Restaurants are a key success factor for hotels; thus getting the right concept for a given property is crucial.
SSTH: Jan, please describe briefly what your firm does and how it is structured, number of employees, etc.
Recipe for Concept develops authentic, contemporary and holistic restaurant & bar concepts with a turnkey-framework approach.
We aim on establishing individual, authentic and fitting concepts, for both, our clients and their target group of guests.
My team and I work with a network of professionals and are currently seeking talented colleagues to add to the team.
SSTH: Please explain how you got into this business; what sort of hospitality background do you have –hotel school, perhaps, or chef training?
My father was a chef, so I grew up with the restaurant business.
I started my ‘professional’ career as a kitchen hand in Germany and later in a bakery shop at Selfridges in London before studying at the Hotel Management School in Maastricht – before, during and after I have been working in the international upmarket hospitality industry ever since, with a strong focus on food & beverage with several food & beverage management positions.
I decided to start Recipe for Concept after a couple of years in international concept development for a renowned brewery.
SSTH: What qualities/background would you look for if you were hiring a young person for your business?
I AM hiring ;) so I am looking for people with first-hand operational experience and an understanding of today's requirements in an appealing restaurant concept from both, a guest experience perspective and the operators point of view.
Most importantly though: common sense!
SSTH: What new trends do you see in hotel F&B, both in terms of format and cuisine?
That is a difficult one and hard to generally state – apart from the existing trends such as hyper-local concepts, clean eating, veggie-centric cuisine.
Gladly, there are many very good examples of where hotel F&B should move to – for a large proportion though, I would like to see more movements such as:
- A relevant offer and well thought through concepts catering to hotel and local guests – give your guests something different than the standard international menu/cuisine… (what is that anyway) and same, same bar selection of drinks;
- Secondly look at F&B more from an experience point of view – let's create exciting moments
- Thirdly – let’s use more current technology
- Lastly, especially for the 5*- star plus sector, make prices attractive and affordable again.
I believe in local profile and positioning of your hotel though its food & beverage offering and thus it’s just ridiculous to charge 10€ and above for a bottle of mineral water… How cool would it be for an “average” guest to drink more than just 1! glass of wine and possibly order a full menu instead of just a main course.
SSTH: Do you see a significant impact of millennials on hotel F&B practices?
Yes, of course and hopefully more.
Especially in terms of sharing and tasting experience, presentation, waste reduction and sustainability, use of technology and marketing.
By the way, I am currently setting up a program of “green turnaround measures” for the food & beverage/hospitality industry together with an experienced “green entrepreneur”. It's not so much about being hippy-green, but to introduce the methods of the circular economy and easy-to-implement ecological steps in a 3-tier system.
SSTH: I see that you are German-based and work mainly with German clients. What are some of the particularities of the German F&B market?
In metropolitan regions: a growing readiness to experiment with taste and discover new or unknown culinary horizons.
At the same time in more rural areas a strong sense for tradition and little trend-enthusiasm. Both have their up- and flipsides.
SSTH: Outsourcing of hotel restaurants has become a major trend? Do think this is a good idea? If so what structure would you recommend – lease, management contract, etc.?
It depends on the hotel operator and again a brief answer is difficult. Good hotel operators make a fantastic culinary experience possible if they are in a comfortable position not to mainly focus on profitability.
But if you work with an operator with little interest in food & beverage, it is indeed a good idea to work with an outsider to still offer a high quality food & beverage experience.
Recommended structure? That’s pretty much up to market conditions and location characteristics.You want your outsourced company to be able to make good money as well.
SSTH: What career advice could you give for current hotel school graduates?
Focus on the right experience rather than a fast career progress – if you are motivated, resilient, and passionate, the career ladder will automatically move you up – but with a stronger base of experience and knowledge.
At the same time: listen to your inner self, travel, experience and be open for old and new.
Thank you Jan!