they eat. Hotels can utilise their lobby spaces and promote it as a health café, where the attention can be on a healthy F&B menu. The gym, too, can be used to serve healthy snacks for health enthusiasts. They can also work around the concept of tea or coffee trolley that can be moved around the lobby area to serve guests. Shahrom Oshtori: Over the years at Sofitel Mumbai BKC, we have implemented some strategies to generate revenue from under utilised spaces at the hotel. The Tea Salon and Coffee Carts at Artisan



Customising the banqueting space is the key to creating a personalised experience during an event. entice guests to purchase smaller items, either while checking in and out of the hotel, or whilst waiting at the lobby. The terrace at Jyran is a great venue during the evenings, with a city view and a space to unwind. The community tables at Artisan and Le Bar Diamantaire offer a coworking concept where people can work on their respective things while sitting in a group. The Kitchen & Herb Gardens at Pondichéry Café and Artisan are also used to decrease the carbon footprint and use organic produce. Prasad Rao: We use our lobby area regularly for activations related to F&B promotions. This includes a live station by the culinary team offering nibbles and tasters to guests returning after a long day at work. We also have an evening bar ritual where the mixologist makes a unique discovery cocktail while live drums play in the background. These activities keep the guest intrigued and create awareness about our F&B offerings, helping increase the capture ratio of residential and non-residential guests. Sarabjeet Bhalla: To stand out as an F&B destination, hotels are bringing F&B offerings beyond restaurant walls and offering unique and crafted experiences. Unconventional hotel spaces are utilised for small gatherings and hang out spots. Activities like parking food trucks at the most under utilised place to activating existing public spaces, like the lobby, banquet porch, etc are gaining momentum.

Soumitra Pahari, F&B director, Novotel Hyderabad Airport. Hotel lobbies are getting transformed into communal areas with casual, nontraditional furnishings and work spaces with snacks and WiFi. Few have also incorporated wine bars, great coffee and nibbles to encourage networking. Another hotel space that is increasingly utilised for specially curated experiences is the hotel’s presidential suite. Since these have the best views in the entire hotel, this space can turn into a premium F&B venue, especially when one considers that it doesn’t get sold every day of the year. How can IRD be made more interesting and exciting? Sarabjeet Singh Bhalla: We have made

extensive changes in our IRD in the last couple of years, emphasising on providing simple luxuries. It now offers guests selective menus straight from our K3 and Akira Back restaurants with the convenience of dining in the privacy of their hotel room. Quality control is ensured by making multiple deliveries to ensure the food is delivered warm or cold as if you were in the main onsite restaurant. Also, keeping in line with Marriott’s ‘Go local’ philosophy, JW Tiffin was introduced in three variants to give our patrons an experience of tradition four-tiered food tiffin that is extensively being used by India’s office-going population. Soumitra Pahari: We have introduced a lifestyle menu in our IRD, focusing on regular travellers who stay often in hotels. These guests want to eat simple, homestyle food rather than conventional hotel food, which can be rich. We have also introduced bento boxes to serve full square combo meals. We are exploring options to provide health conscious options, like ‘low carb’, which will make IRD a better experience. Shahrom Oshtori: At Sofitel Mumbai BKC, after analysing a guest’s profile, we curate personalised amenities for our them, such as edible chocolate frames with their photos or that of their families. A small gesture like this, when they check-in, leaves a lasting and positive impression on guests. We also pay special attention to the plating of dishes in our IRD menu, and find interactive ways to present food even with regular dishes, such as a Club Sandwich. Every IRD order is accompanied by a small beverage caddy to upsell beverage consumption in room, thereby increasing the average price per customer (APC) and revenue. Another initiative that we take is curating special IRD menu during food promotions at our F&B outlets, to give our guests a chance to experience a different cuisine. We encourage our chefs to visit guests when their orders are delivered to the rooms to take feedback firsthand and also understand the guests’ needs, much like they do in a restaurant itself. Prasad Rao: We recently launched two new IRD programmes – a ‘special dinner’ for couples and a ‘set meal’ for the busy corporate traveller – which are well appreciated. Additionally, we do not limit the IRD menu and offer everything from




our restaurant menus too. We also have an extensive beverage menu of wines and spirits for guests to choose from. Some hotels are getting free-standing restaurants to operate in their properties as the latter have the competency to manage the F&B business. Will this concept succeed in existing properties? Sarabjeet Singh Bhalla: There is no denying that free standing restaurants have hit the right chord with diners in the last five years, while hotel restaurants have been left stranded. Such arrangements (free standing restaurants on hotel premises), if executed smoothly, are beneficial for both parties. While these restaurants definitely get the advantage of a wider audience in form of hotels’ resident guests, the hotel gains by not just the revenue/rent that it earns but also by the overall reputation that translates from a successful restaurant. However, in my opinion, there is great scope for both free standing and hotel restaurants to coexist and be successful. All that is required is a good concept and a passionate restaurant team which is driven for results. I would still prefer that all restaurants that are on hotel’s premise should have my involvement in some form. Shahrom Oshtori: The cost of a franchise is high and does not seem feasible as the profits need to be shared. In addition, and more importantly, there may be inconsistencies in service standards, which may lead to a change in the guest’s perception about the hotel itself. Soumitra Pahari: It would be difficult to adapt this concept because a hotel’s restaurant and standalone restaurant have different operating and manage-

Shahrom Oshtori, F&B director, Sofitel BKC Mumbai.


Prasad Rao, associate F&B director, Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel, Powai. ment ethos. However, some attempts have been made in this direction and a few have been a bit successful. But in our view, this still has a long way to go before it becomes an absolute reality. Having said that, on-site restaurants are getting a major facelift and are becoming more contemporary and agile to compete with standalone restaurants. Prasad Rao: Each restaurant at our hotel are well-known brands and have strong recall. Free standing restaurants have their own niche in the market. Older hotels can revive their brand if they collaborate with a well-known lounge/restaurant chain to drive additional footfalls and tap the brands loyal customer base especially millennials. However, a freestanding restaurant should be executed purely on a real estate basis. These restaurants however have to adhere to the hotel’s standards of service. How can hotels create give a more personalised and restaurant kind of environment at banquets and business events? Shahrom Oshtori: We often have live stations at events and buffets that prepare small portions a-la minute, which not only helps in enhancing guest experience and also reduce wastage. Pass-around appetiser platters are decorated innovatively to make it more appealing to guests. Sarabjeet Singh Bhalla: Arranging and executing an in-fashion, inventive and exciting meeting has turned into an art form with infinite opportunities. Our ‘Meetings Imagined’ programme can help

any planner design and manage the perfect a meeting experience. For example, before starting any detailing we allocate the purpose of the meeting into the seven defined pillars of the programme, based on what the objectives of the event are. These are: Celebrate (to commemorate a milestone or accomplishment), Decide (to engage in meaningful dialogue in order to reach a decision), Educate (to learn new things or acquire new skills), Ideate (to learn new things or acquire new skills) Network (When to share ideas or meet new people.), Produce (to work together to develop a specific output) Promote (to introduce a new offering or promote a new message). Once the purpose of the meeting is defined, we look at innovative ideas to ensure that the guest experience is unparalleled. This may involve hosting a tea break at an unconventional venue (a dim sum break inside a hotel’s Asian kitchen) or converting a banquet hall into make shift spa (to depict a well-being theme break). Innovation is the key! Prasad Rao: We use a creative tool developed by ‘Meetings Imagined’, which offers multiple options of innovative setups for the guest to choose from. The website has a large selection of setups which can be utilised for business or social functions. We believe in customising the meeting based on the purpose and finalise the themes, accordingly. Customising the banqueting space is the key to creating a personalised experience during banquet/business events. For example, a setup in a conference room can be done with a good set of loungers instead of the regular seating. We offer an experiential breakfast inspired by local offerings at the poolside for corporate executives, which has been well appreciated. Soumitra Pahari: With rising awareness and reciprocity budgets, a lot of customers are keen to accept new ideas. We are working on pocket-friendly but unique innovations that will be more personalised. Traditionally, banquet meals are served standing up. To create a restaurant-like feel, we must focus on themes and concepts, which includes creative setup with engaging activities, live stations, and entertainment for guests. A lot of regional cuisine and local flavours also make the guests feel comfortable and enjoy the events.


Breakfast and brunch menus in most hotels seem to follow an uninteresting template. How can F&B heads work with chefs to create menus that set their brand apart, without always worrying about food cost? Soumitra Pahari: These days, for healthconscious guests, we can craft menus for breakfast and brunch using garden fresh, organic and vegan products, which will make us stand apart from others. Replace cut fruits with fresh whole fruits and serve it as per the guest’s need. More efforts should be put to provide healthy fresh vegetable juice and different fresh bread options. Service should be fast without being too intrusive. We are also looking at creating new thematic brunches so that guests have a lot more conversations and engagement. Shahrom Oshtori: We have implemented strategies to create exclusive dining experiences even during breakfast and brunch services. Our ‘Go Regional’ and ‘Go Local’ initiatives concentrate on showcasing the range of Indian breakfast items from different regions that can

be showcased on a daily basis. The ‘Go Higher’ strategy includes upgradation of beverages during brunch and offering innovative cocktails that our mixologists curate with the spirit of the month. We often ‘Go Live’ with percussionist to create a more animated atmosphere as opposed to just the regular live bands. Finally, we emphasise on the ‘Go Organic’ strategy and use produce from our own kitchen and Herb Garden, where fruits, herbs and vegetables are grown without the use of pesticides. Sarabjeet Singh Bhalla: The idea is to give our guests an inimitable experience, which is created by an amalgamation of hand-crafted authentic preparations which are intuitive. Using the best available local ingredients, traditional cooking customs and at the same time to stay true to our choice of international cuisine offerings, importing the most authentic ingredients. Prasad Rao: We believe in the importance of a power-packed breakfast and every morning, we host a variety of multi-cuisine offerings for our breakfast

Sarabjeet Singh Bhalla, F&B manager, JW Marriott New Delhi Aerocity. and brunch menu to provide a balanced meal to our Indian and international travellers. Additionally, as a part of our breakfast gratis, we offer unique offerings such as Basil water in a brass vessel; almonds soaked overnight, a natural power drink, Amla juice and fresh tender coconut water, which is appreciated by guests. HI

“Technology, Efficiency, Simplicity” To find out more about Electrolux Combi Ovens, Convection Ovens and Compact Ovens, please contact us at email: phone: +91 9643305245




TRIAL BY FIRE The second edition of FSIE 2018, to be held from 22-24 February at Bangalore, will address key topics related to fire safety and security


he Fire & Security India Expo (FSIE) 2018 will be held from 22nd to 24th February at Bangalore International Exhibition Centre (BIEC). The fair, which is spread across 10,500 square metres of exhibition space, will see over 150 brands display their products and solutions. The event will also have live product demonstrations along with conferences and workshops addressing key topics related to fire safety and security. Additionally, buyer-seller meetings and trade delegations are some other concurrent events that are part of the expo. The Finest India Skills & Talent (FIST Awards) 2018 in the field of fire safety and security will recognise the achievements of the innovative, reliable and cost-effective products, services and solutions spanning a wide range of fields across the fire safety and security industries. This year the

event will be co-located alongside ACREX India, an exhibition on HVAC The alliance of the three events together is expected to attract over 50,000 business visitors during the three days.

MORE ABOUT FSIE The three-day trade fair will be a part of the Build Fair Alliance, a consortium of co-located events that are proposed to be conducted at the same venue coinciding with FSIE, thereby ensuring maximum number of footfalls from stakeholders of building automation and construction industry. technology, and ISH 2018, and exhibition showcasing plumbing systems.


AWARENESS ABOUT FIRE SAFETY In India, awareness about fire safety and security has grown exponentially and intensified over the last decade as a direct result of the country’s economic evolution. With an increase in set up of large commercial factories, the stakes in terms of assets, investments and resources are too huge to be put at fire and security risk. Continuing to drive the demand for fire safety and security is also the government’s focus on infrastructure development, especially with initiatives like the Smart City Mission. Pankaj Dharkar, president, Fire & Security Association of India, said, “The Indian fire and safety equipment market is expected to reach $4.94 billion by 2019. With the increased growth of the economy coupled with the government rules and regulations, the future of the Indian fire safety and security market is very bright. Fire & Security Association of India (FSAI) along with NuernbergMesse India joined hands together to organise the first FSIE in 2017. The upcoming edition is poised to attract the largest gathering of trade professionals witnessing product demonstrations and latest innovations by the leading brands participating at FSIE 2018 from world over.” Anish Unni, director sales, fire and suppression Group, IDEX Corporation added, “IDEX India Fire & Safety decided to participate in FSIE 2018 looking at the first edition’s success. We expect a great show this year as well, and will have our

senior leadership team from Europe and USA visiting the show at Bengaluru. We have plans to have live sessions where our products will be demonstrated and look forward to meeting key decision makers from the industry.” By being the wide platform forum that it is, FSIE will bring to the fire safety & security industry, a uniquely concentrated market overview of integrated solutions for fire protection and security, especially those that intelligently combine innovation and technology. This will empower decision-makers with first-hand information, as well as open the stakeholders’ eyes to new possibilities. Sajid Desai, CEO, NuernbergMesse India shared, “FSIE’s second edition is a multi-dimensional platform that combines solutions for passive, active and organisational fire safety and security management. Here, official experts, architects and developers, MEP consultants, OEMs, security experts, building engineers, members of leading security and fire prevention bodies as well as fire safety & security representatives from retail, hospitality, real estate, facility management, and other stakeholders will disseminate information, gather knowledge, exchange ideas, exhibit, debate innovative perspectives, solutions and products for fire safety and security.” HI

The Indian fire and safety equipment market is expected to reach $4.94 billion by 2019.





GREEN WITH PRIDE A mid-19th century children’s hospital was converted into Hyatt Regency Amsterdam, with the design inspired by the city’s public gardens BY VINITA BHATIA

The façade has been restored with glazed ceramic cladding panels in golden yellow and various shades of green.


n a vibrant part of Amsterdam, a children’s hospital dating back to the mid19th century has been reborn as Hyatt Regency Amsterdam. This is the Hyatt Hotels Corporations’ third hotel in the city, after Andaz Amsterdam and Hyatt Place Amsterdam Airport. Architect Frits van Dongen of Van Dongen-Koschuch managed the conversion and restoration for this adaptive-reuse project very intelligently and sensitively. Acknowledging the city’s expansive and enviable foliage, the interiors are garbed in shades of green. What’s more, you cannot escape the floral and botanical artwork dotting the hotel, a silent acknowledgment to the public gardens. The façade has been restored with glazed ceramic cladding panels in golden yellow and various green colours (a nod once again to Hortus Botanicus, the botanical garden in the city’s Plantage district) and through the striking window units, developed and produced by Royal Tichelaar. This makes the hotel stand out in a street where the government policies


The hotel is inspired by the Plantage Area, hence, the green accents are vital to its overall design. disallow commercial establishments from displaying any prominent signage. Toni Hinterstoisser, cluster general manager of Hyatt Regency Amsterdam and Andaz Amsterdam explained, “Our hotel is very inspired by the Plantage Area, hence, the green accents are vital

to the overall design. Open spaces and nature create a space where people can relax, while staying as authentic as possible. The Plantage area is a historical green and open destination, hence, we told our designers that we wanted to bring the neighbourhood into the hotel.”



Acknowledging the city’s enviable foliage, the interiors are garbed in shades of green.

Fact File  211 guestrooms  15 suites – 13 Regency, one Ambassador and one

Spinoza suite  Mama Makan is a contemporary creation of a

Dutch Grand Café in Indonesia  Mama Makan Bar serves plants-, herbs- and spices-inspired cocktails  24/7 Market provides beverages and snacks along with local delicacies  24-hour fitness centre available for recreation  517 square meters of meeting and events space  200 square meter ballroom with pre-function area  Three meeting rooms that can accommodate up to 60 guests

ELEVATED CULINARY EXPERIENCES The hotel has two F&B outlets – Mama Makan restaurant and a bar by the same name. The brightly lit restaurant has a large cage-like cabinet that encompasses bar, chef’s table and a show kitchen. The bartender whips some interesting cocktails that are infused with botanicals, spices and herbs. But the real action of the hotel takes place in the lobby. Traditionally, lobbies in business hotels are very functional in nature. However, architects and interior designers are now transforming them into social hubs. In the case of Hyatt Regency Amsterdam, the lobby has been reconfigured as a communal space, with relaxed seating set flush against windows that look out to the street. Talking about this, Hinterstoisser said for Hyatt Regency Amsterdam this informality was a necessary element, as the brand wanted to distinguish itself from other players. “The lobby is an extension of the guest room. Within Hyatt Regency, connections are vital. We want to create energising experiences by connecting our guests to

The free-flowing spaces in the lobby, is extended to Mama Makan restaurant, and has been reconfigured as a communal space, with relaxed seating set flush against windows that look out to the street.

One cannot escape the floral and botanical artwork dotting the hotel, which find place of pride in every guest room too. who, and what, matters to them most. An open fluid lobby, functioning like a living room enhances the possibility to do so,” he said. According to him, travellers today are looking for different things. They see a hotel as an extension of their total experience, not just a place to stay. Work-life balance is getting more important for these people, especially when they are on the road. “I believe people want to have choices. At Hyatt Regency Amsterdam, we want to offer this free and fluid space to our guest in a way that they decide how to use it. Nothing is forced,” Hinterstoisser added.

This explains why the lobby is an uninterrupted, flowing space with natural daylight streaming from the front and the back of the room. To give guests a relaxing feeling on crossing the threshold of the hotel, Concrete, the design company that worked on the interiors, used a combination of wood, natural tiles and soothing light fixtures. Additionally, green rugs are used in the lobby and across various seating areas, to give people a slightly outdoor-sy feeling. Hyatt Regency Amsterdam has done a fine job of going all out to pay homage to nature. And from the design perspective, this does come like a breath of fresh air. HI





NIDHE SOOD IS REGIONAL MANAGER Relais & Châteaux has appointed Nidhe Sood as Regional Manager for India, Sri Lanka and Maldives. Relais & Châteaux is an association of 560 hotels and restaurants in over 64 countries, championing the principle of preserving local culture and diversity. With about 15 years of experience in high-end hospitality, Sood started her career with Shreyas Yoga Retreat India in 2002, a Relais & Chateaux member. A BA in Economics, she has a diploma in interior design, as well as graphic and web design.

AMIT KUMAR IS GENERAL MANAGER Amit Kumar has been appointed as General Manager of Courtyard by Marriott Pune Chakan. He was earlier the general manager for Courtyard by Marriott Raipur. After beginning his career in 2000 at the Grand Hyatt, Delhi, he joined JW Marriott Mumbai as a part of the pre-opening team. Within three years, he became assistant banquet manager. He will leverage his 17 years of experience to enhance service quality at the Courtyard by Marriott Pune Chakan.

JAIDEEP ANAND IS GENERAL MANAGER Jaideep Anand is the General Manager of The Leela Ambience Gurugram Hotel & Residences. His last assignment was with The Leela Ambience Convention Hotel, Delhi as general manager. He started his hospitality career with The Oberoi New Delhi in F&B and rooms division before joining The Oberoi Nile cruisers, Oberoi Hotels in Saudi Arabia and The Oberoi New Delhi. He led the pre-opening of three Oberoi hotels and has also worked with IHHR Hospitality and Dusit International.

GAGANDEEP SINGH IS GENERAL MANAGER Gagandeep Singh is the General Manager of Courtyard by Marriott, Agra. He was earlier the General Manager of Holiday Inn Jaipur City Centre. Over the past 15 years, he has worked with hotel chains like Intercontinental Hotel Group, Sarovar Hotel & Resorts and Accor. Singh has done his Level 5 BTEC Higher National Diploma in Hospitality Management from I.H.M.E.S , International Hotel School, Isle of Man UK.


MADHAV SEHGAL IS GENERAL MANAGER Madhav Sehgal is the General Manager of Andaz Delhi. His prior assignment was as general manager at Hyatt Regency Chennai, before which he donned several executive roles with properties like Hyatt Bangalore and the Hyatt Regency Delhi. His hospitality journey began in 2000, where he took up assignments in various management roles with hotel chains in Canada and India.

VINESH GUPTA IS GENERAL MANAGER Vinesh Gupta has joined The Den Hotel, Bengaluru as General Manager. His last stint was with Moevenpick Hotel and Resorts Bangalore and he has also worked with hotel chains like Starwood, Shangri-La, The Leela Kempinski, Hyatt and Taj Hotels Resorts and Palaces. He also spent three years working in Seychelles with Hilton managing their Labriz Seychelles Resort. Gupta has been actively involved with Hotel Schools in Education and Management, and during his time in the Seychelles, was on the board of The Seychelles Tourism Academy.

ABHISHEK RAO IS DIRECTOR OF SALES JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar has promoted Abhishek Rao to Director of Sales. He was earlier the director of catering sales and was part of the hotel since pre-opening. Rao began his career with Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel in 2006 as an executive development program trainee. He later joined JW Marriott Pune as sales centre manager before moving to JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar.

KOUMAAL KAPOOR IS MULTI-HOTEL REVENUE MANAGER AccorHotels recently appointed Koumaal Kapoor as the Multi-Hotel Revenue Manager for Novotel Pune and Mercure Lavasa. An alumnus of FHRAI-IHM’s 2009 batch, she joined the hospitality industry in 2009 as a management trainee with The LaLiT Suri Hospitality Group. In the past nine years, she has worked with various hospitality brands, including InterContinental Hotels Group and Hyatt Hotels and now brings these skills to her new profile.



SUMAN JULKA IS DIRECTOR OF SALES & MARKETING Suman Julka is the Director of Sales & Marketing of The Westin Kolkata Rajarhat. She began her career 18 years ago as a guest service officer at Grand Hyatt Delhi, after her graduation from University of Delhi. She obtained a PG diploma in PR from Bharatiya Vidya Bhawan, New Delhi and her PG in marketing from Pune’s Symbiosis University. She worked at Hyatt Regency Kathmandu, Hyatt Regency Delhi, Hotel Soul Vacation, Goa, The Grand New Delhi, The Westin Gurgaon and Hyatt Regency Gurgaon.

AKSHAY MANGLAGIRI IS MEETINGS DIRECTOR Akshay Manglagiri has been appointed as Meetings Director at Crowne Plaza Bengaluru. He started his career in the F&B department with Marriott Hyderabad and later moved to Marriott Pune. He joined Courtyard by Marriott as an events executive and was was promoted as an assistant events manager. Manglagiri joined the IHG family in 2015 as meeting manager at Crowne Plaza Ahmedabad and was soon promoted as the meetings director at Crowne Plaza Ahmedabad.

ANOOP PANDEY IS RESIDENT MANAGER The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi has appointed Anoop Pandey as Resident Manager. He started his career with The Leela Kempinski Hotels India in 2006 as a management trainee. He later moved to The Westin Hyderabad Mindspace as duty manager in 2009. Pandey has also been a part of the pre-opening phase at The Westin Gurgaon, New Delhi in 2010 and worked there for four years as front office manager. In 2014, he joined The St. Regis Mumbai as the director of rooms.

NILESH JAIN IS F&B MANAGER Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway has appointed Nilesh Jain as F&B Manager. Prior to joining Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway, he held the position of assistant F&B manager at The Oberoi Rajvilas, Jaipur. He started his journey with Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, and has worked with hospitality brands like The Oberoi, Le Meriden and The Leela Palace, over the past 12 years.

TANVEER KWATRA IS EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT MANAGER – B&F W Goa has promoted Tanveer Kwatra to Executive Assistant Manager – B&F. In his new role, he will spearhead the culinary, food and beverage operations as well as leverage and enhance the ongoing and future opportunities for the hotel. Kwatra has been a part of W Goa since its opening in 2016, when he started as the director of cuisine.

CHEF KAPIL DUBEY JOINS THE DEN HOTEL BENGALURU The Den Hotel Bengaluru has appointed Kapil Dubey as Executive Chef. He started his career with Park Hyatt Goa Resort & Spa, Goa in 2002 and then was associated with One & Only Royal Mirage Hotel, Dubai; Four Seasons Resort Landaa Giravarru Maldives; Ritz Carlton, Dubai; JW Marriott, Mumbai; The Westin Pune, Starwood Hotels, India; JW Marriott Absheron, Baku, Azerbaizan, Europe; The Westin Gurgaon New Delhi, India and Sheraton Hyderabad hotel, India.

MIGMAR LHAMO IS SPA MANAGER Sheraton Grand Bangalore Hotel at Brigade Gateway has appointed Migmar Lhamo as Spa Manager. She holds a Diploma in Beauty Culture and Ayurveda Panchakarma and has done certified courses from CIBTAC and CIDESCO. Lhamo started her career with JW Marriott Mumbai as a spa therapist in 2006. She was the assistant manager spa and recreation and part of preopening team at Jaisalmer Marriott Resort Spa.

AKSHAY PANDIT IS EXECUTIVE SOUS CHEF Akshay Pandit has been appointed as the Executive Sous Chef of Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel & Lakeside Chalet – Marriott Executive Apartments. He joins the hotel from JW Marriott Bengaluru where he served as the chef de cuisine. He has also worked with Kochi Marriott, The Westin-Chennai and The Leela Mumbai. Pandit holds a diploma from the Rizvi College of Hotel Management and Catering Technology and has participated in the Kitchen Executive Trainee Program by The Leela Palace Bangalore.




IIn 2018, leisure markets are expected to grow strongly, as more disposable income becomes available to domestic travellers.


Akash Datta,VP, JLL India, Hotels & Hospitality Group expects demand to grow strongly while the supply growth dip will continue, incentivising hotels to push the envelope on pricing


017 witnessed two major government policy decisions – demonetisation and Goods and Services Tax (GST) – and the Supreme court ruling banning sale of liquor in all commercial establishments located on the national and state highways. These negatively impacted the performance of the hospitality sector in 2017, scrunching some of the tail winds it had garnered in 2016. While this damage is expected to have little impact on 2018, the high GST tax brackets for the sector continue to remain an impediment, along with the definition of its applicability on the ‘published tariff of hotels’. The negative impact these rulings and policy decisions, combined with the ongoing systemic problems stemming from dated laws; myriad of approvals and licenses needed for the sector; high cost of capital; and high duties levied continue to remain an

STAR MARKETS Pune and Bangalore, along with Ahmedabad, were the star growth markets of 2017. Ahmedabad witnessed growth in RevPAR of 21%, while Pune and Bangalore witnessed 11.5% and 10.6% respectively. Mumbai, though, was the most expensive commercial hotel market in the country, growing at 5.4% in RevPAR and averaging at INR 7,960 ADR and 75% occupancy.


Akash Datta, VP, JLL India, Hotels & Hospitality Group. overarching concern in 2018. Despite complexities surrounding the sector, all major hotel markets in the country witnessed growth in 2017 performance, on the back of either strong growth in occupancy or ADR or both, to make it the best performance since the start of the hotel markets decline in 2010. A key component of the strong growth was the blend of strong growth in demand and a dip in development and opening of new hotels in 2017. UP FOR GROWTH A major indicator of demand growth was the recent release in number of Foreign Tourist Arrivals (FTA) by the Ministry of Tourism, which highlighted a 16% increase in FTA, reaching 10 million for the first time ever in the country’s history. The

reverse trend of demand growing strongly and supply growth dipping is expected to continue in 2018. This will incentivise hotel markets to further push the envelope on pricing, a laggard on the sector. The leisure sector in 2017 continued its bull run with markets such as Goa continuing to remain the most expensive hotel market in the country, two years running. Jaipur witnessed the strongest growth in RevPAR after Ahmedabad – by 12.2 % in RevPAR due to a healthy mix of 6.3% growth in occupancy and 5.6% in ADR. The dominant position of the leisure sector in 2017 was partially due to smaller penetration of hotel supply in the market, and to some degree due to strong demand from domestic travellers. In 2018, leisure markets are expected to grow strongly, as more disposable income becomes available to domestic travellers. Leisure markets are also anticipated to grow faster than commercial markets in 2018. SET TO TRANSACT Majority of the hotel markets in the country are commercial in nature, making them key to the performance of the sector. In 2017, all major commercial markets witnessed growth in their performance either through a mix of growth in occupancy and ADR or through individual growths in ADR and Occupancy. The former trend was noticeable in most commercial markets, except for in Gurgaon, where RevPAR declined by 0.2% and in Kolkata where occupancy declined by 1.3%. The decline in development of new hotel supply stems from the barriers imposed on the sector by the macro environment. As a result, the transaction market for operating assets has emerged bigger in the decade, peaking in 2015 at INR 1,992 crore. While 2016 and 2017 continued to fall short of the 2015 achievement, 2018 is set to establish a new record. In 2017, the market witnessed INR 971 crore worth of transactions in operating hotels, down from INR 1,050 crores in 2016. In 2018, nearly $1 billion worth of hotel assets are set to transact. The market is also set to witness the return of the ‘Yield Investor’, as performances in most markets are allowing hotels to generate sufficient yield for investors to take cognisance, and more so as interest rates are on a declining trend. Good times, they are a-coming! HI




16 27 38 49 510

second Marriott

Seasonal Tastes on the

10th floor focuses on serving fresh food tailored to every guest’s taste.


International hotel and Westin Hotels in East India.

2,000 square meters is

Vikram Singh Chauhan is the

dedicated to wellness, including the Heavenly Spa by Westin and WestinWORKOUT.

general manager of the property.


All guest rooms and suites offer an unobstructed view of the Kolkata skyline. Each room features the signature


The helipad provides easy accessibility to special guests participating in MICE and other events in the hotel.

Superfood Rx is a specially curated menu for healthconscious guests.

Heavenly Bed, designed to promote superior sleep.


Heavenly Bath offers a curved shower rod and White Tea Aloe bath amenities.


A 105-feet tall ‘Face

of Spirituality’

mural starts from the ground floor Atrium and extends to the hotel’s 10th floor.


Hotelier India February 2018  

Hotelier India provides business intelligence to hoteliers, owners, operators and key management personnel in the hospitality domain. This m...

Hotelier India February 2018  

Hotelier India provides business intelligence to hoteliers, owners, operators and key management personnel in the hospitality domain. This m...