Page 22

MEET THE NEWSMAKER

Robby Younes COO, Crystal Springs Resort, NJ

F

or or the past 10 years Robby Younes’ passion and expertise have been vital to establishing Crystal Springs as New Jersey’s leading year-round resort. He first joined the team as the Director of Food & Beverage, he served as the resort’s Vice President after a career working in renowned boutique hotels before recently getting promoted to the Chief Operating Officer. Past experience includes working at notable hotel names like the Waldorf Astoria, as well as Starwood and Hilton properties. But it’s his work with Crystal Springs that deserves the spotlight. The Younes strategy has always been to focus on foodservice as the centerpiece of a hotel property’s signature. His uncompromising approach to menus has become his hallmark. “At Crystal Springs, it began on the very first day with the quality of the burger that we were going to serve our golfers,” Younes said. “I opted for a better burger at a higher price point and they

omy have been my go-to from the very beginning. They understand that I want to combine our passion and commitment to the highest quality ingredients with the latest technology so that we can be consistent whether we are serving an a The Grand Cascades Lodge at Crystal Springs Resort la carte lunch or a all thought I was crazy. That burger wedding reception topped with fresh Jersey tomato and of 300. Economy helped us design Vidalia onion became a signature.” what we call our smart kitchen by takYounes also understands the imporing the time to listen to our needs and tance of the right kitchen design and then to bring in the power and flexibilequipment to be able to consistently ity of combi ovens to accomplish that execute the high-quality menus that goal throughout our foodservice ophis customers have come to expect. eration. It’s great to know that with the Very early in his tenure at Crystal Konzelman’s you have 24/7 access to Springs, he was able to secure the virespond to what can be a wide diversion and flexibility he needed from an sity of needs in our kitchens,” Younes equipment and supply dealer. added. “The Konzelman brothers at EconDuring his tenure, Younes has un-

The prestigious Crystal Springs wine cellar, center of the resort’s invigorated wine program, which has continued to amass an impressive collection of prized and rare wines under the guidance of Robby Younes.

22 • April 2018 • Total Food Service • www.totalfood.com

An Octopus dish from Restaurant Latour by Sarah Anne Ward

Robby Younes, COO, Crystal Springs Resort

dertaken several impressive initiatives that provided substantial revenue growth and recognition for the resort, including the creation of the highly regarded New Jersey Wine & Food Festival. He’s also renovated the resort’s hotels, recruited top culinary talent, created innovative partnerships with farmers and producers to increase their sustainability efforts and will soon open the four-star Restaurant Latour, which is touted as the resort’s culinary pièce de résistance. Younes’ achievements in the hospitality industry are by far impressive, but the 39-year-old hospitality executive and industry expert would have never thought he’d have a career like this. “I didn’t know that I was going to be in the business when I was younger,” he recounts. “But things take place in your life where you go back and say, “Wait a second…those things happened for a reason.” Growing up in Lebanon, Younes experienced many hardships as a child, but it was those challenges that helped shape the hard working and resilient executive that he is today. The son of an army officer, Younes was also interested in food, enjoying the times he’d spend with his grandmother on her farm, helping her cook. It was

continued on page 102