StiR.mag Issue #4

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Editorial Team Eelco Böhtlingk Catherine Ker

Unlock a World of Content: Scan the QR Code to Explore This and Previous Issues

Jessica Lu

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Zarra Barki George Blower Stuart Clarke Nicole Cohn Richard Cohn Adam Crocini Hannah Davies Hanine Daou Beth Goodwin Cody Hochheiser Angel Hu Sean Kaplan Marie McAllistar Fayaz Nazeer Jonathan Ong Kevin Quinn Jacob Schaffer Joep Sondeijker Dian Widjaja

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With Our Gratitude Alison Cavatore Dina Galperson Anu Saxena Jason Williams

Graphic design

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Issue 1

One of the many great shots from The Lobby Bar Book photo shoot. See page 66.

StiR.mag is a publication by the Hilton Global Brand F&B Team for our Hilton Team Members Worldwide. We offer a backstage pass to our work and the world of F&B development.


This Issue

Anu Saxena on 2023 Procurement trends and the role of HSM

08 Global Team Introduction



FAQ on StiR Creative Collective by Hilton

Sustainability ~ The Role We Play



Hilton Columbus Downtown ~ A New Tower and F&B Destination in the Midwest

Proof and Co. Partnership

68 The Lobby Bar Book ~ Behind the Scenes at a Cocktail Shoot

62 Transportive Design in Food & Beverage ~ Harnessing the Senses

82 A Modern Approach to Uniforms

It gives me great pleasure to introduce our latest issue of StiR. mag, the first of 2023. As our hotels around the world continue to welcome guests back to the new golden age of travel, our Global Brand Food and Beverage team is postured to deliver the most dynamic and cuttingedge concepts, programs, and partnerships to our hotels. In a recent note from Matt Schuyler, Hilton’s Chief Brand Officer, he said “A great culinary experience can often be the hallmark of a great stay, and now more than ever, guests are seeking best-in-class food and beverage to complement their hotel stay. A great F&B strategy is critical in delivering the most reliable and friendly stays and is one of the most important differentiators we can offer our guests” Well, Matt, I couldn’t agree more! That is why our team around the world is investing in the development of branded concepts, contemporary retail experiences and one-of-a-kind partnerships like the James Beard Awards to elevate Hilton and our hotels food and beverage programs.

We kick off Issue 4 with Anu Saxena who provides insight into the ever evolving and dynamic world of global procurement and the power of HSM. In addition, we spotlight the new Hilton Columbus Downtown, which is setting the cities new standard for food and beverage with FYR and its craft cocktail bar, Stories on High. Speaking of cocktails, we know the importance a great cocktail experience has on our guests’ stay. Now more than ever our guests our expecting to find craft cocktails served over a perfectly clear piece of ice in a beautiful glass, executed to perfection, wherever they travel. To continue to raise the bar (pun intended) we will take you behind the scenes with our newest partner, Proof and & Company’s Proof Creative as they redefine the signature ritual across our Global Portfolio of Waldorf Astoria Peacock Alley lounges and bars. Last, but certainly not least, we know the power of delivering a dynamic F&B concept comes by harnessing the senses to define and immerse our guest in the experience. Join Beth Goodwin as she takes us on a journey of the senses as they tell the story of a well planned and executed concept. This issue is bursting with insight and thought-provoking, educational content that brings a fresh light and new perspective on our ever-evolving industry. I hope you enjoy, take pleasure and gain inspiration.

Sincerely, Adam


The Team Welcome to the Global Brand F&B Team. This exceptional group is made up of best-in-class industry leaders that all share a common interest — a love and passion for food and beverage. Get to know the team as we share our professional stories.

Adam Crocini Senior Vice President, Global Head F&B Brands Adam is the Senior Vice President and Global Head of Brand Food & Beverage at Hilton where he oversees the strategy, development and innovation for Hilton’s food and beverage experiences across Hilton’s portfolio of 18 world-class brands. Prior to Hilton, Adam spent close to 30 years in restaurant operations and brand development for Wolfgang Puck and Las Vegas Sands Corporation.

Americas Full-Service, Lifestyle & Luxury

Eelco Böhtlingk Senior Director, Brand F&B Development

Catherine Ker Director, Brand F&B Development

Richard Cohn Director, Brand F&B Development

Eelco leads the Americas Full-Service, Luxury and Lifestyle Brand Food & Beverage Team and development. In his work, he applies a lens influenced by 20+ years of F&B management and development experience. His career has led to residencies in the Netherlands, United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong and the U.S, and with that an appreciation for global issues and regional nuances.

Catherine leads Americas Full-Service Food & Beverage Brand management and development. Prior to her time at Hilton, Catherine spent 10+ years in independent restaurant operations in Washington D.C., New York and Philadelphia ranging from Michelin-starred fine dining to neighborhood mainstays. Catherine is a member of the Court of Master Sommeliers and Les Dames d’Escoffier.

Richard leads Americas Lifestyle & Luxury Food & Beverage Brand management and StiR Creative Collective by Hilton’s growth and development. Before Hilton, Richard worked in several fast-casual restaurant start-up companies in the Washington D.C. area.


Americas Full-Service, Lifestyle & Luxury

Nicole Cohn Senior Manager, Brand F&B

Beth Goodwin Manager, Brand F&B Development

Jacob Schaffer Manager, Brand F&B Development

Nicole manages Americas Enterprise and Brand Food & Beverage projects for Americas Full-Service, Lifestyle and Luxury brands. She has 10+ years of operational excellence and creative direction experience. She was behind the creative design and execution of numerous high-profile events such as corporate customer retreats at the 2019 and 2020 Academy Awards, the Times Square New Year’s Eve celebration and Super Bowl LIII and LIV.

Beth manages Americas Lifestyle and Luxury Brand Food & Beverage development. Previously, Beth worked in restaurant development for Mario Carbone‘s Major Food Group and was a culinary consultant for Soho House and Maison Premiere.

Jacob manages Americas Lifestyle Brand Food & Beverage development and StiR Creative Collective by Hilton. Prior to Hilton, Jacob worked in restaurant operations and development for leading organizations across Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and New York City.

Americas Full-Service, Lifestyle & Luxury

Cody Hochheiser Manager, Brand F&B Development

Jessica Lu Analyst, Brand F&B Development

Marie McAllister Analyst, Brand F&B Development

Cody manages Americas Full-Service Brand Food & Beverage development. He came to Hilton after earning his MBA from Cornell University. Before grad school, Cody spent eight years in restaurants, from casual counterservice to fine dining, in FOH restaurant roles and in corporate business development functions.

Jessica Supports Americas Full-Service Brand Food & Beverage management and development. In her work she leverages key restaurant industry trends. Prior to joining Hilton, she held roles in a variety of fields including government consulting, renewable energy and marketing.

Marie supports Americas Lifestyle & Luxury Brand Food & Beverage management and StiR Creative Collective by Hilton. Her previous experience has been based in luxury hotel operations with Four Seasons.


Americas Focused-Service & All-Suites

Stuart Clarke Senior Director, Brand F&B Programs

Kevin Quinn Senior Manager, Brand F&B Programs

Sean Kaplan Manager, Brand F&B Programs

Stuart leads the Americas Focused-Service and All Suites Brand Food & Beverage Team and Program development. Stuart is a WSET- and BarSmartscertified professional with extensive global F&B management experience. He has spent the past 10 years developing large-scale program rollouts such as Breakfast, Evening Reception and All-Inclusive packages for Princess Cruises and Hilton’s Focused-Service and All Suites Brands.

Kevin manages Food & Beverage initiatives and programs for Americas Focused-Service and All Suites brands, and development of Tempo’s F&B program. His understanding of F&B operations comes from experience at two fivestar, five-diamond hotels with Four Seasons. Further experience includes leadership at Founding Farmers and restaurant technology experience with leading omnichannel solutions.

Sean manages Food & Beverage initiatives and programs for Americas Focused-Service and All Suites brands. Sean has an extensive background in executing F&B initiatives and brand standards across major hotel chains, restaurants, airlines, as well as managing F&B outlets across the Walt Disney World Resort.

Europe, Middle East and Africa

Hannah Davies Senior Director, Brand F&B Development

Fayaz Nazeer Senior Director, Brand F&B Development

George Blower Senior Manager, Brand F&B Development

Hannah leads EMEA Brand Food & Beverage strategy & development. Hannah has over 25 years of experience in hospitality. At Hakkasan, Selfridges and Caprice Holdings she created, grew and maintained high quality, complex F&B businesses and collaborated with a variety of global stakeholders. Hannah thrives in a dynamic and social environment and loves creative challenges.

Fayez leads EMEA Brand Food & Beverage creative. He previously worked for d.ream project managing and opening the world-class restaurant brand Nusr-Et, and conceptualizing and opening Ruya, Esquire Middle East’s best restaurant in 2018. He is passionate about bringing creativity and technology into his work.

George manages EMEA Brand Food & Beverage development and creative. George is a creative strategist with 10+ years of F&B experience. Working client-side in FMCG, he launched innovative brands for fast-paced startups and global giants. A trained chef from Leith’s School of Food and Wine, he has worked at top London culinary spots. George also worked agency-side crafting F&B concepts for clients from fast-food brands to Michelinstarred chef tables.


Europe, Middle East and Africa

Asia Pacific

Joep Sondeijker Manager, Brand F&B Development

Hanine Daou Manager, Brand F&B Development

Zarra Barki Senior Director, Brand F&B Development

Joep manages EMEA Brand Food & Beverage development and and creative work streams. He brings with him 15 years of experience in hospitality. At Accor, IHG and Sircle Collection, he held various hotel F&B development and operational roles. Joep thrives in a creative environment surrounded by talented people and innovative F&B concepts.

Hanine manages MEA Brand Food & Beverage development and creative work streams. She is an experienced hospitality concept creator and project manager, developing ideas and dreams into successful and loved venues across different global markets. Over the last 10 years she has worked as a consultant for major hotel groups and top restaurant groups.

Zarra leads the Asia Pacific Brand Food & Beverage Team and development. Her career began as a consultant, working with multiple hospitality brands, before joining Hilton over 10 years ago. She has worked in both APAC and EMEA giving her a vast understanding of global business. With a business and creative mindset, she balances the two to deliver what is required for the enterprise.

Asia Pacific

Jonathan Ong Manager, Brand F&B Development

Dian Widjaja Manager, F&B Development

Angel Hu Manager, Brand F&B Development

Jonathan manages Asia Pacific Brand Food & Beverage development. He has a demonstrated history in the hospitality industry. With a Bachelor of Interior Design from Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, he has a detailed eye for aesthetics. Prior to Hilton, he was a designer for interior design firms including Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts and Hirsch Bedner Associates.

Dian manages Asia Pacific Brand Food & Beverage creative. She is a senior art director with experience in creative conceptualizations and campaigns including TV commercials, outdoor press, digital and social. With 10+ years of experience, Dian has worked for Young & Rubicam, Ogilvy, BBDO and DDB. She art-directed for numerous brands such as Visa, Exxon, HP, LG, SK2 and Unilever.

Angel manages Asia Pacific Focused-Service and All Suites Brand Food & Beverage development. Angel started off her journey with Hilton 10+ years ago as a management trainee and found her passion in F&B. Since then, she has done pre-openings for restaurants and hotels in Southeast Asia, and finally now landed in Brand F&B Development.



Sandy Wohlford Specialist, Americas

Liz Giovannini Specialist, Americas

Sandy supports Brand Food & Beverage Programs on Hilton’s F&B Technology strategy. With extensive experience owning and operating Rustic Ridge Golf Course combined with her background in Database Systems and Programming from Davenport University, she has pushed Hilton’s technology and partners to focus on operational efficiencies, robust reporting, ease of deployment and rich training resources. Sandy’s current enterprise projects are focused on closing the gap between retail market transactions at the front desk and selfcheckout, guest mobile device transactions via QR code, digital menus and signage, and identifying POS platforms of the future.

Liz has worked with Hilton since 2002 with the launch of the Make It Hampton initiative. She now works on the FocusedService and All Suites project workflow plans and communication strategies for large-scale program rollouts as well as the monitoring and updating of existing programs. The depth of her organizational knowledge gives her the ability to work across teams to fully understand all components of a project as she simplifies complex information into manageable communication tools for hotel teams.

Anna Marment Specialist, EMEA

Helen White Specialist, EMEA

Anna is a brand consultant working on special projects within the EMEA Brand Food & Beverage Team. Her experience stems from design and branding, having a Bachelor's in Graphic Design and a Master’s in Design Management. Anna has worked across both corporate and agency side, starting out in Design Management at a top agency in London, moving on to work with numerous agencies across the Midlands.

Helen works on UK, Europe, Ireland & Israel Brand Food & Beverage projects and is an experienced creative, having worked with a diverse range of clients such as Boots, Pearson, Bupa, London Underground, the Post Office and Center Parcs. She brings knowledge of branding and design development and a deep understanding of process with a passion for design that looks great and works well.

It is no coincidence that our Team Members ended up being tasked with creating compelling Food & Beverage experiences. We asked them to describe some of their most memorable experiences around food and gathered a colorful collection of stories. Scan or click the QR code below to access the stories.

Discover the delectable tales behind our Team’s most cherished food moments!


Anu Saxena Head of Hilton's Global Procurement organization; HSM Take this article with you on your phone. Scan the QR Code to continue reading it while you’re on the go.

Anu Saxena on 2023 Procurement trends and the role of HSM It is not an exaggeration to say that one of the major challenges of 2022, supply chain disruption, appears to be persisting in 2023. This, along with increased interest in sourcing trends, prompted us to catch up with our Global Senior Vice President of Hilton Supply Management (HSM), Anu Saxena. Join us as we discuss supply chain trends, sustainability, local sourcing, and how HSM enables our hotels to perform in this challenging environment.

Eelco Böhtlingk (EB) ~ 2022 unfolded as a recuperation year for our hotels, with business growing but also still with a recovering supply chain, creating tension in fulfilling guest needs. Anu, as a leader of our global procurement organization, HSM, what are some of the ways you and the team helped our hotels navigate these challenges?

Anu Saxena (AS) ~ As we’ve seen in our year-over-year comparisons, 2022 was a remarkable year for Hilton — and it was also a remarkable year for HSM and the world’s supply chains.

Interview by

Illustrations by

Eelco Böhtlingk

Coni Contreras & Ariel Hernandez 19

2022 was a strong year for HSM because we proved that in times of scarcity, size and scale truly matter. HSM is the world’s largest supply chain services provider in hospitality across all segments — including guest room supplies, property operations, services, Operating Supplies & Equipment (OS&E), Furniture, Fixtures & Equipment (FF&E) and F&B — and one clear differentiator is our ability to drive value for hotels by leveraging our supplier relationships at scale. But we also know that in the past few years, every hotel, regardless of location, has been impacted by major supply chain challenges that originated somewhere above property level. So, I think beyond our massive economies of scale, what has really allowed HSM to serve these past few years is our ability to function as a major operator in the global procurement sector while pinpointing the details that differentiate each of the more than 130 unique hotel brands we serve. That’s a key part of the HSM difference — our ability to cater to nuance, which has been integral to our team’s capacity to assist hotels in widely different markets navigate such a broad range of supply chain challenges. This is something other scale players struggled to do successfully because they are not built to adapt their programming to meet the specific needs of over 100 specific brands. Hospitality is in our DNA at HSM, which means we are intrinsically wired to cater to individual contexts and circumstances.

approach has established us as an invaluable strategic partner in recent years and rising awareness of the supply chain world has helped accelerate growth. This, in turn, increases our global purchasing power, which makes us even more effective in our mission to drive profitable margins for our owners. For operators, our team continues to help hotels navigate supply chain challenges by forecasting and anticipating delays, sourcing alternate products to prevent outages, renegotiating costs, providing realtime market insights, and capping increases to help mitigate the impacts of inflation. Our strong pipeline of supplier relationships and our expansive global network allow HSM to be uniquely positioned to meet the gravity of the moment and help fasttrack recovery. As hoteliers ourselves, we are a procurement partner that can really be in the trenches with you and for you — whatever the challenge — and we consider it a privilege to have played a role in Hilton’s remarkable resurgence last year.

Hospitality is in our DNA at HSM, which means we are intrinsically wired to cater to individual contexts and circumstances.

For the more than 13 thousand hotels comprising our global customer base, HSM’s customized, one-to-one

Hilton Bali Resort and their journey to become more sustainable

HSM's Scale

· $11 billion in purchasing power · 15K properties served globally · Partner with over 130 unique hotel brands · Present in 140 countries and regions · Engaged with more than 3,000 suppliers worldwide

The cost of a carton of eggs quickly became a punchline for late-night TV hosts

(EB) ~ I know it’s hard to speak of generic procurement trends when they affect our hotels around the world so differently, but if you zoom out, do you see some clear macro trends that hotels should be aware of?

(AS) ~ It’s true that procurement trends are usually easier to pinpoint by region or market, but we also know that inflation is a macro trend that consumers are feeling in pretty much every corner of the globe right now. The record highs we’ve seen in the consumer price index will certainly continue to influence the buying decisions of our customers across all categories — especially in F&B. The cost of a carton of eggs has become a punchline for latenight hosts, as the market still reels from the impact of avian influenza on the world’s egg supply. Eggs, coffee, beef, computer chips … these commodities are garnering mainstream awareness right now either for their scarcity or skyrocketing costs.

we’re also able to support hotels with new products and program innovations developed in response to our partners’ top-trending needs. We’ve learned from the best practices innovated and implemented at so many of our properties. In the F&B category, we’ve seen our customers adjust everything from their menu offerings — substituting hard-to-find items, for example, with more cost-effective, readily sourced options — to their hours of food service operations, as hotels work to keep pace amid continued labor shortages. But we’re also experiencing some positive traction in sustainability as a result, as hotels around the world are partnering with us to reexamine their supply chain to incorporate their relationships with local suppliers. Ultimately, I think the pendulum shift we’ve experienced around F&B in recent years will spark increasing momentum in the “think global, source local” vein. And at HSM, we support both.

Our owners and operators want to keep their market basket costs neutral and HSM helps hotels achieve this daily by negotiating on a global scale. Since inflation is a macro trend impacting nearly every market,


(EB) ~ Purpose-driven experiences, sustainability and social justice are some increasingly important aspects of the way we do business. How do you see this unfolding on the supplier side? Are they as focused as Hilton is on this? Where do you see the greatest opportunity for them to do better?

(AS) ~ The three areas you mention are integral to our Sustainability and Responsible Sourcing strategic framework. Sustainability and social justice are also two of the topics I’m passionate about in our work at HSM, in large part because those are two areas where HSM is really positioned to make a significant impact across the entire Hilton enterprise. Our capacity to make an impact is largely a reflection of the degree to which our supplier partners are embracing the imperatives to conserve natural resources, source more responsibly and produce less waste. A growing number of our suppliers are making the transition to a sustainable infrastructure for myriad reasons, from protecting the environment and keeping up with consumer trends to maintaining compliance with public policies. HSM is doubling down on our sustainable procurement efforts, making meaningful progress toward our

Travel With Purpose 2030 Goals and paving the way for many of our suppliers in this space. We’re also leading the industry with our award-winning Supplier Diversity program, which led Hilton to spend more than $334 million with small and diverse suppliers in 2022. Last year, we were the only hospitality company represented on DiversityInc’s Top Companies for Supplier Diversity list and we earned our first EcoVadis Gold Medal for sustainability, placing in the top 5% of over one hundred thousand companies assessed. Regarding the greatest opportunity for suppliers to do better in these areas, through HSM’s partnership with EcoVadis, many of our suppliers — particularly those identified as either high-volume or high-risk — are now receiving complimentary assessments of their business model and operations from EcoVadis to help identify specific opportunities for improvement. This means we’re creating an ecosystem designed around sustainable process improvements and informed change. I believe many of our suppliers are as focused as Hilton is on these initiatives, and we’re leveraging our global reach and infrastructure to help our supplier partners establish and achieve their own ESG goals.

Harvesting the goodness of nature sustainably, one colorful fruit and vegetable at a time

We’re also seeing this in our brand program initiatives, such as the ongoing enterprise-wide implementation of full-sized bath amenities. In partnership with our suppliers, HSM’s OS&E category managers led the sourcing of elevated bath products for all 19 Hilton brands and negotiated the companywide shift to non-refillable bulk dispensers—but they also ensured an end-oflifecycle recycling solution was in place at time of launch. This means Hilton guests around the world are getting the product integrity they’re asking for, Hilton hotels are improving operational efficiencies, and Hilton as a company is reducing our singleuse plastics by more than 50% and implementing a zero-waste-to-landfill program. That’s the kind of sustainable program development that makes me incredibly proud to be part of this team.


(EB) ~ What would you say, from the perspective of a hotel F&B Team Member is the biggest benefit of working with HSM?

(AS) ~ First and foremost, I would always have to say scale. Scale and scope. HSM sources everything that touches F&B. Not just the consumable food products, but also the kitchen equipment, serveware, table linens, uniforms — truly everything from a specialty ingredient that might be used in gastronomy at a Conrad to the M&Ms and Smartwater stocked

in the retail space at a Home2 Suites. And to source these products for our properties, we partner not only with large, broadline distributors and commodity suppliers, but with smaller regional and local distributors, which helps reduce the carbon footprint for Hilton’s F&B operations. We also partner with specialty distributors that can execute a more bespoke product or program for our full-service, luxury and boutique brands. So, the breadth of what we can secure for our customers is a tremendous benefit.

Bringing back hot breakfast required agility from our supply partners

Our team’s agility and speed to innovate has also proven a tremendous benefit to our hotels in recent years. I know we’re all forward focused now on recovery and our resurgence, but when we do look back at those early months of the pandemic, our team was completely reimagining what hot breakfast could look like for our hotels just six months into that experience. To give an example — we immediately began hearing from hotels that hot breakfast posed a huge challenge for them due to the very limited labor model at that time, so our Brand F&B team quickly sourced a solution that required a lot less labor. We partnered with one of our F&B suppliers to develop a convenient, cost-effective breakfast program around a touchless pancake system. By result, Tru and other Hilton hotels across the United States implemented a system that, in under two minutes, prepares two hot pancakes for guests with zero touchpoints and minimal labor requirements. Our F&B team also effectively forecasted products that might fall out of rotation within each brand’s reimagined breakfast programs, communicating with our hotels to ensure they could move through the product quickly and avoid potential inventory loss. Through this process and the team’s diligent tracking, we were able to protect our customers from almost $9 million in potential inventory loss through our risk mitigation efforts and proactive efforts to source alternate solutions. I think an F&B Team Member at any hotel in the world can appreciate the benefits of that level of above-property support.

"...we earned our first EcoVadis Gold Medal for sustainability, placing in the top 5% of over 100 thousand companies assessed.˝


(EB) ~ You played a large role in the development and roll-out of our latest brand, Spark by Hilton. The procurement approach is quite novel and is already gaining traction. Can you tell us a little more about this?

(AS) ~ The launch of Spark by Hilton has been incredibly exciting for our team, because HSM was tapped to operate as the new brand’s procurement services provider. This means HSM came in on the ground floor of Spark by Hilton's brand evolution, initially partnering with the Development team on design and product selection for the brand’s prototype — including the creation of the brand’s required FF&E, OS&E and technology packages. Our category managers created an easy-to-install package for owners and developers that will help make the conversion process incredibly turnkey and streamlined. In fact, the final Spark by Hilton procurement package is so streamlined in its efficiency that we can bring this new conversion-only prototype to life in half the typical timeline for conversions. We also have dedicated experts positioned to facilitate all procurement needs for each Spark by Hilton conversion, working in tandem with our teams to secure inventory, manage supplier capacity, support owners and operators and make real-time adjustments based on demand, capacity and shifting market conditions. It’s common knowledge in our industry that speed to market is a critical priority for owners, and this innovative procurement partnership positions owners to execute a Spark by Hilton conversion quickly, effectively

More nutritious products in our retail spaces is a trending guest desire

and with exacting consistency. I am so proud of everyone at HSM and Hilton who worked tirelessly to bring our newest brand to life, and we look forward to playing an ongoing role in Spark by Hilton’s launch in markets across America.

(EB) ~ Lastly, we hear a lot of buzz around retail/markets in hotels. Of course, our team is working hard to bring new concepts to market. How have you seen the role of retail changing for our hotels?

(AS) ~ Retail is another exciting space for our team right now, as it represents the potential to help our hotels increase incremental revenue while improving operational efficiencies. I think a lot of the buzz we’re hearing in this space right now, though, can most likely be attributed to two of the leading trends we’re seeing among travelers coming out of the pandemic. I know our readership is a predominantly Hilton audience, so I’ll assume some familiarity with Hilton’s latest trends report and focus on two of the top fast-rising priorities for travelers: wellness and feeling taken care of. Wellness, as pertains to retail, means we need to look at what consumers are buying these days and do our due diligence to “fix the mix” in our markets and suite shops. An obvious example has been the introduction of healthier, shelfsustainable snacks that guests can grab on the go instead of the old staples like chips and candy bars. Now, don’t get me wrong, guests will still find plenty of old favorites and comfort foods in the mix,

but we’ve worked closely with Brand F&B and individual brand leadership, particularly in our all-suites category, to elevate our product offerings to reflect the nutritious, sustainable items consumers are gravitating toward for good health. We’re also investing in the quality brands and on-the-go meal offerings guests are looking to more now over traditional fast-food staples. Additionally, we’ve structured our new programs in a way that lifts the burden of supply chain navigation off of the individual properties, simplifying operations and elevating overall product consistency.

Guests are also expressing a greater desire to feel cared for in their travels, meaning hotels can enhance a guest’s overall stay experience and generate more incremental revenue with a thoughtfully curated selection of retail offerings. Whether it’s an extended stay guest looking for a simple, nourishing meal to prepare in their suite after a long day, or a couple on vacation shopping for a few local flavors to bring home as souvenirs, consumer feedback reflects a strong desire among guests for choice and control. Hotels are perfectly positioned to deliver on this demand by investing in a retail refresh and upgrade. Beyond a doubt, the ROI is there.


(EB) ~ Through the years, I learned that people as passionate about hospitality as yourself have a profoundly personal relationship or memory with food & beverage. Can you tell us yours?

(AS) ~ I’m so happy you asked me this question, because my best memories of growing up in Asia are, hands down, the experiences surrounding F&B. Growing up in India, food is life. Not just for daily sustenance and growth, but also as a vital component to our celebrations, family gatherings, festivals, holidays and other cultural traditions. Whatever the occasion, rest assured that food and family are at the center. My childhood experiences around F&B have certainly influenced me as an adult, from watching the Food Network, to the dishes we prepare as a family, to the travel experiences we take and the meals we share. In fact, one of my favorite childhood memories revolves around dining out at a Hilton property as a family. Dining out was a special occasion, and I remember feeling almost in awe of the hotel’s design, décor and fine dining aesthetic. Little did I know I would one day grow up to help outfit hotels and restaurants at Hilton properties all over the world! But while I think our audience will agree that there’s no place quite like a Hilton hotel, I must admit that the best F&B experience I have ever had was at a little outdoor roadside restaurant outside of Agra.

This was a simple place where you sit on the floor and eat off a huge platter — and the food just keeps coming. Without a doubt, I had the best Indian food of my life at this restaurant. And everything we ate was prepared 20 feet (6 meters) away from where we were sitting, with ingredients all sourced from within a few miles/kilometers of the kitchen. Ultimately, this type of dining experience — authentic local flavors, responsibly sourced and lovingly prepared — is what we’re aspiring to create for guests at our properties around the world.

(EB) ~ Anu, thank you so much for sharing your insights on these relevant global issues. I learned a lot about the role of HSM in helping our hotels better navigate these and much more.

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StiR Creative Collective by Hilton What is StiR? StiR Creative Collective by Hilton is food and beverage strategy, concept development and branding service available to Hilton franchise partners across the Americas, Europe, Middle East and Africa. StiR is part of Hilton’s Brand Food and Beverage development under Adam Crocini. The Brand F&B team has ambitions to continually enhance and support Hilton’s reputation as a leader in food and beverage overall, but especially relative to other hotel companies.


The vision for StiR is to sustainably offer high-quality and reliable food and beverage consulting that is guaranteed by Hilton. With so many of our hotels run through a franchise model, we identified an opportunity to connect with them in a more direct way. For a competitive fee, we can provide comprehensive and creative F&B strategy and development services.

Where are we active?

Does StiR Stand for Something?

We currently are working on projects across the United States — from Monterey, CA to Washington, D.C. Our team is in active discussions with partners in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Spain and the United States. The StiR team is excited about our momentum and looks forward to continuing to grow in 2023 and beyond.

StiR is not an acronym, nor does it stand for something directly. However, the genesis of our name is that we continue to try and StiR the pot — excuse the pun. This is an exciting time in the world of food and beverage. For Hilton specifically, StiR is just one part of our broader global strategy and mission to enhance our reputation and drive success for our hotels, partners and the organization.

Questions? Reach out to for more information or just to chat. We look forward to hearing from you.

• Restaurant and

and Programming

Bar Narratives

• Market Studies

• Third Party Chef


and Analysis

• Space Planning Recommendations

• Re-Positioning Support


• Master Planning


• Design Integration


Remit and Scope of Services

• F&B Branding • Concept (ops) Implementation

• Pre-Opening Support

and Management

• Marketing and PR Guidance

Hilton Columbus Downtown A beacon at the epicenter of Columbus Access the full article on your phone or listen in audio format by scanning the QR Code

Hilton Columbus Downtown ~ A New Tower and F&B Destination in the Midwest The food and beverage program at Hilton Columbus Downtown in Ohio, the United States is a golden example of bespoke food and beverage development at its finest. Following considerable market research, a phased concept development approach and a partnership with design, branding and creative partners, a best-in-class F&B program emerged.

Written by Catherine Ker

Hilton Columbus Downtown, one of Hilton’s leading, Connie awardwinning hotels in the Americas, has expanded its footprint to include 28 additional floors and more than 500 rooms to its footprint, making it the largest hotel in Ohio, United States. The expansion also includes four new food and beverage venues — FYR, a full-service live fire restaurant, Spark, the new tower’s lobby bar, Stories on High, a rooftop lounge and The Market, a quick service grab and go concept. A perfect archetype of thoughtful and comprehensive master planning and concept development – we take a closer look at three of the hotel’s newly unveiled venues in this issue’s Opening Spotlight feature.


Tower 402 at Hilton Columbus Downtown features three new food and beverage venues: FYR, Spark and Stories on High.

Top left Spark lobby bar

Right Stories on High rooftop bar

Bottom FYR restaurant


Left Spark features a Midwestern-driven menu, classic cocktails, and local brews

Right The bar at Spark

Spark Lobby Bar ~ The Hub Of Tower 402

Emblematic of a warm Midwestern welcome, Spark, Hilton Columbus Downtown’s new lobby bar, sets the tone for the property’s food and beverage program. Simply prepared, volumefriendly beverages, whether a classic cocktail or a contemporary riff, are paired with a versatile wine program and a selection of draft and bottled beers. A variety of products hailing from the region are showcased — from draft beers to spirits in curated flights — poured by friendly bartenders well-versed in the local area. Intentionally complementary, Spark offers a lighter Midwestern fare menu that will surely ignite guests’ appetite. Spark provides efficient and upscale service resulting in the best experience for guests. The cocktail menu is engineered for quick preparation, without sacrificing quality ingredients or taste. The bar experiments with unique concoctions delivered in trendy glassware, with the utmost polish and class in a beautifully designed setting. Service is at the core of the program at Spark, and each bartender possesses a strong knowledge of classic recipes and the confidence to create on-the-spot cocktails when time permits — or just for fun. Knowledgeable of the local hotspots, what special events are in town or guides for the must-see destinations in the area, each bartender and cocktail server acts as ambassadors of Columbus for all visiting guests. One of the most compelling elements of Spark’s program is its commitment to regional beers and spirits. With over 100 craft distilleries and breweries within the Columbus region, there is no shortage of options to anchor the Midwestern-centric concept. Keep watch for homegrown products on Spark’s beverage menu, whether as a beer on draft or a cocktail comprised of exclusively Ohio-distilled spirits.

FYR ~ The “Hearth” Of Columbus

Right Executive Chef Sebastian La Rocca

Bottom Tomahawk prepared on the wood-fired hearth

Historically, the hearth was a place where families gathered, fire warmed the home and meals were prepared. FYR restaurant represents the metaphorical hearth of Hilton Columbus Downtown. Guests enter this three-meal restaurant and immediately feel the warmth of friendly service, the aroma of smoky embers and the carefully curated ambience of perfect lighting and music. The food program at FYR progresses from small snacks and starters to larger mains and shareable sides. What’s constant, however, is the sometimes subtle, sometimes rich, incorporation of fire and smoke. The centerpiece of the open kitchen at FYR is the wood-fired hearth. Grilled chops, whole fish and seasonal vegetables are prepared with rustic elegance and garnished with care, led by the hotel’s executive chef, Sebastian La Rocca. Many of these main courses are fileted, flambéed or sliced tableside. Meanwhile, the wood-fired preparations of FYR’s food menu drive the selections for the beverage program. The cocktail program is comprised of seasonally rotating cocktails — featuring house-made ingredients combined with bespoke spirits, infusions and syrups. The wine program is equally impressive: robust reds that pair perfectly with grilled meats join unexpected zippy white varietals and ever-popular rosé. Guests are guided by the in-house sommelier, who provides them with the opportunity to taste unconventional pours.


FYR’s Terre Brune - A shaken cocktail composed of Dewar’s 12-year Scotch, Amaro Montenegro, lime and ginger served on the rocks.

Left Ember Shrimp

Top Terre Brune


Top Stories on High opened its doors in February 2023

Bottom A look at the bar and seating

Stories on High ~ A Rooftop Bar With 360° Views Of Columbus Storytelling is inherent in human culture and history. In the modern day, storytelling is conveyed through social media and sharing memories in the moment for all to see. Stories on High inspires its visitors to create new stories through their shared experiences in the space. With a state-of-the-art design, hand-crafted cocktails and a lighter fare food menu to complement, there is no shortage of newly created stories to be shared.

Unlike any other destination in Columbus, the menu at Stories on High is filled with conversation-starters that pique curiosity in a way that has guests returning for more. The food program at Stories on High focuses on smaller plates and shareable bites that nod to contemporary and dynamic Asian cuisine. Some dishes include grilled yakitori skewers from the in-house robata grill or chilled hamachi ceviche with avocado, cucumber and togarashi. Another worthy highlight of the Stories on High concept is their sake program, served both by the carafe and the bottle. Guests can sample an array of sashimi and nigiri alongside Junmai Daiginjo: Sakamai Kikusui

Shuzo sake. For those not interested in sake, guests can select from one of the cocktail categories: highballs, martinis, sours, simple pleasures or a non-alcoholic mocktail.

Conclusion: Hilton Columbus Downtown exemplifies the holistic approach of concept development and master planning to create a successful food and beverage program. These F&B venues truly showcase the products of a dedicated team and the synergies among the outlets allow guests to feel the warmth of the Midwest.

Manhattan Bar, Conrad Singapore Orchard

Scan the QR code to access the article on our partnership with Proof & Co. Read it on your phone or listen hands-free.

Proof & Co. Partnership Hilton recently announced an exciting global partnership with Proof & Co., a leading bar operator and creative agency with awardwinning international recognition. This is an exciting step to amplify and celebrate Peacock Alley bars in Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts around the world. Today, Proof & Co. is proudly

working with world-class hotels and restaurants in Singapore, Australia and the United States to deliver creative beverage experiences for discerning guests. Proof & Co.’s expertise in finding novel ways to supply and distribute goods to their bars is changing the beverage industry.

What will the reimagined Peacock Alley experience look like? What does Proof & Co. prioritize in the business suppliers they choose to work with? My conversation with creative director Jason Williams shines a light on their world of distributing and executing revolutionary service with cocktails and what it means for Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts.

Written by Marie McAllister 49

Left Jason Williams, Creative Director at Proof & Co.

Right Where Proof & Co. began at 28 Hong Kong Street

It is essential to understand what trends resonate with customers at different time periods and how to bring those distinct experiences to life. Williams’ team philosophy of storytelling through the Golden Age of fine drinking is how Proof & Co. shares their perspective on contemporary cocktail culture. To them, the first Golden Age of drinking unfolded amid pivotal changes from 1850 through 1920 when people began mixing spirits with juices, sugars and bitters to make what we know today as crafted cocktails. Once this foundation was laid, bartenders began to master their craft successfully. Today, Proof & Co. is reframing various aspects of this era to pave the way for what they

believe to be the second Golden Age of fine drinking. Entering the second Golden Age, Proof & Co. works closely with their counterparts at EcoSpirits to sustainably move their products to bars and restaurants around the world. Sustainability, reimagining classic cocktails and celebrating the ritual of social drinking are each prominent features of the movement.


Proof & Co. is based in Singapore, but their reach spans the globe. They align themselves with other companies that value fair production and are transparent about where their products are coming from. With suppliers, they pay attention to the ingredient quality, strong production, sustainability, ecological and social values. For instance, Williams and his team ask, is a particular spirit made in a respectful way that protects the region? Does the community support the actions they are taking in the area? Niche suppliers also offer rare fine spirits that are an important element in elevating the beverage program and creates exclusivity. Williams describes these suppliers as the Indiana Jones of their industry looking for these treasures that Peacock Alley keeps in their treasure chests around the world. To achieve experiential, popular and enduring bars, Proof & Co. has outlined a 20-pillar plan that guides their creative process. This approach allows the team to holistically consider every component of how a bar concept is realized from uniforms, acoustics, lighting and product sourcing to financials. The team identifies their golden thread to make sure the experience is holistic and cohesive. Williams highlights both the concept and trends as the two main factors they consider throughout the planning process. Says Williams, “There are trends that can be applied to different pillars. Take trends from restaurants and hotels, personalization has been a trend and we have tried to incorporate that in our beverage program as well.” Examples include new daily cocktail menus, as well as the name and date of the guest booking, which they can then take home as a way to remember their time. For Peacock Alley, Williams shared they are using this same plan for each location in homage to the rich history of the brand and bar, while finding new ways for them to showcase the modern age of the space and how it will continue to evolve in the future.

Top Craft Cocktail from Proof & Co. Bar

Bottom Atlas Bar, Singapore


Read about the role we play in sustainability on your phone or listen to the audio version

Sustainability ~ The Role we Play An increasingly common narrative these days is that when people travel and decide on a destination, their choices are based on how they feel, and what they would like to experience. They want to discover the destination, its people and what the hotel is doing for the community in which it operates. The hospitality industry has put a strain on the environment and so the importance of sustainability in the hotel sector has gained growing attention on an annual basis. Currently, the hotel sector accounts for approximately 1% of the world's carbon emissions, and this percentage is on the rise.

According to research, the hospitality industry is required to cut down its carbon emissions per room by more than 90% by 2050. This is required to guarantee that the growth predictions do not result in a comparable rise in carbon emissions. As a result, the hotel players, both the big guns and the rising stars, are stepping up their sustainability activities. Nowadays, hotels are challenged to make plastic-free commitments in the day to day running of the business and encourage guests and Team Members to get involved in community service projects like tree planting or mangrove restoration. To make it easier for users to identify sustainable lodgings, Google announced in September 2022 that it will label hotels as eco-certified in search results.

Written by Jonathan Ong 55

Goats on Iris Farm

"Most importantly, we’ve been able to contribute to the welfare of our community here in Samui by improving soil, conserving water and reducing pollution. A very small contribution but very important to us.” Ruben Gabino, General Manager, Conrad Koh Samui


Within Hilton, Conrad Hotels & Resorts has increased its ecological initiatives across its properties in Asia. Iris Farm is the result of Conrad Koh Samui’s contribution to a more sustainable approach to the hotel’s operational development. Built during the pandemic, hotel guests are welcome at Iris Farm, where they can take part in daily farm tours, choose their breakfast eggs and pick their favorite supper vegetables. Seasonal fruits, vegetables and herbs are continuously produced on the two-acre (8,093-square-meter) Iris Farm. These include five varieties of eggplant, three kinds of bananas, papayas, mulberries, corn, Malabar spinach, varied chilies and more. Even the cacao and coffee used in the hotel's chocolate bars and ice cream are grown there. Comparable to those of commercial enterprises, Iris Farm can produce roughly 2,866 pounds (1,300 kilograms) of food and 6,000 chicken and duck eggs each month. As its plants develop, this is expected to quadruple over the next three years. The on-site organic farm imitates natural processes by using food waste from the hotel to regenerate the land. It weighs 5,291 pounds (2,400 kilograms) in total, and it is composted before being combined with charcoal and animal manure to create nutrient-rich soil for the farm.

Iris Farm also gives unwanted hotel equipment a second chance. Old pool decks are recycled as compost bins and fences, while leftover wood from guest villas is utilized to build chicken coops. The hotel’s unique location on a remote part of Koh Samui coupled with the discovery of a sizable, undeveloped plot of land on the hotel’s property demonstrated that much more could be done. The aspiration is for Iris Farm to supply the resort with all of its vegetable needs by 2025. "Our farm is so small in the grand scheme of things and yet it means so much to a lot of people. No doubt that Iris Farm gave us the ability to produce great products for our restaurants. From vegetables to fruits. From eggs to coffee. From home-made kombuchas to farmed mushrooms. But, most importantly, we’ve been able to contribute to the welfare of our community here in Samui by improving soil, conserving water and reducing pollution. A very small contribution but very important to us." - Ruben Gabino, General Manager, Conrad Koh Samui. Another example is Conrad Maldives Rangali Island, which recently reopened after a multi-year renovation. The resort also rolled out a hydroponics project, which is a community led initiative to promote sustainable farming, its own coral propagation programs and a young girls apprenticeship program to support local youth.

Conrad Maldives Rangali Island

Eco-Initiatives and Sustainable Travel ~ How Conrad Maldives Leads the Way

These eco initiatives, if done correctly, could also lead to brand loyalty as research suggest that guests will remain with those brands that align with what they believe in.

Their collaborative efforts with environmental organizations aim to help drive change and promote sustainable travel. Additionally, contributing to the local Maldivian community with community outreach programs helps further the mission. The idyllic island paradise houses villas and suites with indooroutdoor living spaces architecturally designed to blend effortlessly with the surrounding environment. Conrad Maldives’ sustainability goals run deep within its food philosophy as well. Launched in 2014, the Hydroponics Garden Project is growing produce after careful research on the type of crops that can be effectively grown using a hydroponics system in a tropical climate. The garden is now able to supply the resort’s twelve restaurants and Team Member cafeteria with ingredients including hot basil, mint, lettuce, thyme, oregano, rosemary and green capsicum. The use of the garden eliminates the cost of importing these items into the country. It also presents an exciting opportunity for the culinary minds of the resort to design and execute unique and dynamic menus for elevated gastronomy.

nursery and coral adoption program that visitors can participate in, and is led by marine scientists from Ocean Group, a top diving and watersport operator in the Maldives. Taking it a step further, in 2019, the resort partnered with environmental non-profit Parley for the Oceans to promote sustainable travel through the sale of a limited-edition Parley Kit. A Parley Ocean Plastic tote bag created from an average of five plastic bottles that were dumped in the ocean and a reusable stainless steel water bottle with the Conrad X Parley co-branding were included in each kit. Profits from one kit helped the Parley Global Cleanup Network remove 9.9 pounds (4.5 kilograms) of marine plastic debris. Conrad Maldives is constantly advancing the community outreach movement to aid the environment and protect lives surrounding the property.

In the same light, in 2017, Conrad Maldives continued the initiative to support Hilton's Travel with Purpose 2030 Goals to reduce environmental footprint and increase social impact investment. In order to protect and preserve the reefs surrounding the island resort, a coral regeneration program was implemented in response to the widespread coral bleaching brought on by climate change. The effort includes a coral


Hilton Brisbane

Buzzing with Sustainability ~ Hilton Brisbane's Sweet Solution

Bees play a critical role in the ecosystem, acting as the natural pollinators for gardens, parks and communities. Beekeeping is an initiative that helps to protect their declining population. Since 2016, the Hilton Brisbane has maintained five beehives on the level nine rooftop. These hives are home to about 250,000 European honeybees, who pollinate Brisbane while gathering nectar and pollen for their hives. The hotel Team Members manage the bees and collects and extracts the honey, which is then used in their farm-to-fork food and beverage offerings as well as packaged and given as gifts to clients and visitors. The bees generate 1,102 pounds (500 kilograms) of honey annually.

No matter the scale of the operation, there are a variety of options that hotels can adopt in the journey of being environmentally responsible. There are inexpensive and accessible methods for our hotels to be engaged when it comes to future proofing our guest experience for the next generation. Sustainability coupled with a sense of social responsibility have been, and will continue to be, key aspects of our brand management practices as well as overall ethos.

Brasserie ONE at Waldorf Astoria Xiamen

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Transportive Design In Food & Beverage ~ Harnessing the Senses Hilton offers exceptional experiences grounded in the art of hospitality and our design aesthetics reflect this ethos. We style hotels around the five senses as they relate to brand standards and pillars, and each property is designed with guests and their emotional needs in mind. In turn, our hotel bars and restaurants are deliberately designed to fit within the brand that houses them, offering a complementary perspective on the brand standards core to our hospitality offering. Written by

One way to create an enriching and rewarding guest experience in our food and beverage venues is to design concepts that are transportive. Transportive concepts are comprehensively thought out and intentionally designed with the aim of immersing guests in the story being told through the food, beverages, service and space. Transportive concept design in food and beverage starts and

ends with the five senses: First by disarming, then harnessing and immersing guests in the concept, we usher them into a whole new world — a world experienced through the expression of the concept and enhanced by its enchanting details. Creating a transportive concept requires building an alternative world. The world created must be distinctly different from that experienced outside the establishment’s door — functioning more as a portal than a means of egress — and it starts with designing around the senses.

Beth Goodwin 63

Sight What story are we telling through the visuals that guests encounter in a space? Does the handle on a door hearken to a particular era, or are the tiles on the floor inlaid in such a way to evoke a distant land? Design elements must sync with the overall story being told, right down to the tufts on a banquette’s upholstery. At Carbone restaurant in New York, for example, the back room’s banquettes are tufted with vintage NYPD jacket buttons — a nod to the dining concept’s New York Italian roots and an homage to the historic police force patrons of Italian American red sauce joints (the Cosa Nostra mafiosos were seated in a different area of the restaurant).

Smell Designing a transportive dining concept using scent means realizing the sequence of moments when smell most impacts guest experience. Upon entering a restaurant, does the host stand have a signature bouquet of fragrant blooms? Are there tableside presentations that sizzle garlic, press duck or flambé brandy? What candle is burning in the restroom? Deliberately designing the olfactory moments in a bar or restaurant keeps guests grounded in concept and experience: The nose certainly knows.

Restaurants often partner with perfumeries and candlemakers to create signature scents that define their brand. Jupiter in Rockefeller Center, New York partnered with D.S. & Durga to create a Pasta Water candle that evokes herbaceous salt water over semolina. It's available for purchase, allowing guests to reconnect with their dining experience and generate repeat business, customer loyalty, and enhanced check average.

Sound Sound design is not only a critical, vibe-making tool in hospitality, but it functions as a reinforcing pillar of concept as well. Every time and place in history had music that defined it, and transportive design relies on delving into that history and musical canon to create a playlist that holds true to the concept, the meal and the intended guest experience. At Hilton, we partner with Mustard Music and other curators, to create bespoke playlists to compliment, enhance and immerse guests in our signature food and beverage concepts. To create the playlists, and with an understanding of music as a key touch point in the guest experience, Mustard Music first profiles the hotel, restaurant or bar to determine its personality, and considers a multitude of factors, such as interior design, menu, target demographic and expected energy. They then curate a

primary music library for venue installation, creating a bespoke sound identity that is refreshed regularly. Intent on charming the senses, the playlists incorporate music and soundscape as essential ingredients to create a positive guest connection and brand loyalty. We at Hilton second this notion and currently feature Mustard Music’s curated playlists at Waldorf Astoria Cancun and Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya, as well as in Secco at Hilton San Jose and AJI at Signia by Hilton San Jose, among others. In working with Mustard Music, we not only reinforce our Hilton and food and beverage brand identity and atmosphere through experiential sound, but we’re also able to leverage the power of music to maximize revenue, enhance Team Member productivity and enrich guest connection.

Touch Touch, or the tactile sense, operates as our literal feelers in the world. Considering guest‘s tactile expe4riences in relation to concept is a critical component of transportive design. How guests interact with and handle everything from operating supplies and equipment (OS&E), furniture, fixtures & equipment (FF&E) to branded objects like

The Pasta Water candle scent mirrors Jupiter’s pasta-focused concept

menus and matchbooks determines the strength of the overarching concept in relation to its material culture. When designing a seaside or lakefront restaurant, for example, choosing textured menu paper reminiscent of sand and sea spray is a great way to make the concept come to life in the hands of guests. In choosing the OS&E for a casual seafoodfocused restaurant on Lake Michigan, we deliberately opted for breadbaskets in a pattern reminiscent of fish scales, tying the concept back to the Catch of the Day specials and waterfront locale. Seizing the opportunity that tangible details present as a means of enhancing concept through design is an effective way to transport guests to a richer, more meaningful dining experience.

Taste Taste functions as the final — and perhaps most important — capstone of transportive design in dining. Allowing the first bite to land and transport guests completes the sensory journey that transportive design embodies. Aligning the food menu with the concept is the most obvious step in creating a coherent and adored restaurant. Primary research plays an important role in this process by weeding out duplicate concepts and offering an opportunity for original discovery and creation. Renditions of lost or forgotten dishes make great stories that help complete a concept — if the food doesn’t sing, the concept cannot ring.

Marcel Proust

Perhaps no author describes the transportive qualities of taste better than Marcel Proust as he wrote in “Swann’s Way: In Search of Lost Time, Vol. 1”:

“No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me ... Whence did it come? What did it mean? How could I seize and apprehend it? ... And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it. And all from my cup of tea.” Integrating the five senses is an assured way to achieve transportive design in dining, resulting in a memorable and meaningful guest experience. Such intention, in turn, increases guest satisfaction, grows revenue and enhances customer loyalty. During the formative stages of conceptual development, defining specific and inspiring sensory details over the big picture can aid the overall creative process because a perception of tangibility often spurns better, richer ideas, rendering a superior finished product. When tasked with creating a transportive concept in dining, starting with a few worldbuilding questions is a great place to get the senses going: What year or era are we in? What season is it? Where in the world are we? Close your eyes, take a sip of tea and imagine.

Andy lining up the perfect shot

Access the story and get an exclusive preview of the book’s stunning photos

The Lobby Bar Book ~ Behind the Scenes at a Cocktail Shoot I have to admit, there is something magical about New York. That palpable sense of energy and opportunity. On this occasion, we are running a cocktail photoshoot to create visuals for the upcoming Lobby Bar book, a hardcover and digital publication celebrating the timeless nature of iconic hotel lobby bars and their custodians. And it’s not just us here either. A professional photoshoot requires a small army of creative talents, including

stylists, mixologists, photographers and logistical experts. It’s worth it though to eternalize a beautifully crafted cocktail. The background to this project is an admission that lobby bars, creatively at least, have been flying a little under the radar over the past few years. In a time when we see global awards celebrate a plethora of speakeasys, hotel lobby bars continue their trusted service largely outside of the limelight.

A little unfair, I’d argue. I struggle to think of a more welcoming space offering both respite and social energy. And not just today only — the lobby bar’s claim to fame has always been a cornerstone of society — from ceremonial affairs to late night rendezvous. It’s about time then for our lobby bars to seize their rightful spot among the world’s greatest bars. The plush sofas are a good starting point, but the real stars are the caretakers of our bars who extend welcome after welcome and prepare the right cocktail for every occasion.

Written by Eelco Böhtlingk 69

That’s reason enough then to design a high-quality beverage program to help guide cocktail culture, supported by professional photography — the reason for our visit to New York. With so many creative talents participating in this photoshoot, I thought it would be foolish not to use the opportunity to show insights into executing a photoshoot like this. Producing great photography, as I think this shoot shows, is no easy feat. Photographing drinks is one thing, but doing so while also compellingly shooting full restaurant spaces, scenes that portray a lifestyle to communicate the restaurant’s brand positioning or those that involve models, is even harder.

To help photographers and hotels execute this undertaking better, our team is working on a photography guide covering restaurant and bar photography principles. We hope you will find this article — and the upcoming guide — resourceful and that it inspires you to create more compelling visuals to communicate your restaurant or bar brand. Keep an eye out for future communications about the project through StiR.mag, our F&B Lobby Page and other channels.

Andy Sewell selecting background papers for the shoot today

What Does Everyone Do?

and always look for solutions, which is important when working closely with others for eight days straight. These are all values that I would recommend assessing when looking for a photographer. With that in mind, our Brand Teams at Hilton will be able to start that journey and recommend the right professional for your shoot.

The Stylist › A stylist oversees The Photographer › The photographer’s role may seem selfexplanatory, however, there is an important aspect to their job that I would describe as creative director. This includes having a strong voice for space and scene selection (especially important if the space is in operation during the shoot), the type of props to use, backgrounds, lighting and the overall pace of the shoot. It’s not uncommon for a photographer to work with an assistant who can change lighting and props on the fly, making sure that the photographer can stay creative without compromising the shoot schedule. For our shoot, we worked with Andy Sewell, a celebrated U.K.-based documentary and fiction photographer. It was by chance that we discovered his work for the book “Spirited” (a great cocktail book in itself) during a mixology session for our Lobby Bar book in Louisville, Kentucky. We were mesmerized, and from that day forward we knew we had to get Andy. Luckily, we managed to find him and make schedules work — and we’re happy that we did. Aside from being a fantastic creative and professional, he is also a great human who is able to create a positive environment during the shoot

the overall look of the scene, interior, dish or drink, depending on the type of shoot. In our case, we worked with a food stylist whose role is more than just making sure there is no sauce on the plate. For a beverage shoot, a food stylist selects the ice (often a mix or real and artificial ice), curates the garnishes and purchases the best, photography-grade ingredients. Local knowledge of the location where the shoot takes place is a major benefit in that respect, as is a steady hand.

The Bartender or Chef › The role of the bartender or chef is partly production but also partly as a critical eye during the shoot to make sure that the photographs authentically represent the dish/drink. As an integral part of the production, it’s important that they participate in planning and coordination meetings prior to the shoot. They also often make for excellent models to give the photoshoot more personality.


Producer › A photoshoot is an intense affair with lots of moving parts and big personalities to manage. This should not be underestimated as there is often a time pressure to make everything work, and it’s not uncommon for a photoshoot to run over multiple days, from morning to night. To get the most out of everyone’s time, each participant should know what is expected of them, and when. Larger photoshoots have dedicated professional producers, but for smaller shoots someone working at the hotel could take this role too.

A look behind the scenes of our cocktail shoot

Let’s look at how this all played out Ultimately running over eight days, we shot around 60 different drinks, with varying backgrounds and lighting.

7:30 a.m. An early opening for this New York speakeasy, better known for their late-night programming. This is an ideal spot to carry out this shoot without interfering with their operations.

7:40 a.m. For the style of the shoot, we rely on different background papers with hues to contrast and complement the cocktails. Here we see Andy at work laying out the various options that he and Patrick, his photography support, procured before the shoot.

7:51 a.m. There is an intentionality to the glassware we choose. A careful selection that communicates an upscale feel with thin rims and elegant footing, but also one that is widely available and great value for money, a key consideration for this shoot aimed at national adoption in our fullservice hotels in the Americas.

8:34 a.m. Andy and Patrick at work to get the lighting and impromptu studio-like setup just right. A process like this takes a good amount of time and requires feedback from the client, in this case me, but as an F&B leader who anticipates and weighs in on a lot of the setup phase of a shoot.

8:55 a.m. Comparing different lighting styles. A lighter, flexible setup we use during this shoot allows Andy to alter the lighting and shadows throughout the style, a key component of the creative quality of our style of shoot.

9:20 a.m. In the meantime, we strategize the approach to garnishes. We look at creative uses of common ingredients and the aromatic match is guided by Joe (mixologist) while the visual quality is managed by Tayler (food stylist). Ease of execution, ingredient longevity and cost are other factors to incorporate.

9:34 a.m. Joe at work preparing glassware and strategizing the sequence of the beverages being prepared. Andy starting to shoot to sample light intensity, angle and background colors.

9:50 a.m. Around two hours after the initial setup, feedback on style and team briefings, we start to shoot the first drinks from the hands of Tayler and Joe.

It’s essential that everyone is aware of the bigger ambition of the shoot, the intended use of the images, the target audience and how this shoot will benefit those using these assets.

10:10 a.m. During the shoot, Andy relies on Patrick to make constant adjustments to the light, shadow and reflections.

10:19 a.m. Taylor and Joe look on and provide direct feedback on the shots. Since photographers work in a much higher resolution than we may be used to, we continuously make micro adjustments to the ice, garnishes and foam as well as how all these ingredients interact, On occasion, we remake a drink two or three times until we get it just right.

10:30 a.m. Rachael (food stylist) works ahead to prep the next garnishes to ensure the shoot schedule remains attainable and the garnishes come across fresh. For each garnish used, there are several that don’t make it — such is the level of detail a shoot requires.

10:35 a.m. I’m amazed by the quality of some of the artificial ice the stylists have access to. Ultimately, we use a mix of artificial ice and real ice in the shape of Kold-Draft cubes, perfect large cubes and Collins ice.

10:41 a.m. A little over half an hour with the first drink and its variations to get to a satisfactory first expression. The raw camera output will be touched up in post-production, but Andy’s approach to ensure the raw image is as close to perfect and not requiring a lot of touch up allows the final images to be an authentic expression of the original drink — critically important for photographs with an instructional purpose.

10:41 a.m. Previous issues of StiR. mag being used as a source of inspiration and focus.

10:50 a.m. Working through subsequent shots gets smoother through the days, but it is important not to lose that creative focus and willingness to experiment, whether that applies to photography style, lighting, food styling or mixology.

I give credit to this team who, after eight full days of shooting 58 cocktails, kept exploring and experimenting — something I hope is evident in the Lobby Bar book, coming out by the time the next issue of StiR Mag is released. In the meantime, enjoy some of the early shots from this shoot.


Discover the comprehensive version of this article by scanning the QR Code

A Modern Approach to Uniforms “What you wear is how you present yourself to the world, especially today, when human contacts are so quick. Fashion is instant language.” Miuccia Prada

Written by Hannah Davies 83

Contemporary Chef's Uniform

The power of a uniform transcends what you see on the outside; rather, it represents layers of a brand and contains an identity in and of itself. Uniform design is an expression of brand personality. It is a form of communication that reinforces the hotel‘s brand positioning and supports the narrative of venue concepts. Threading together the perfect uniform takes detailed planning, but we can easily find inspiration. From the walks of the fashion industry to the streets of Paris, NY, and LA, there are many sources to collect style inspiration. Uniform planning takes detailed thought, but the outcome can help Team Members feel confident, united, and appreciated, collectively driving Team Member performance and guest satisfaction.


Our Take on ~ Key Uniform Trends

Sustainability Matters

Fashion-Forward Updates

Choose high-quality garments with traceable and environmentally responsible fabrics that will wash and wear well. Use uniforms as an opportunity to communicate your sustainable values to your guests and the wider community.

In a fast-paced market, companies can no longer expect their uniform style to be relevant for 5+ years. Leaders in the hospitality industry regularly implement stylish and fashion-forward workwear to update uniforms. This can be done incrementally, subtly and inexpensively.

Approachable & Relatable First impressions matter and uniforms set the tone. Embrace cool, effortless and approachable, but make sure your uniform is still functional and distinguishes your team from your guests.

Statement Pieces Don’t be afraid to make a statement and show what the concept is about. The best results come when you use a statement garment or accessory in a fun and flamboyant way.


Tailored Chic

Customization is a great way to bring uniqueness and a modern, designer edge to your brand. Customization ideas include custom leather apron straps, contrast stitching in your brand colors, feature buttons, silicone badging, modesty buttons or custom zip pulls.

While many hospitality uniforms are simple and relaxed, styles that have a more structured and sophisticated look are also gaining in popularity. Smart suiting with pops of color can lift a venue and give guests visual cues around team members’ roles. On the other hand, if you want a more tailored casual look — chinos, a T-shirt and a blazer give an instant update.

Right Unique strap detailing for aprons


Left A selection of uniforms from Finery

Culturally Aware


Uniforms are your brand translated into clothing and can distinguish your organization from your competitors. In terms of age, gender, ethnicity, religion and culture, diversity needs to be reflected in workwear choices to show team members that they are respected, valued and can perform at their best.

Skillfully designed uniform pieces can become desirable for the general public to own — they want to feel connected with their favorite restaurants and bars and taking home a piece of the brand is the ideal way to do this. Hats and T-shirts are the most popular merchandise items but sunglasses, aprons and jackets are common too.

How to ~ Start with the Basics

A casual uniform look

Building Blocks Go back to basics and think about uniforms as a series of building blocks. A good guide is to start with the base and then layer on additional garments, accessories and equipment specific to the role.

The Base

Added Layers



Jackets Waistcoats

Hats Glasses

POS Pen Notepad

Bib Aprons Half / Bistro Aprons

Ties Scarves Poket Squares

Top Shirts T-Shirts Polos Chef Jackets Porter Jackets

One Piece Dresses Jumpsuits

Bottom Trousers Skirts Shoes

Belts Braces Straps Sleeve Garters Jewelry Cuff Links Pins

Key Cards Name Badges Pins Walkie-Talkie Work Phone Lighter Bottle Opener Etc.

Uniform at Tyburn Kitchen in Hilton London Metropole

Key Considerations for Good Foundations

Since uniforms are designed from the base, considerations like climate, gender, body shapes, safety, durability, sustainability and ordering lead times all factor into the decision-making process. Not all of these factors will apply, but by accounting for them in the planning process, there is a greater chance of success for the resulting uniform.

Climate Adaptability, temperature fluctuation, breathability, sun protection, day to night, high visibility

Culture, Customs & Personal Needs

Durability Wear patterns, practical colors, movement, wash durability

Sustainability Natural fibers and materials, biodegradable or recyclable

Ordering Process International sizing, correctly fitting uniforms are vital, trial before you buy

Care and Storage Laundry solutions, storage areas, renewal budgets, recycling options

Appropriate look, body type and age, self-expression and religion, gender differences


How to ~ Create a Uniform Step by Step

Top A collection of natural fibers

Bottom Handcrafted leather

Define the Uniform Strategy Define brand and customer expectations, concept and colors, venue brand narrative, operational requirements, day part changes, climate, team structure, local culture and budget.

Engage with Suppliers and Designers Vet and shortlist a minimum of three suppliers and consider design needs.

create bespoke elements and check function needs.

Review Check full look and perform wear and wash tests.

Order Create team structure document, take team measurements, plan stock levels, and place order with agreed lead times.

Preparations RFP Process Create initial style board, brief chosen supplier/designer if applicable, request proposals for tender, and check costs and award contract.

Create Uniforms Finalize style board, create the base, choose materials and accessories,


Prepare storage and cleaning facilities, maintenance policies and grooming and uniform care training.

Launch Execute delivery, fittings, issue, final checks and go live.

Uniforms by Studio 104

How to ~ Take Uniform Design to the Next Level

Layering the Details The design of a uniform can be a storytelling opportunity for the brand concept. Design touches can be incorporated in many ways depending on the message for the concept, brand, team and operation.

Tailoring elements › Fabrics, patterns, cuts, hems, silhouettes, linings. Bespoke embellishments › Appliques, seams, stitches, buttons, zippers, embroidery, patches.

Accessories › Belts, braces, straps, ties, pocket squares, scarves, shoes, socks, glasses, sunglasses, hats, caps, bandanas, jewelery, pins, cuff links, brooches, hair accessories, branded equipment holsters, mobile phone cases and straps, tote bags.

Inspired Elements Apron details › Aprons are a key tool and accessory for many roles in restaurants and bars. These days, a wide range of aprons can be found from off-the-rack suppliers, but there are also several companies creating bespoke aprons by venue type and role. Suppliers are playing around with designs, colors, pockets, extra features, materials, ties and logos to tell exactly the right story. The humble apron has a huge role to play and can be a very effective style piece.

Headwear trends › Heads up for new headwear! Flat caps, bowler hats and bespoke headwear for bartenders, outdoor pool teams and other roles such as doorpersons are on trend. Styles chosen should be robust and in line with the overall uniform aesthetic.


The right shoes for the job › For front of house teams that are on their feet the entire shift, footwear cannot be an after-thought. The right shoes can have a real impact — providing comfort, safety and the right look. Some sneaker companies are now making options specifically developed for workwear, such as Vans® “Made For The Makers” and other brands that are using the opportunity for collaborations with fashion brands for short run, sell-out fashion drops. Sneakers can make a great impression, and these days high-heeled shoes are not always required — or even recommended — for front of house roles, such as hosts.

Right Colorful Nike sneakers


” I firmly believe that with the right footwear one can rule the world.” Bette Midler.

Custom pin

Story-telling badges & pins › Badges and pins can be a fun and inspirational way to communicate someone’s expertise or function. When positioned correctly, a badge or pin draws the eye and creates a talking point to spark guest and Team Member interaction.


Uniforms by Lady and Butler

Inspirational Uniforms by Design ~ Engaging a Uniform Designer

Uniform design has become such an important part of activating a concept that the worlds of concept design and fashion are coming together more frequently to support uniform designs for luxury, lifestyle and full-service venues. While off-the-rack products can be very high quality and good curation of pieces can result in an impactful and beautiful uniform, it’s advisable to engage experts to design unique or special pieces. This is especially relevant for venues in the luxury and lifestyle hotel categories as the storytelling elements are critical and often the exact solutions cannot be found on the market. Using a uniform designer allows teams to be precise in terms of detailing, storytelling, sizing, style and environmental impacts. If budgets are tighter, the uniform designer can be engaged for signature pieces, layering over items sourced from conventional, off-the-rack suppliers.


Top Designer Emily Bode partners with luxury hotel, Palm Heights on a limited edition jacket Unlock the complete version of this Botton

article by scanning the QR Code for a comprehensive read

The design features Palm Height's signature white and yellow stripes

Best Practice ~ When Engaging a Designer

Uniform designer Emily Bode teamed up with boutique hotel Palm Heights to create a limited-edition collection using the hotel’s iconic yellow and white palette.

For bespoke uniforms, it often helps to add the uniform direction to the branding scope, thus requiring a branding agency (with relevant expertise) to create the uniforms direction alongside the venue identity. The uniforms designer can then take the direction and manage the design of the uniforms package, working with the hotel team to brief producers or standard uniform suppliers to create the best pieces, unique to the venue. The result is completely unique, memorable and brand-building uniform pieces that are entirely aligned to the venue identity, often with quirky and remarkable details that stick in the memory of guests.


Merch ~ Take Home a Piece of Your Favorite Brand

These days, uniforms blur the line with fashion and merchandising. The uniform range is an opportunity to broaden a venue’s appeal and reach.

”There's no how-to road map to style. It’s about self-expression and, above all, attitude.”

By buying a garment with a brand logo or with a reference to the restaurant, guests can take home a piece of their favorite restaurant or bar. Merchandise allows guests to feel connected to the brand values and ethos of a bar or restaurant — and at the same time, it serves as a great advertisement for your venue.

Iris Apfel

Merchandise does not always follow the exact uniform style, but it is so closely aligned that it can be a good idea to consider merchandise at the same time as uniforms.

Top Ravi Restaurant and Adidas collaborate to release limited edition shoes


Great Grooming Uniforms are enhanced by great grooming. These days, grooming does not equal closely cropped hair, tieback styles and clean nails — it also includes allowing self-expression, use of color and adopting fashion trends. Like fashion and uniform styling, grooming styles and trends change, so staying up to date is key. Things like tattoos and piercings that were once taboo, are now more commonly seen in hospitality environments. Grooming direction should always be cleared by the local HR team and cover a range of topics

such as uniform standards, shoe maintenance, hat policies, make up, hair length and facial hair guidance, use of gloves, body odors and perfume use, jewelery guidance, tattoos and piercings and smoking hygiene. Aligned with this direction, and to support the care put into uniform styling and details, the addition of clean changing rooms, shower facilities, styling and hair/makeup tutorials and a positive approach to individuality and culture will allow Team Members to look and feel their best at work.

Explore the Food & Beverage Lobby Pages

Global Food & Beverage Resources

The Food & Beverage Lobby pages are constantly being refreshed with new content and resources to guide our Teams in developing and operating Branded Food & Beverage experiences. Check back often to find the latest on concepts, branding, and design.

Preview of the Global Food & Beverage Photography guide, soon to be published on the F&B Lobby page

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