StiR.mag #1

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mag

FOOD BEVERAGE

DESIGN SUSTAINABILITY

HILTON GLOBAL F&B BRANDS Issue No. 01 2022


For internal distribution only.

GLOBAL NEWS.

This issue’s article line-up features design, lifestyle and other trends that affect the way we look at F&B Brands at Hilton.

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THIS ISSUE.

A remarkable feat of hosting MENA’s 50 best restaurants ceremony by an even more remarkable team, at Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers.

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A poetic narrative of the latest jewel on the shores of Tulum, Mexico.

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OPENING SPOTLIGHT.

A strong, holistic narrative is the point of entry for restaurant design in 2022. Join us in Dubai for a new perspective on Indian restaurants.

CONCEPT DEEP DIVE.

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THE TEAM.

Meet the Hilton Global F&B Brands and Development team in all its global glory.


CUISINE SPOTLIGHT.

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F&B DESIGN.

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The under appreciated and growing trend of Philippine cuisine.

TRENDSPOTTING.

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Music Matters. A look at the global landscape of audiophile/ listening bars and the theatric experience of music in F&B.

A MARKETING POV.

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Actionable ways of tapping into this relentlessly growing industry.

Loyalty, a key driver behind much of the success of our hotel brands, deserves a look from our point of view.

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WELCOME.

A NEW CHAPTER. 04


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While the pandemic challenged our industry in ways no one could have imagined, as a company, we are excited and optimistic about the new, reinvigorated era of travel on the horizon. The need for human connection and pent-up demand for travel is bringing guests back to our hotels, restaurants and bars. Over the past two years our Global Food and Beverage Brand team has been hyper focused on the development of industry-leading, market-relevant and commercially viable concepts and programs that will attract guests - both new and old - to our properties as travel returns. At the beginning of the pandemic our Americas team created a food and beverage magazine as a resource for our hotels, providing creative ideas on revenue generation and cost savings to successfully navigate the ever-evolving operating environment. Fast forward to today, I am proud to share with you an enhanced version of that magazine, StiR. This quarterly publication, compiled by the Global Food and Beverage Brand team, highlights market-leading trends, concepts, and programs around the world. In this first issue readers will enjoy editorial content showcasing F&B concepts from the UAE to Mexico along with special features on music, cuisine, and design. I hope you, like I, not only enjoy this first issue but find inspiration and take pride in the work being done around the globe to elevate Hilton’s food and beverage. Cheers! ADAM CROCINI SVP, GLOBAL HEAD F&B BRANDS

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THE TEAM.

THE TEAM. ADAM CROCINI SVP, GLOBAL HEAD F&B BRANDS

Adam currently serves as the Senior Vice President and Global Head of Food and Beverage Brands at Hilton where he oversees the strategy, development and innovation for Hilton’s Food & Beverage experiences across Hilton’s portfolio of 18 world-class brands.

TEAM AMERICAS. STUART CLARKE SR. DIRECTOR, BRAND F&B PROGRAMS, AMERICAS

Stuart is a WSET and BarSmarts certified professional with extensive global F&B management experience. He has spent the past 10 years developing large-scale program roll outs such as Breakfast, Evening Reception and All-inclusive packages for Princess Cruises and Hilton’s Focused Service and Suites Brands.

EELCO BÖHTLINGK SR. DIRECTOR, BRAND F&B DEVELOPMENT, AMERICAS

Eelco leads the Americas Hilton Full Service, Lifestyle and Luxury F&B Brands team. In his work he applies a lens influenced by two decades of F&B management and development experience. His career gave him residencies in The Netherlands, UK, U.A.E, Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong and the U.S. and with that appreciation of global issues and regional specifics.

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RICHARD COHN SR. MANAGER, BRAND F&B DEVELOPMENT, AMERICAS

Richard manages F&B development and brand initiatives for Luxury and Lifestyle projects in the Americas. With a keen eye for detail and a passion to create strong, narrative-driven spaces, he turns ideas and stories into enduring restaurants. In his tenure, Richard has worked across the U.S, Latin America and the Caribbean.

CATHERINE KER SR. MANAGER, BRAND F&B DEVELOPMENT, AMERICAS

Catherine leads full-service F&B development in the Americas. Prior to her time at Hilton, Catherine spent over a decade in independent restaurants in top-tier markets – Washington, DC, New York, and Philadelphia – leading programs that range from fine dining and Michelin Star winners to neighborhood mainstays.

KEVIN QUINN SR. MANAGER, BRAND F&B PROGRAMS, AMERICAS

Kevin is responsible for initiatives and programs across nine Hilton Brands. His understanding of F&B operations comes from experience at two five-star, five-diamond hotels with Four Seasons. Further experience includes leadership at Founding Farmers and restaurant technology experience with leading omni-channel solutions.

JESSICA LU ANALYST, BRAND F&B DEVELOPMENT, AMERICAS

Jessica is passionate about supporting the team’s innovative projects and leveraging key restaurant industry trends. Jessica has experience in a wide variety of fields including government consulting, renewable energy and marketing.

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THE TEAM.

TEAM APAC. TEAM EMEA. ZARRA BARKI SR. DIRECTOR, BRAND F&B DEVELOPMENT, ASIA PACIFIC

Zarra leads the F&B Brands team in Asia Pacific. She started her career as a consultant, working with multiple hospitality brands, before joining Hilton more than 10 years ago. She has not only led teams in APAC but also EMEA, giving her a vast understanding of the requirements of the business. With a business and creative mindset, she is able to deliver what is required for the business.

EMMA XIANG DIRECTOR, BRAND F&B DEVELOPMENT, ASIA PACIFIC

Born in Beijing and raised in the U.S. and Singapore, Emma had the opportunity to explore her curiosity and expand her knowledge in global cuisines at a young age. After her studies in Switzerland, Emma started in hotel operations under the FRHI Group (now ACCOR) prior to joining Hilton. With her knowledge in operations and interest in all concept details, Emma has been focusing on bespoke concept development as well as Full Service prototypes in APAC for the past 7 years.

JONATHAN ONG MANAGER, BRAND F&B DEVELOPMENT, ASIA PACIFIC

Jonathan is the newest member of the Asia Pacific team. He has experience in F&B design and projects with companies such as Wilson Associates, EDG and HBA, which are all highly regarded hospitality design firms. Most recently, he was with the Shangri-La Group, managing key renovations in South East Asia. Jonathan was born and raised in Singapore and studied abroad at Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology, completing a Bachelor’s degree in Design.

DIAN WIDJAJA INTERIM MANAGER, BRAND F&B DEVELOPMENT, ASIA PACIFIC

Dian is a senior art director with experiences in creative conceptualisation and campaigns which includes TV commercials, outdoor, press, digital and social. With more than 10 years experience, Dian has worked for Young & Rubicam, Ogilvy, BBDO and DDB. She developed and art-directed on numerous brands such as Visa, Exxon, HP, LG, SK2 and Unilever. A graduate in graphic design and advertising from ARTU, San Francisco, Dian spent several years in advertising and branding agencies in San Francisco, before coming back to Singapore.

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HANNAH DAVIES SR. DIRECTOR, EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST, AFRICA

Hannah leads the EMEA F&B Brands team, bringing 25 years of experience in hospitality and retail. At Hakkasan, Selfridges and Caprice Holdings she was tasked with creating, growing and maintaining high quality, complex F&B businesses, collaborating with a variety of key stakeholders across the globe. Hannah thrives in a dynamic and social environment and loves creative challenges.

FAYAZ NAZEER DIRECTOR, MIDDLE EAST, AFRICA & TURKEY

Fayaz creates innovative, award-winning F&B concepts and is an integral part of the EMEA brand F&B team. He previously worked for D.REAM Group project managing and opening the world class restaurant brand Nusr-Et, and conceptualizing and opening Ruya, Esquire Middle East’s best restaurant for 2018. He is passionate about bringing in creativity and technology into his work.

YASMIJN BAAS MANAGER, EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST, AFRICA

Yasmijn is a highly imaginative and collaborative manager, working within in the EMEA Brand F&B team. Yasmijn uses her creativity and culinary knowledge to inform her concept and brand development work and continually draws on her education at Hotelschool The Hague, which has provided a solid foundation for her career at Hilton.

JOEP SONDEIJKER INTERIM MANAGER, EUROPE, MIDDLE EAST, AFRICA

Joep brings great energy and new ideas to the EMEA F&B Brand team, with 15 years of experience in hospitality. At Accor, IHG & Sircle Collection, Joep has held various hotel F&B development and operational roles. Joep thrives in a creative environment surrounded by talented people and innovative food & beverage concepts.

MONA ALAGHA INTERIM COORDINATOR, M. EAST, AFRICA & TURKEY

Mona is a creative coordinator with broad experience in graphic design and project management, taking projects from consultation stage, through conceptualization to delivery of the project. Her previous freelance and in-house roles covering several sectors put her in a great position to deliver impactful design work across every brand in the Hilton portfolio.

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GLOBAL NEWS.

GLOBAL NEWS.

THE INAUGURAL HOST OF MENA’S ‘50 BEST’ RESTAURANTS’

CONRAD ABU DHABI ETIHAD TOWERS WINS GREAT ACCLAIM HOSTING THE VERY FIRST MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA 50 BEST RESTAURANTS OFFICIAL AWARDS CEREMONY

Hannah Davies Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers was delighted to be selected as the official hotel for the inaugural edition of the Middle East & North Africa’s 50 Best Restaurants awards show in February 2022. From this year, the 19 countries that make up the Middle East and North Africa region are participating in their own 50 Best awards program. This is an extension of the hugely prestigious World’s 50 Best Restaurants awards, which dishes out highly coveted rankings to the most elite eateries on the planet. The awards event revealed the region’s 50 best restaurants on February 7th and the winner was 3 Fils, Dubai, officially named The Best Restaurant in the Middle East and North Africa 2022.

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Fayaz Nazeer, Director of F&B Brand Development EMEA at Hilton, describes 3 Fils as “an unpretentious, unlicensed restaurant serving delicious high quality Asian fare influenced by Japan at an affordable price point for Dubai. The menu is small, ingredients are top notch and the service is attentive and relaxed. This is one restaurant where it is all about the food, drinks and service, no flashy gimmicks.“ Second in the running was Zuma in Dubai, which serves flawless modern Japanese with eccentricity and flair; and the third place was won by OCD Restaurant in Tel Aviv, which is famous for seasonal Israeli cuisine.


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Some highlights of the landmark event that ran for a week in Abu Dhabi included: #50BestTalks, a thought-leadership forum; a series of dining events helmed by international and local chefs; and live chef-led masterclasses. Masterclasses included an exclusive session at Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers with Natsuko Shoji, who owns Été, an exclusive one-table, six-seat restaurant in Shibuya in the heart of Tokyo. Shoji was named Asia’s Best Pastry Chef 2020, while Été ranked No. 83 in the extended 51-100 list of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants 2021.

Photos page left to right: 01. Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers - one of the five luxury towers of the UAE‘s capital, overlooks the Arabian gulf. 02. Chef‘s on stage as the buffet descends from the ceiling. 03. Sweets on display with 50 Best branding. 04. Awards screen. 05. A signature dish from 3 Fils, best enjoyed at the restaurant‘s location overlooking Dubai‘s famed fishing harbor. 06. An interior shot of 3 Fils, displaying their modern use of inventive lighting and decor.

Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers was a fitting location for one of the most prestigious events in the culinary calendar as the property is one of the city’s most iconic culinary hotels and home to 12 award-winning restaurants and bars. The unique dining experience that the hotel is best known for is Le Petit Chef on the 63rd Floor at Ray’s Grill. Le Petit Chef is an immersive one-and-a-half hour multi-course, culinary journey which tells the story of the world’s smallest chef and brings the table to life using cutting edge 3D technology. Other culinary offers on property include VaKaVa by Richard Sandoval, celebrating the vibrant flavors and adventurous dining culture of Latin America and Japanese restaurant Tori No Su, serving award-winning sushi and teppanyaki. The 74th floor Observation Deck offers an unforgettable gourmet patisserie and tea experience. Alessandro Redaelli, General Manager of Conrad Abu Dhabi Etihad Towers comments with pride on hosting the awards: “We strive to be the best and most innovative when it comes to food and beverage offerings. Therefore, being able to host such a prestigious event within our property celebrating the crème de la crème of the MENA food and beverage industry is an absolute honor.“

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OPENING SPOTLIGHT:.

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Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya


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OPENING SPOTLIGHT.

CONRAD TULUM RIVIERA MAYA Richard Cohn In a universal way, there is a great feeling of pride and enthusiasm that endures in the first months after a hotel opening. And yet, there are some projects where this strong sense of accomplishment and the feeling of triumph are amplified. Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya is one of those projects.

Inaugurating a new chapter in the long story of aspirational development in Mexico’s Riviera Maya, Conrad Tulum offers an experience entirely new – impressive in its scale, breathtaking in its location, and rich in its food and beverage proposition. From the moment that one winds along the main road, a twisting path full of life and surrounded by an endless expanse of lush mangroves, a soothing feeling of tranquility sets in. Immediately upon arrival to the resort, one naturally wanders to the

edge of the lobby to take in the unobstructed ocean views. A stroll down either of the two long column-flanked promenades leads to the restaurant and bar core, the natural heart of the resort. The food and beverage program was planned around a main principle whose echo and character is felt in each of the concepts. The idea itself is simple – extracting the surroundings – but takes on a greater resonance when one considers the innate beauty and rich cultural heritage of the region.

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OPENING SPOTLIGHT.

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Arrival, Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya

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OPENING SPOTLIGHT.

BOLD DESIGN & EXQUISITE DINING Chaak Bar, a calming refuge for cocktails and conversation, is named in tribute to the Mayan god of rain, which juxtaposes against the space’s purpose as a quiet shelter from the elements.

and seafood from Mexico and beyond that is prepared simply, always with a delicate touch. Kengai, a tribute to the Jacaranda tree that was transported to Mexico from Japan, is an interactive space for teppanyaki-style dining. And perhaps the greatest expression of the region, Autor is a hub of creative gastronomy, showing the best of regional Mexican cooking prepared in a forward-thinking, thoughtful way. Punctuated by Arbolea, a whimsical place for an interesting breakfast and the three poolside Chiringuitos, each of the 11 restaurants and bars delivers an experience that can be called its own.

Steps away, Cafetal is the resort’s main café and marketplace. An evocation of the pre-hispanic ‘Tianguis,’ a communal marketplace and commercial hub, Cafetal celebrates its Mexican roots with an elegant twist. At the edge of the main pool and perched just in front of the beach, Ultramar is generous in both footprint and spirit. An unabashed expression of la mar, or the sea, the bar is open from day to night, serving crisp drinks and cantina-style classics all under a veil of uplifting and energetic music. Flanking Ultramar on either side are the restaurants, each with its own perspective and story, but both feel at home in their surroundings. Maratea celebrates the diverse culinary heritage of the coastal Mediterranean basin, featuring dishes from Sevilla to Turkey. Ukai is a modern Japanese Sushi bar that celebrates sustainably caught fish

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What binds them is harder to describe – a genuine feeling of belonging – but is instinctively felt from arrival to departure. It is, after all, what makes this resort and resorts like it the special places that they are.


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Ukai, Conrad Tulum Riviera Maya

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CONCEPT DEEP DIVE.

CONCEPT DEEP DIVE.

REPUBLIC ADDA, BAR & LOUNGE Hannah Davies Republic Adda, Bar & Lounge is a newly opened modern Indian gastro pub and sports bar at DoubleTree by Hilton Dubai Business Bay. A modern eatery with an irreverent vibe, Republic offers a brand-new take on Indian street food in a relaxed pub setting, playing on trends such as fun dining, convenience and the rediscovery of Indian street dishes. The concept is inspired by the Indian word “ADDA,” a place where people gather for conversation. Republic is unpretentious, comfortable and the perfect after work venue where guests can relax or enjoy modern Indian food and drinks while watching their favorite sports. The name is inspired by the archaic meaning of Republic, “a group with a certain equality between its members” and the official name of the world’s largest republic “REPUBLIC OF INDIA”.

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CONCEPT DEEP DIVE.

FOOD AND DRINK AND DESIGN. Food at Republic is an authentic and modern reflection of the street food of India. Menus offer the right mix of dishes for each part of the day, with curated drinks to match. The creative and colorful menu starts with a selection of street foods with the PUCHKKA 2.0 as a must try dish, a modern take on the humble “Pani Puri.” Additional highlights of the menu include BEEF KALLIMIRCH, rib eye cubes in signature pepper sauce, curry leaves and Indian onion rings; BLACK OUT SAMOSA, butter chicken stuffed charcoal pastry with zaatar and date chutney; and BEET CAKES, roasted beet cutlets with spiced potato, chili garlic ketchup and coriander lime mayo, the perfect dish for vegans to share. The menu then moves onto Indian versions of burgers, sandwiches and stews. The RDX is Republic’s take on the popular Dal Makhani, slow cooked lentils in signature masala with mint chutney, onion slaw and naan bread. The menu concludes with the ‘SugarRush,’ theatrical desserts including JIIM BABA KA CHOCOLATE, a fondant and caramelized Rasmalai crème brulée with mango and Khari puff pastry biscuits.

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Meanwhile, the beverage program has an irreverent and fun personality with the tone set by title headings such as ‘Whiskey Is Not Risky’ and ‘Wine – Juice With More Life Experience.’ Guests will also smile at the signature cocktail program and the spirits offering, categorized under bold and daring titles such as ‘Trust Me, You Can Dance – Tequila’ and ‘Let The Evening Be-Gin’. No- and low-alcohol trends are well represented. A range of mocktails and tonics with seasonal flavors - like rhubarb with hibiscus and pink grapefruit with bergamot - are stars of the show. The food and drink program is rounded out by thoughtful and well-integrated design and branding. Republic‘ s vibrant color palette and artwork is influenced by the beautiful, rich tones found in traditional Indian art, pattern work and textiles. Indian street art and the illustration style of classic pop art were muses in the visual identity process. They were merged to create a bespoke illustration style that incorporates speech bubbles, shapes and color to express product offerings and event promotions in a fun, ironic and social way.


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CONCEPT DEEP DIVE.

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CONCEPT DEEP DIVE.

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INDULGE. The cuisine at Republic reflects the vibrant nature of Indian street food with modern finesse and theatrics. Pictured page left to right: Republic‘s BAO TIME selection - Murg, Ghoshila and Anarkali, Pepper Fry Beef Bun, passion fruit tonic with mint and their trio of Popsicle cocktails.

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F&B DESIGN.

F&B DESIGN.

SOUND AT THE EPI(C)CENTER Eelco Böhtlingk With going-out becoming more of a special event in much of the world, the importance of elevated, all-senses experiences has been growing. If the entry barriers are higher, then the same is true of the demands that customers place on such F&B experiences. Enter listening bars – venues that elevate the experience through analog music media, played on high-end audio equipment, that’s carefully selected (and storied), resulting in a crescendo of harmonic euphoria. There is legitimate industry history in this. Listening bars have been an institution in Japan since the 1950s. These hifi Kissa bars, as they are known, pair acoustic greatness with older adult hosts serving whiskey and coffee. By now, many bars inspired by this scene have emerged around the world. Culture and lore are growing, of connoisseurship, grace and obsession. We’re taking a global look at this scene in the hunt for inspiration.

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F&B DESIGN.

The start of our journey is, without question, Tokyo and 20th century Kissa bars that serve as inspiration to many. Japan is a country rooted in traditions but does not shy away from slow evolution without losing any of its original essence.

TOKYO Tokyo’s many jazz Kissa (cafés), where locals sit for hours listening to record collections that can number in the thousands, originated between the 1950s and 1970s. This is when the Japanese discovered the genre through the scores of French New Wave films and a series of influential live performances. A shortage of quality performances and jazz radio stations, plus the exorbitant expense of audio equipment and imported records, made Tokyo’s jazz cafes a necessity for music enthusiasts, many of whom became almost singularly obsessed with the genre. To this day, these Kissa are still more like vinyl audio museums than places to grab a coffee. Our inspiration: JBS (JAZZ, BLUES, SOUL) SAMURAI KISSA SEIKATSU BIG BOY LION’S CAFE

THE BRIDGE SHELTER OATH MUSIC BAR BERKANA NIGHTINGALE In style of the original Kissa, later iterations did not lose any of the spirit of their predecessors. They follow progressive music programming, serving a more varied demographic, with some embracing high-energy events.

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Kissa through the time (L-R) 01. Wearing a customary white bartender’s coat, owner Shuhei Okamura follows traditional Japanese cocktail techniques. - Ahiru Sha 02. Since its inception in 1989 Shelter is focused on providing both quality of music and tasty alcohol - Shelter Tokyo 03. Equipped with high-quality Rey Audio speakers, Bridge offers a refuge from Tokyo’s bustling streets. - Bridge 04-05. Owner Yosuke-san went to Panama City personally to dig for records for his hole in the wall listening bar. - Baobab

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F&B DESIGN.

Concepts range from big room, high -energy restaurants to intimate listening cafes. For one such intimate space with an underlying ethos that is very common amongst passionate proprietors of kissa-inspired bars, we look at a spot in Berlin.

GERMANY RHINOÇÉROS, BERLIN Rhinower Straße 3 Website

"After becoming totally hooked by stories of our Dj and musician friends that were coming back from Japan, we opened Rhinoçéros, a place dedicated to music, good times and the perfect sound. Our concept is driven by the Japanese Jazz Kissa – and Bar – Culture, small joints serving coffee and whisky, while older adult hosts are playing jazz records on a vintage hi-fi. The concept is easy: the heart of the Bar are two beautiful wooden Bowers & Wilkins Speakers from 1976, one round Micro-Seiki Turntable from ’81 and a Quad Amp & Preamp, from the early 70s. We play records from our own collection, or we have guest selectors. No DJ’s as such, as we always play A – and B-Side of the record. Our guests can also bring their own records to play on our very warm sounding and super balanced. And sometimes we also have little intimate live concerts. We are happy to welcome you in our cozy place and we hope you will enjoy as much as we do hosting you.” Martina & Bénédict

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Intimate charm Listening bar in the orginial spirit of the Tokyo Kissa jazz cafes - Rhinoçéros, Berlin.


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Big room sound Audiophile, high-energy heaven; Horn-loaded vintage speakers in a cutting edge acoustically treated space by Arup - Public Records NYC 31


F&B DESIGN.

Cosmopolitan urban centers, in the form of free-standing venues, is where we would expect the cultivation of trends like these before we see the adaptation in other markets or hotels. Cities like Barcelona, Berlin, London, Mexico City, New York and Tokyo, to name a few, have ample examples of venues that lead the way and are worthy of a first look in our search for music led F&B experiences.

UNITED STATES PUBLIC RECORDS, NEW YORK 233 Butler Street, Brooklyn Website

Housed in a historic building, Public Records is a music and social space that features a hi-fi record bar and an intimate performance space for live acts and DJs. Public Records intended to create a concept that puts together serious music with a serious approach to hospitality. Where many bars have limited rotating playlists, the expansive record library breaks the disconnect between the hospitality and music worlds.

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ASIA APPETITE, SINGAPORE 72A Amoy St. Website | Spotify

Appetite was previously a lawyer’s office that’s been turned into a R&D kitchen, record bar, art gallery and events venue. The space features an open-plan test kitchen with a semi-circular dining counter, a living/listening room with a 3,000-strong vintage vinyl record collection, art gallery, and hi-fi setup complete with a music director on staff.

UNITED KINGDOM A global look 01. Public Records has an active following courtesy of their varied programming. 02. As multi-event, art, music and food destination, Appetite offers a new experience in Singapore’s mature market. 03. Spiritland’s reputation in the music industry has gone far beyond that of a music activated F&B destination. 04. Tokyo Music Bar in Mexico City cleverly combines music selectors with mixologists.

SPIRITLAND, LONDON King's Cross Royal Festival Hall Mayfair Headphone bar Website | Mixcloud

Spiritland was created to allow people the luxury of listening to music actively, rather than as a background hum - which is uncommon in today’s permanently stimulated, multi-tasking environment. Success has expanded Spiritland into multiple F&B venues, a fully fledged production studio and radio station.

MEXICO TOKYO MUSIC BAR, MEXICO CITY Río Pánuco 132, planta alta Website

Founded by Edo Kobayashi, the main objective of Tokyo Music Bar is to provide Japanese food made in Mexico on the same level as it’s served in its homeland. Tokyo Music Bar appears to be modeled after the great Ginza Music Bar in Tokyo, sharing the same set of Tannoy Westminster speakers bookending the bar, identical McIntosh MC452’s for power and, of course, a beautiful collection of our favorite Garrard 301 turntables for the spinning.

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F&B DESIGN.

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Statement piece Instead of treating speakers as an interior design interference, consider using them as a marque statement of the music-focused nature of your venue - Spiritland

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F&B DESIGN.

Now we take a look at a hotel collective that builds their DNA around audiophile music culture. Potato Head runs successful listening bars, a music studio, radio station and event platform in their hotels in Bali and independently in Hong Kong and Singapore.

INDONESIA STUDIO EKSOTIKA, DESA POTATO HEAD, BALI Seminyak, Kuta Utara Website | Spotify | Headstream radio

Desa Potato Head is an extension of the original Beach Club with a luxury boutique hotel, Katamama, OMA’s Potato Head Studios (hotel), headphone bar, various restaurants and bars, and a li tening bar, vinyl library and radio station. Their obsession with high-fidelity and analogue music media is apparent in everything they do and has resulted in a huge loyal following in the competitive resort and beach club market of Bali/Asia.

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Hotel application 01-02. Desa Potato Head recently expanded its reach to remote fans through a radio station. 03. Studio Eksotika forms the auditive heart of the creative village Desa Potato Head.

Listening bar Studio Eksotica provides a sleek gallery-like space with reflective floors and comfy couches. It’s a multi-functional space inside Potato Head Studios with a library of intellectual page-turners as well as an audiophile setup helmed by Jakarta-born DJ Dea Barandana. It’s worth a detour and not just when in Bali - it’s worth seeking out on a continent level, something that many music aficionados visiting Asia are doing frequently.

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F&B DESIGN.

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Controlled concept aesthetic The appearance of a welcoming, mid-century living room, but with decidedly purist, acoustic and auditive underpinnings. - Potato Head

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F&B DESIGN.

Beyond the simple listening bar, we’re seeing more and more examples of this audiophile experience being combined with a restaurant, bar and event space. One of the more successful examples is Hong Kong’s Potato Head, which is competing for patrons in a dense, overtly competitive F&B city where longevity is an art and out-of-the box, quality experiences the point-of-entry.

Memorable experiences Re-purposed vintage speakers hooked up to analog music sources leave an imprint of a controlled concept aesthetic with its patrons.

ASIA MUSIC ROOM, POTATO HEAD, HONG KONG 2nd street, Sai Ying Pun Website | Spotify

It’s quite a remarkable feat to marry a popular neighborhood everyday occasion restaurant (full disclosure, that I was part of until recently) and a much sought out weekend destination. Potato Head Hong Kong nails it. The authentic Indonesian restaurant which has a sister spot in Bali -delivers accessible culinary depth, and the adjoining bar will give you a reason to stop by more than you should. The speakeasy, audiophile Music Room is an emotional link to your visit that most venues strive for but never accomplish. The listening bar itself earns high praise because of its acoustic properties, which offer comfort and the ability to converse, even at higher than average sound levels. The consistently high quality music programming is complemented by the high end and vintage charm of the sound system. The audio system itself features vintage JBL Pro 4335 series loudspeakers, Macintosh tube pre-amps and amplifiers, custom-made rotary mixer from Japan, and vintage Klipsch La Scala speakers.

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I hope these venues inspire how the combination of music, sound quality and curation can be an experience driver. Whatever the scale and type of venue, there are almost always meaningful ways of delivering a better experience, whether it is through curated music, higher fidelity speakers, better audio sources and distribution, or acoustic improvements.


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MUSIC MATTERS. Of all sensory inputs, we respond quickest to sound. It’s the sense that reaches the brain first and functions as an organizer for the rest of our senses. Whether we realize it or not, sound guides our choices every single moment.

tirely diverse customer base yields a list of the most popular current songs across all genres – and as a consequence, this sound is not ownable.

Knowing this, one should wonder why sound quality and music is so often overlooked as part of the design strategy.

Playing music that reflects brand values makes a big difference in sales compared with playing random popular songs.

This study, carried out by The Swedish Retail Institute, analyzed a pool of nearly two million purchases. It assessed how music influences sales, what effect brand fit music has on customer satisfaction and what role song popularity plays.

Playing a mix of popular and lesser known songs that still have a good brand fit turns out to be a recipe for even higher sales.

What is brand fit music? Music with a strong brand fit matches the brand or restaurant’s personality. It’s music that “feels” like the brand, in the same way that the chosen interiors, materials and lighting in a restaurant evoke certain emotions. Because the sound is unique to the brand, it becomes ownable and helps a brand build stronger and longer lasting relationships with its customers. Customer fit music, by contrast, is music that matches the customers‘ taste in music. But the more diverse the customer base is, the more difficult it becomes to develop a distinct sound that matches the full spectrum of musical preferences. An en-

Key findings:

Quantified, playing music that fits the brand makes guests more likely to buy additional items. Dessert sales in particular, rose by more than 15%. In addition to the well-known agencies, a new entrant in this space is Mustard Music, which focuses on price competitive music curation and distribution to achieve concept, brand and market alignment. Many of our hotels can benefit from a renewed approach to music and re-invigorate the guest experience. Reach out to the F&B Brands team to start on this journey. Your revenue will thank you.

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CUISINE SPOTLIGHT.

CUISINE SPOTLIGHT.

PHILIPPINES

Jessica Lu Filipino food has been on the rise since the mid-2010s and shows no signs of stopping. The Philippines, an archipelagic country in Southeast Asia, is a nation of rich diversity and intense history. Like the dynamic nature of its food, the Philippines has endured a complex past of colonization, war and cultural mingling Often called the first fusion cuisine, Filipino, or Pinoy, food tells a story of the occupation and influence of many other countries and cultures. From the Chinese who introduced soy sauce, rice and egg rolls, to the Spanish who brought tomatoes, cattle and cutlery, or the American introduction of fried chicken, spam and microwaves, Filipino cuisine exists, in part, as the amalgamation of “east meets west.”

In addition to the eastern and western influences on Filipino cuisine, the palate of Filipino food exists through its own lens. The intricately layered Pinoy flavors of sweet, sour and salty have been translated through foreign dishes, ultimately creating something distinctly Filipino. For example, the Spanish-influenced dish lechon has a dynamic layered flavor, thanks to its liver sauce that’s made with vinegar and brown sugar. And the Jolibee-style spaghetti with hotdogs puts a sweet twist on the classic spaghetti and meatballs. Filipino cuisine has not often shared the same spotlight as other Asian cuisines. The fear in perception that many Filipinos faced growing up may have influenced this unpopularity. Cheryl Tiu, a Filipino-American journalist, observes, “We were colonized for so many years, and we were made to think that anything imported was better.” Erica Pardes, a Paris-based Filipino chef, echoes this sentiment. “It almost seems as though we never thought that our food was good enough to put on the global stage,” she says.

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Photos, from page left to right: 01. Lechon, derived from the Spanish word for roasted suckling pig, is one of the most popular dishes in the Philippines. The slowly-roasted suckling pig is usually stuffed with lemongrass, tamarind, garlic, onions and chives, and is then roasted on a large bamboo spit over an open fire. 02. Ube flavored soft serve ice cream 03. Jollibee is a Filipino multinational fast food chain known for its fan favorites, including fried chicken, French fries, pies, spaghetti, burgers and more.

It also did not help when delicacies such as Balut, fertilized duck embryo, and Betamax, grilled chicken blood, were regularly “fear factor-ified.” This sentiment of Filipino cuisine has quickly changed over the past couple of years. Young Filipino chefs have reinvigorated the flavors of the Philippines to create bright and authentic dishes. The rise of Filipino cuisine is just beginning and the bold and unapologetic talent of Pinoy chefs has created a burgeoning demand for these unique flavors. Restaurant owners and chefs can draw inspiration from the growing rise of Filipino food through pop-up concepts or adding Filipino inspiration to their menus. As more and more people seek out the unique flavors of the Philippines, exploring this cuisine is a great way to stay relevant and drive customer interest.

FILIPINO FLAVOR SPOTLIGHT: UBE Ube is a bright purple yam native to the Philippines. Traditionally used in Filipino desserts, Ube has found popularity in foods all over the world. The mild but sweet flavor is often compared to white chocolate, pistachio and vanilla. With its punchy color, it is no wonder that ube hasbeen lauded as “the most Instagrammable food” and “Filipino America’s breakout food.”

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CUISINE SPOTLIGHT.

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CUISINE SPOTLIGHT.

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FILIPINO CHEFS ABROAD: JOHN BUENAVENTURA EXECUTIVE CHEF HILTON ABU DHABI YAS ISLAND Chef John Buenaventura is the veritable role model for Filipinos who want to break out in the culinary world – skillful, competitive, charismatic and ballsy. Undeterred by setbacks when he first launched his own entrepreneurial venture Cuisinero Uno some years back, he continues to be the culinary personality who has captured the attention of the mainstreamfoodie audience, as well as the media. Chef John has been part of the pre-opening team of prestigious international brand Waldorf Astoria at the Dubai International Financial Center. Currently, he is Executive Chef at the Hilton Abu Dhabi Yas Island. He has also been featured in Flava Monteiro’s “Legacy” book as one of the finest chefs in the region and has been named a brand ambassadors of “Chef’s Roll” USA, all while maintaining his title as the youngest cluster chef in the EMEA region. As one of the few Filipino chefs representing his country on a global front, Chef John remarks, “My main objective and advocacy is to inspire Filipinos, specifically chefs to look out of the box and compete globally. Take risks, fail, learn, stand up and keep trying until you reach a certain level that you do not have to introduce yourself when you enter a room full of different professionals from different parts of the world.”

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TRENDSPOTTING.

W

WELLNESS WITH A CAPITAL

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TRENDSPOTTING.

THE INTERSECTION OF WELLNESS AND F&B

Catherine Ker Currently, the consumer wellness market is worth more than $1.5 trillion USD and maintains an annual growth rate of five to 10% year over year. While wellness is not a new concept, latest research shows that consumers view wellness through a much broader lens than in the past, and their definition of wellness continues to evolve over time. In an April 2021 report by McKinsey & Company titled Feeling Good, The Future of the $1.5 Trillion Wellness Market, a survey of more than 7,500 consumers in six countries showed that “79% of the respondents said they believe that wellness is important, and 42% consider it a top priority.” Food retail executives have taken heed of the importance of wellness and nutrition for consumers and have cited ‘health and wellness’ and ‘leveraging food to manage and avoid health issues’ as the top two opportunities that could positively impact sales and profits. Wellness is best categorized into six distinct categories: better health, better fitness, better nutrition, better appearance, better sleep and better mindfulness. For our discussion on wellness’ impact on the food and beverage retail experience on property, we will focus on wellness and nutrition.

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TRENDSPOTTING.

Nutrition has always been a part of wellness, but now consumers want food to help them accomplish their wellness goals in addition to tasting good. Two questions arise from this discovery: what food and beverage trends have emerged in response to consumer sentiments, and what specific food and beverage products hold the top spots within the wellness retail category?

Plant-based food Plant-based is more than a trend, it’s become a behemoth of an industry. In the past two years, sales have grown 43%, nine times faster than total food sales. According to a recent Bloomberg report, “[plant-based foods] will continue to outpace conventional products throughout the decade, with plant-based meat and dairy products leading the way.”

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Nutritious snacks “Better for you” snacks have grown to a $39 billion market in the United States as of 2020. This growth is a direct response to consumers’ demand to fulfill “better nutrition” and pursue a “path to purity,” or a diet consisting of minimal and whole ingredients. For example, Pepsico created BFY! Snacks with a dual strategy of reviewing existing recipes and reformulating their products while simultaneously expanding on their nutritious snack portfolio with new offerings. Other large food retailers have followed suit with similar initiatives, including General Mills and Nestle’s “Healthier Lives” and Mondelēz International’s “Protecting the Well-Being of the People and the Planet.”


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“Hero“ Ingredients & dynamic duos According to Spoonshot, an AI-powered food and beverage insights platform, “half of all food and beverage product launches in the United States promote a single hero ingredient, but opportunities exist for food and beverage marketers to promote the benefits of ingredient pairs.” A hero ingredient, by definition, is a specific ingredient or a category of ingredients that offer and provide an associated benefit that is health related. Dynamic duos are ingredient combinations that amplify the benefits of hero ingredients.For example, the addition of black pepper to products that contain turmeric allows for higher absorption of curcumin, the powerful component of turmeric that offers antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits.

Functional drinks The functional beverage market is growing at an unprecedented rate, nearly outpacing the growth of the plant-based food category. These drinks are used by more than half of adults and include an added boost of nutrition, provide specified solutions for a range of health conditions or claim to improve overall health, are used by over half of adults. Consumers most often look for beverages that promote higher energy levels, bone and joint health, reduced anxiety, and improved immunity.

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“Health has become mainstream. Ideas like clean label, antibiotic fre and grow your own are n longer fringe — they are ubiquitous.” 52


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ee, no

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TRENDSPOTTING.

OUR TOP 10

WELLNESS BEVERAGES AMERICAS

1 Sweet Reason’s CBD Evening Blend CBD 2 Wildwonder’s Guava Rose Gut-Health, Probiotic, Sparkling Beverage 3 Driftwell’s Blackberry Lavender Enhanced Water Beverage for relaxation 4 Vital Protein’s Peach White Tea Collagen Water for hair, skin, nail, and joint health 5 Poppi’s Doc Pop Gut-Heath modern soda 6 Kin Euphoric’s Kin Spritz Social Energy Mocktail 7 Sunwink Hibiscus Mint Unwind Sparkling Detox Tonic 8 SWAY ENERGY’s Passionfruit Energy and Immunity Boosting Drink 9 Mad Tasty’s Unicorn Tears Hemp-Infused Sparkling Water 10 Health-Ade Pink Lady Apple Kombucha

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&

SNACKS 1 Honey Mama’s Cocoa Truffle Bars 2 Dang Toasted Coconut Chips 3 Moon Cheese 100% Cheddar Cheese 4 Baja Beef Jerky Variety Pack 5 Hippeas Organic Chickpea Puffs 6 Hu Keto Cookies 7 That‘s it 100% Natural Real Fruit Bar 8 Lupii Lupini Bean Protein Bars 9 GoodPop Organic Freezer Pops 10 Wonderful Pistachios Sea Salt & Vinegar

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TRENDSPOTTING.

Nutritous and tasty (According to the experts) Each year, Whole Food forecasts their top trends for the upcoming year. The 2022 report includes several buzz topics, from reducetarianism to “grains that give back” to ultraurban farming. But most significantly, wellness food and beverage items such as “functional fizz” drinks, alcohol-free spirits and sunflower seed snacks appear on the top 10 list alongside many other health-forwardfoods. Many other major media publications have compiled their own “top wellness food lists,“ but we have linked our favorites here: Whole Food‘s 2022 Food Trend Report Bloomberg‘s Plant-Based Foods Poised for Explosive Growth The Food Industry Association‘s Power of Health and Well-Being in Food Retail The NPD Group’s Eating Patterns in America

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Take-away

The significance of wellness in guests‘ selection of food and drink is undeniable. More and more, guests are opting to choose beverage, snacks and made-to-order items that align with their wellness and nutritional goals. Hotel owners and operators should consider integration of more wellness-oriented food and drink as a response to this here-to-stay trend.


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A MARKETING POV.

A MARKETING POV.

PRICING LOYALTY: F&B SUBSCRIPTION Jessica Lu

In February of 2020, Panera launched its unlimited coffee subscription program to great success. For $8.99 a month, customers were able to receive unlimited coffee at any Panera, any time. The loyalty and fanbase of this program were immediate and helped Panera keep its footing even after the pandemic hit the United States. This became even more apparent through the numbers – with over 40 million subscribers, 35% of users are new customers and 35% of coffee orders now include food. Panera’s subscription program has been an industry leader in the growing trend of capturing guest loyalty in restaurants. Now, rewards and subscription programs are becoming more important as businesses recognize the power of winning customer loyalty. Taco Bell released the “Taco Lover’s Pass” that lets customers get a-taco-a-day for $10 a month. Sweetgreen is piloting a “Sweetpass” for $10 a month which can be used for a $3 credit once each day. And Chick-fil-a has seen sweeping success with their “Chick-fil-a One” program where customers can earn redeemable points for every purchase. Even though these large food and beverage companies might have more means for developing these programs, loyalty programs are here to stay, and these industry trends have begun to trickle down to smaller, more independent restaurants.

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Redefining regulars Companies like Table 22 have recognized this opportunity and have been capitalizing on the growing importance of loyalty by helping restaurants build successful subscription programs. With an all-in-one platform, they partner with independent restaurants to develop easily integrated subscription packages that provide a new model of customer patronage in the transient world of food and beverage.


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Restaurants are able to develop specially curated monthly memberships that offer dinner packages, at-home tastings, exclusive offers and more. Beloved restaurants across the U.S. - from Michelin starred establishments like The Four Horsemen (New York, NY) to momand- pop and shops, such as Restaurant Iris (Memphis, TN) - are all capable of utilizing loyalty to build more business. Table 22 restaurants boast an average subscription growth of 25% monthly while retaining more than 80% of their subscribers after the first six months and running their subscriptions at a 30% or more profit margin. By redefining what a regular customer looks like, restaurants can have more control in the stability and consistency of everyday restaurant operations. People want to see restaurants succeed, and by providing enticing subscription packages, customers are more likely to provide patronage and loyalty to the restaurant.

The power of psychology Everyone likes free food. Creating a rewards program can yield great dividends as the psychology of positive reinforcement can be a powerful way for people to develop a sustained relationship with a restaurant. People are motivated to reach goals, and by offering consistently attainable prizes, customers are willing to spend more to receive the satisfaction of winning. With this cycle of constant work to achieve prizes, customers then create a continual investment and personal attachment to the restaurant, thus creating a habit of loyalty. Restaurant management companies such as Toast, BentoBox and OpenTable offer restaurants many ways of developing these rewards programs. Rewards programs began with large, franchised restaurant chains and are now making their way to smaller, more independent organizations. By leveraging the power of psychology and partnership, any restaurant can now effectively integrate rewards into their customer experience.

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A MARKETING POV.

Take-away

Loyalty programs create a symbiotic relationship between a restaurant and its customers. Not only do customers get the satisfaction of being rewarded through meaningful value, but it also provides a great opportunity for restaurants to add stability to the business, tap into consumer analytics and test new ideas to a loyal fanbase.

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Photos from left to right. 01. El Pollo Loco‘s loyalty application for mobile. 02. Pret’s monthly coffee subscription 03. Taco Bell‘s Taco Loco Pass 04. MyPanera+ coffee subscription provides unlimited hot coffee, iced coffee or hottea at all Panera restaurants for a monthly fee of $9, or about $108 annually. 05. Sonny‘s Natural Wine and Pizza Club partners with Plant Wines and Table22 to bring you special bottles you can’t find at Sonny’s or the No Kisses Bottle Shop. Guests select their tier and get exclusive bottles, free pizza, wine tastings, delivery and even more perks.

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