culinary arts food & beverage lifestyle
Featured Hotels: Meet the Field page1-3
Michelin recognizes Excellence: Tale of Three Cities
Chef Chris Staines Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London
Chef Frank Ferigutti Mandarin Oriental Hotel du Rhone, Geneva
Chef Mario Corti Mandarin Oriental, Munich
Anatomy of Design:
An investigation of collaboration
China House Project Team The Oriental, Bangkok
Innovations & Introductions page8-9
Message in a Bottle
Quality Inspector #101 FIJI WATER
The taking of tea
Jian Fong Wu Tea Sage and Siren of the Leaf
Contributing Calories page10-12
Interview by David Nicholls Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London
Restaurant Review page13-14
“VEGAS: Evolution of the Dining Scene”
Gregoire Simonin Group Culinary Project Design Manager
Food and Beverage Updates page15-18
The Key to Delivering Guest Relevant Products & Services
Christoph Zbinden Group Director Food & Beverage
Project Phoenix - Bridging the experiential gap
Christoph Zbinden Group Director Food & Beverage
Please email your comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Michelin recognizes Excellence:
Tale of Three Cities
The Michelin star rating system is widely recognised as the international symbol of
culinary excellence, and the most respected evaluation system for hotels and
restaurants world wide.
INSPIRE is honoured to have three Michelin - starred chefs from the Mandarin
Oriental in London, Geneva and Munich share their thoughts on culinary arts.
Mandarin Oriental, Geneva - Chef Frank Ferigutti
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London – Chef Chris Staines
Mandarin Oriental, Munich - Chef Mario Corti
How did your Michelin journey begin?
I’ve always been interested in cooking, and I got the chance at the age of thirteen
to wash pots and pans part time in a hotel. The whole process of the kitchen
fascinated me – the noise, the adrenalin, the very masculine chefs creating
beautiful, often quite feminine dishes. It seemed organised chaos that could be
derailed by the slightest hiccup. I was hooked and used every spare moment to
P1 practise my new found craft.
How do you source your inspiration and innovation?
The seasonal opportunities at the local wet market are a great source of inspiration,
as are new products from around the world.
There is an old French saying: “You get hungry as you eat”. I am not afraid to say
that I get inspiration and innovation by cooking with my team. The range of
experience and nationalities in our kitchen is a great source of ideas and innovation.
Innovation boils down to hard work and imagination – the belief that things are
possible, rather than restraint by rules and laws. I believe that extensive
knowledge, good technique and a thorough understanding of the craft can be
combined with sound scientific foundations to push the boundaries of what we
know and understand. This has been proven by luminaries such as Ferran Adria
and Heston Blumenthal.
Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London – Chef Chris Staines
What are the ingredients required for successful chefs and
Successful chefs and restaurants need creative minds, strong leadership and a passion for
You need passion, a lot of it! Young cooks need a great leader and a strong example, as well
as rigor, discipline and hard work. Chance is the best ingredient to have.
Do you think customers’ tastes and expectations are
changing? How does this affect you as an artisian?
Customers expect innovation, and new trends fulfil their curiosity. The three universal basics -
the heritage, quality and honesty of the product - remain.
Taste and expectations constantly evolve. The need for the best fresh products to be
presented with decoration remains the same.
People expect that extra little touch, the ‘je ne sais quoi’, when dining out. This forces food
service providers to think about what they offer. A lazy restaurateur or chef will be overtaken
and eventually eliminated. This drives me to look for that which will differentiate us.
P2 How important is the manner in which you write your menus? How
would you define your style?
Menu writing must be authentic and detailed. My style is to keep a little of the unknown, to
surprise the guest.
We recently changed the concept in Foliage and we now menu write in a very simple style.
People order according to what they want to eat rather than the most appetising description.
This has a profound effect. When the diner is given their chosen dish, they receive the three
main components which they have ordered, plus there is a surprise, an unexpected element
Do freestanding and hotel restaurants truly differ?
Hotels in Europe now have similar standards to independent restaurants, and offer a better
platform for training and development. This allows hotels to compete better then ever.
Mandarin Oriental, Geneva – Chef Frank Ferigutti
Mandarin Oriental, Munich – Chef Mario Corti
How do you regard awards and recognition within the What does the future hold for you? Are you actively seeking a
P3 culinary profession? Tell us, where do you go from here? second star?
Chef Ferigutti: Chef Corti:
Being awarded one star is a success for the chef, the cooking and the service team. I see my future as an internally recognized executive chef with Mandarin Oriental
The goal is to perform at the highest level every day, so that we consistently satisfy the Hotel Group. Why not a second star?
guests and respect their reason for choosing us.
What drives your passion for food? I can say that have I achieved 80% of my dreams. I had a 2nd star in a previous
Chef Corti: restaurant, now I manage a great team and I can give them my passion and
The love of my job, and sharing knowledge with the younger generation. knowledge. My goal is to raise the level of the team and keep increasing guest
I am passionate about my job, cooking for our guests and leading a devoted team. Chef Staines:
When you have the passion, challenges become opportunities to build you as a I will continue to challenge myself, to learn more about my craft and endeavour to
person and define your style of cuisine. better myself in all ways whilst doing so. There are always great options with this job.
Catering is one of the most noble and creative professions around. I love the
challenge and the excitement, and I am constantly learning. No two days are the
same. You can do this job for your whole life and still be surprised.
China House Project Team The Oriental, Bangkok
anatomy of design
The Oriental, Bangkok’s The China House has long been a destination for the finest Cantonese
and regional Asian cuisine in Thailand. Recently this Bangkok institution was reborn with a
fresh new design and menu. INSPIRE magazine talks with Kurt Wachtveitl, General Manager of
The Oriental, Bangkok, Brian Swatton, Group Director of Project Management and Project
Manager in charge of The China House and Lyndon Neri of the Architecture and Design firm
Neri and Hu Design and Research Office (NHDRO) about the recent transformation of the
culinary tradition at The China House, the guest experience and complexity of design.
I: What inspired the change of direction for The China House?
BS: In late 2005 the go ahead was given to renovate The China House. The hotel’s concept for
the revamped restaurant was both definitive and decisive.
KW: The old space was regarded as very conservative, brightly lit, all white walls and
traditional furniture, which did not encourage an atmosphere of intimacy. The China House has
evolved into the feel of a grand restaurant, decadent in look, with lots of intimacy, blending
traditional elements with contemporary layers.
P5 LN: After we were appointed to redesign The China House, it was important for us to
understand the significance of The China House. The hotel desired to have the convivial spirit of
the Shanghai art deco period replicated in a building. We sought to capture the essence of The
China House. We felt strongly that the most important aspect of The China House is the sense
of domesticity, the sense of home in the restaurant.
I: What brought The Oriental, Bangkok and NHDRO together for The
China House project?
BS: We recognised the need to identify a designer who would transform The China House
into a destination, while being sympathetic to this attractive heritage building. The entire project
team supported the proposal to award the commission to Neri and Hu, Design and Research
Office, of Shanghai.
KW: NHDRO met these criteria and came with wonderful credentials and relevant experience.
They were able to offer a design both hip and traditional, with a purity of design intent reflected
in the finish. Importantly, Neri and Hu pitched for a comprehensive package which covered the
Interior Design, the Uniforms, Chinaware, Menu Design, Music and Grooming. It worked
extremely well. They were passionate about the process and wanted to tell a story by
incorporating elements of the design in each of these areas.
LN: The multidisciplinary nature of design is most apparent Dining is often a joyous and celebratory moment. It is imperative
in projects completed during the Renaissance period, when that we create a space to allow patrons to have a great dining
architects were expected to do many things. We have lost a experience. A sense of domesticity. I wouldhope that we have
bit of that today. That is why being a multidisciplinary created a space that will make people feel like The China House is
practice is very important to us. We believe that you can an extension of their home. Its fine that the layers of features are
not only think of the outside and not care about the inside not appreciated at first glance. We’re interested in providing
and vice versa. Design is more open-ended in its nature hidden qualities that give depth, and are discovered with each new
than current professional practice has lead us to believe. visit. These subtle surprises enrich and strengthen the project as a
Though we are a fairly new practice, our fresh approach to
F & B concepts has been recognised internationally. When I: What factors contribute to the success of a new
the MOHG approached us to submit a proposal for the menu?
transformation of The China House at The Oriental, Bangkok,
we were very excited by the history and significance of The KW: The most essential element for success of a new menu is for
China House. We are selective about people and projects as the recipes to remain authentic. The Oriental, Bangkok will
we believe we form a team with the people behind each continue to set trends with contemporary food presentation and
project. the creative variety of Chinese Provincial cuisines featured in our
menu today. Months of
The reputation of The Oriental, Bangkok and the passion of brain-storming, research and team effort has led us to what The
Mr. Kurt Wachteveil and his team gave this project unlimited China House is all about today.
potential. Our practice extends the multi-disciplinary nature
of design to include architecture, interior, product design, I: How did you ensure that The China House
and graphic design. We were delighted to find resonance delivers on these factors?
with Mr. Kurt Wachteveil, whose vision of The China House
was an inspiration. We collaborated with Mr. Kurt
KW: In the culinary front, searching for the right Chef to lead The
China House forward was the biggest challenge. Our goal was to
Wachteveil and his team, sharing ideas to create a new
retain long established clientele whilst attracting a new market
spirit to The China House tradition, one that can be
segment. Great thought was given to the menus and presenta-
embraced by all.
P5 I: What do you believe are the most
tions. A substantial pre-opening training plan for both the culinary
and service teams with a substantial pre-opening training plan was
important factors for a successful guest very much part of the process. For the service team this included
experience? substantial role playing, menu knowledge, team building and
specialized choreographed body movement from trained actors.
KW: There can not be one single factor. If pressed, the Throughout the design development, careful liaison with the
natural choice would be food, the basis of success of any Interior Design team helped us to achieve what we wanted
restaurant. The quality of food offered – it should be fresh, operationally, as well as from a guest experience view point.
authentic and appealingly presented. Ultimately, it should
cater to what guests and the target market want, and try to I: Given the budget and aggressive renovations
extend their culinary experience. This is absolutely essential schedule, how did you integrate different facets
to the success of any restaurant. For well-rounded success of the design from architecture to interiors to
the restaurant needs to offer terrific ambience and an product design, uniforms, menus, music and
atmosphere where people can relax and feel good about graphics to such a high standard?
their surroundings. Proactive, attentive and superlative
KW: The time frame was extremely tight for this project, as was
the budget. The China House became more or less a shell. It
LN: I think two aspects. First are the functional required a new roof, wiring, M&E, a new first floor, a new two level
that are so important in making a restaurant “work”. The kitchen, as well as structural and drainage work. The passion and
other is the necessary drama that a restaurant commitment of the designers from NHDRO and the team effort of
must possess to create a refined atmosphere of dining. The Oriental, Bangkok ensured that we kept the project on track.
LN: A strong concept ties the various parts of a project together and provides
coherence. A concept ultimately allows the designer to work with abstract ideas
and translate them into physical form.
BS: Other than the Hong Kong based lighting designer, the entire design and
management team were Bangkok based and comprised Thai and western
personnel, while the general contractor, who was also new to the hotel, was
This potpourri of cultures blended so well that the challenges of the building
structure, which were in part unforeseen, were overcome almost as quickly as they
Ultimately the project was completed on time and within budget and while this
was an achievement, it is the transformation of The China House into the exciting
destination we see today that is the real measure of success.
I: What are the new criteria by which a guest will judge a
restaurant a success or failure today?
KW: For a restaurant in a luxury hotel, the same criteria which they may have
judged a restaurant’s success years ago. Great food made with fresh, quality
ingredients. Authentic and skilled preparation. Excellent taste. Great
surroundings, which evoke a special ambience. And great service, which should
be attentive and memorable. Value for money can have many meanings, but
generally, a guest may be prepared to pay more for excellent quality. If a
restaurant is busy this will influence whether a person considers it to be popular or
P7 I: What are the fundamental elements of great design? How
were these enlivened in the work on The China House?
LN: The most important element in good design is a strong concept. The
manipulation of space and the exploration of detail is a form of expression by
which we address and articulate our concept. One example of this exploration is
the Red Chamber, a two story space surrounded with large oversized columns clad
in Macassar Ebony with operable screen doors. This space is reminiscent of the
great ballroom during the 1930 art deco period and is filled with period furniture
pieces reupholstered with exquisite cow hide, rich velvet and decadent horse hair.
I: Providing a memorable guest experience is a priority for
everyone involved with The China House. How would you
describe your involvement in that process going forward?
LN: Our involvement would be for us to continue to tell the story to people
around us. The story does not end with the completion of the renovation. The
rejuvenated life of The China House is just starting to emerge.
Message in a Bottle FIJI WATER Quality Inspector #101
1. The wine you ordered comes paired with an exquisite bottle of water whose taste
profile is so soft and smooth that it highlights the flavour of the wine you came to
2. You enjoy the aroma of your tea even before it arrives. Carefully selected and
brewed in a base that’s as pure as the environment it comes from, it’s easy to
appreciate the rich, distinct qualities of a tea made using the smoothest, purest
3. Dining on the freshest sushi you notice every flavour. Nobu Matsuhisa ensures
that every exquisite flavour of your meal is enhanced by the finest ingredients –
including the brand of water he chooses to make sushi rice.
Innovations & Introductions
4. You appreciate the subtle nuances of an exotic scent as it lingers and evolves.
With just a splash of the finest water to enhance its fragrance, sample a perfume
as rare as the unique source of its key ingredient.
5. There are no distractions; there is not one flavour but that of your favourite scotch
or whiskey. Poured straight with a splash of the softest, smoothest water, the
purity and integrity of your favourite drink is assured.
6. When you don’t notice the ice in your favourite drink or cocktail. Only ice cubes
made with the finest water contribute to the drink rather than detract from it.
7. You ask your facialist what moisturizer she’s applying, and discover she’s started
with a facial rinse. Using the smoothest of waters, naturally high in silica, ensures
your skin is looking its best.
the taking of tea :
a holistic experience Tea is drunk to forget the din of the world. ~
Jian Fong Wu Tea Sage and Siren of the Leaf
Whether travelling for business, a holiday or a cherishing a moment to one-self,
balanced health is an integral part of The Mandarin Oriental guest experience.
Travellers seek the respite of sanctuary, and in the multi-sensory experience of
tea is the power to replenish. Your skill as culinary and service experts is to guide
your guest to an appreciation of tea as an element of lifestyle, nourishing the
body, refreshing the mind.
Restore guests’ with a steaming cup of hot tea or a soothing teapot brimming
with wellness infusion. Revitalise your guest with the indulgence of cool, iced
tea. Inspire exploration of their hotel, their destination and themselves.
P9 Mandarin Oriental honours tea in history and wellness with the creation of The
Mandarin Tea Experience. It falls upon each staff member to distil the respected
art of tea making for guests. You become a part of the tradition, interpreting the
fragrances and taste profiles with an intimacy that lures your guest into experi-
Today’s Tea Journey: Bai Mu Dan or Pai Mu Tan Imperial
Innovations & Introductions
Known also White Peony, this classic, minimally processed, white tea is from the
Fujian Provence, China.
On early spring mornings, just before they open, small buds and leaves flecked
with white hairs are plucked.
Infused for 5 – 7 minutes at 180 – 185F (79 – 82C) the pale, golden liquor has a
delicate profile, rich in antioxidants with an herbaceous, lightly sweet flavour. The
perfect complement to Dungeness crab cakes, almond cookies or crème caramel.
“Combining these young leaves, picked on early spring mornings, with ginger
grown in India and citrusy lemon myrtle harvested in Australia, this international
mélange is soothing and rejuvenating with each sip. May I suggest pairing this
infusion with our almond-semolina bundt cake with pistachio crème or a Lemon
Curd and Ginger Custard Napoleon.”
With each issue we explore the heritage of tea, honouring past discoveries as we
create fresh interpretations of respected traditions.
I: When did your interest in cooking begin?
TK: My interest began with my first “Chef’s” job as a short order cook in my mother’s restaurants.
Roland Henin, a chef whom I consider my mentor, opened my eyes to the emotional connection of cooking — to the wonderful
sense of accomplishment and pleasure one gets from nourishing someone’s needs. He helped spark my reverence for the act of
cooking and my appreciation of fresh high-quality ingredients.
I: Who was your biggest supporter during your early years as a chef?
P5 TK: My mother continued to encourage me in my early stage. My brother, Joseph, was also very important.
Joseph was training in classic French cooking, and taught me to make a hollandaise. Finding satisfaction in the repetition of a simple
hollandaise reinforced what it is to be a cook. Perfecting simple tasks over and over.
I: How would you define your culinary style?
TK: My culinary style is distinctively American, with a classic French repertoire and technique which my staff and I evolve and refine.
Philosophically, I believe the more you have of something, the less pleasure you derive – the “Law of Diminishing Returns”. So we
serve small two, three or four- bite portions served in multiple courses to avoid palate fatigue.
My style emphasises quality products, quality environment, quality of the experience and the collaboration between kitchen and
dining room staff.
I: “Culinary Art” seems to be today’s buzz phrase to describe the industry. Do you feel it is
appropriate and why?
TK: “Culinary Art” defines what we do in so many ways; our colleges have “Culinary Arts” programs. It is the “Arts” part that I am
uncomfortable with. Although we do spend a lot of time composing our own dishes so that they are appealing I do not consider it a
true art--it is more a craft.
I: There has been a great deal of debate over the issue of
intellectual property rights with respect to receipes. Where do
you stand on this issue?
TK: Chefs have always been generous with recipes and ideas. It makes me
uncomfortable when I hear this debate because it signifies that you own something
in the cooking world, which just isn’t true.
I: Your empire of restaurants is growing from French
Laundry to Bouchon to Per Se (California & Las Vegas) and Ad hoc
P11 last year. What is your next challenge? Will you break into areas
such as television, writing or hotels?
TK: My next challenge would probably be teaching in schools.
I: What is your opinion on hotels and their F&B concepts?
TK: Hotels play a significant role in fine dining.
Some of the best chefs are in hotels - Pierre Gagnier, Yannick Alleno, Alain Ducasse,
Jean Georges Vongerichten and Eric Ziebold are examples. As restaurants become
increasingly expensive to build, chefs are looking for the support and stability a hotel
can offer. The Mandarin Oriental is definitely a leader in this type of new partnership.
Everyone wins; the hotel, the chef and most importantly, the guest.
I: Would you consider operating a restaurant outside of the United
States? Where would you consider?
TK: If the opportunity was right. I try to bring something new to a location so I
would try Eastern Europe - or Asia. On the other hand, my competitive spirit might
draw me to France or England.
I: What defines a restaurant concept?
TK: I think 3 main categories define a restaurant concept. History is one. Bouchon describes a style of café that has existed in
Lyon for centuries. Region is another; the restaurant becomes a wonderful reflection of where people come from and how
they live. And personality. This is evident in many establishments such as Gordon Ramsay, Daniel Boulud, and Ferran Adria’s
elBulli. Every detail - the cuisine, the service and décor - are a manifestation of their individual style.
I: How important are industry awards & stars for the success of a restaurant today?
TK: Recognition is extremely important. Awards and accolades are indicative of the best. Most chefs want to be the best and
to be associated with the best. All my role models were 3 star Michelin chefs of France. One of my favourite books The Great
Chefs of France exemplifies the restaurants, the cooking and their personal lives. Cooking is not
about a career, it is about a lifestyle and it was those chefs whom I modeled my life after.
Recognition is important because it is self-fulfilling. It reinforces the quality of the work
being done - not just the chef but for the staff.
I: What do you look for in a new hire?
I: Can you name a common challenge
among each of your operations today?
TK: I think the common challenge that we face
has to be staff. To continue challenging them,
teaching and mentoring them so they
P12 continue to grow and have more
opportunities. We try to define
generations so we can train
our younger staff to be the
leaders of tomorrow.
This is the way to
establish a legacy
and true success.
Interview by David Nicholls Executive Chef and Food & Beverage Director Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, London
Vegas: Evolution of the Dining Scene
Gregoire Simonin Group Culinary Project Design Manager Mandarin Oriental
The Golden Gate Casino is the oldest hotel casino 1905 Creation of Las Vegas City
still in operation today. It became famous for
serving the first Shrimp Cocktail and
still sells this for $0.99
1911 Liberalised divorce laws in Las Vegas make the city famous
Great Depression and WW2 1930’s and Early 40’s
Bad time for food lovers
Late 1940’s the era of all you can eat
buffet bars is born
1931 – 1935 Hoover Dam is built and brings Las Vegas an economic boost during the
Gambling is legalised in 1931
P13 1946 Bugsy Sieglel opens the Flamingo Hotel on December 26th
El Rancho Vegas launches the Opera House and 1950’s
features Dinner and Shows
Appetiser @ $0.50 and a Main for $1.00
“The Missing Years” 1965 – 1989
Information is currently sealed and under
investigation by Nevada. State Gaming Control
1966 Caesar’s Palace Hotel opens as the most expensive hotel
at a cost of 10 million USD
1975 Nevada revenue from gambling reaches 1 billion dollars
1989 The Mirage Hotel and Casino opens on November 22nd,
with 3039 rooms
1990 Excalibur opens as the worlds largest resort hotel
Wolfgang Puck opened his first restaurant 1992
“Spago” at the Caesar’s Palace
Typical guest spend $95+++
The Hilton takes over the legendary Flamingo Hotel 1993 The Dunes Hotel is imploded by Mirage Resorts to make way for
construction of the Bellagio
Luxor and Treasure Island opens and
MGM Grand holds the new world record with over 5005 rooms, and is
still the worlds biggest hotel
1996 The Monte Carlo Resort and Casino opens
1997 The New York- New York Hotel opens.
100,000 people attend opening day
Chef Marc Poidevin opens “le Cirque” at the Bellagio 1998 Steve Wynn opens Bellagio at a cost of 1.7 billion dollars
Typical guest spend $145+++ The opening of The Venetian and Paris Las Vegas soon follow
Jean-George Vongerichten sizzles with the opening of his Nevada Revenue from gambling reaches 8 billion dollars
“Prime – The Bellagio” 30 million people visit Las Vegas
Typical guest spend $128+++
Chef Charlie Palmer opens Aureole at Mandalay Bay 1999
Typical guest spend $125+++
2000 – 2005 Wynn opens and MGM announce his 5 billions project called
The City Centre inclusive of Mandarin Oriental Las Vegas
Chef Alain Ducasse launches Mix at Mandalay Bay 2004
Typical guest spend $125+++
P14 Chef Thomas Keller enchants with le Bouchon at The Venetian
Typical guest spend $98+++
2005 Chef Daniel Boulud and Chef Alessendro Stratta debut at Wynn
Typical guest spend $148+++
Chef Joel Robuchon comes out of retirement and
gives up golf with MGM Grand
Typical guest spend $265+++
Chef Michael Mina dares his first steakhouse – Mandalay Bay
Typical guest spend $119+++
Chef Guy Savoy opens at Caesar’s Palace
Typical guest spend $380+++
Mandarin Oriental redefines luxury and
introduces 3 Michelin Stars
$$ only the stars can tell!
Food & Beverage Proposed Guest History
& Relevant Service Initiative
Christoph Zbinden Group Director Food & Beverage Mandarin Oriental
The measurable financial benefits and good will returns can be quickly realized through the application of a well-maintained database of
food & beverage guests’ history and preference. The use of such data, in the continued refinement and personalization of guest services
and experiences, has long been practiced by our colleagues in the Rooms division. Yet to date, we have struggled to systematically collect
and action similar data for the over 80% of food & beverage guests in our venues who are not guests of the hotel. The pursuit and
P15 refinement of guest relevant service based on considerable analysis of such a database is the key which will unlock our potential future
success and appreciable service and product differentiation from others in the industry.
In mid-March, we conducted a comprehensive survey of all our existing food & beverage operations in order to determine and
understand each properties current means of guest preference and comment collection. The results indicated that a strategic,
standardized approach to guest preference and history information was required.
Currently lacking a consistent means of ervice / Product
collecting, maintaining, and utilizing such ack
Food and Beverage Updates
data to enhance our guests’ experience, we F ee
set forth to partner with many of Mandarin ue p
Oriental’s existing vendor relationships to
create such a program. Working with
specialists in guest data collection, internal SMS / Fidelio Synovate
service audit consultants, and market trend ResPAK/ Diners Guest
analysts such as Coyle Hospitality, Synovate OpenTable Survey Communications
and ICLP we established the foundation of a
restaurant patron and preference system.
Guest Databases Service
Primarily focus on data collection and service Delivery & Coyle Service
reconciliation, the program is also tied directly Training Audits
into our on going employee training and
certification process. Local Walk-in
SMS / Fidelio
In collaboration with these industry experts ResPAK/
we have envisioned a process whereby all OpenTable Guest
Mandarin Oriental colleagues can transform
their guests into ultra loyal patrons. The
strategy is graphically demonstrated in for you
in figure 1.
The First Initiative -
Mandarin Oriental must standardized our guest data collection process to ensure all subsequent
initiatives draw from an accurate and well maintained data base. This is absolutely vital if we hope to
P16 be able to draw on segment specific information, target global repeat guests for communication
and recognition, or refine our common service langue using repeat patron’s preferences as a
guiding criteria. We have already begun work on a global standard for the often used food &
beverage guest comment card.
The Second Initiative -
Drawing from the data base made up of the 80% of patrons, who to this point, have not been
included in any or most previous initiatives in partnership with Synovate, we shall conduct newly
Food and Beverage Updates
created quarterly restaurant specific Diner Advocacy Surveys to finally uncover our guests true
priorities and how to best address them. Soon we will be able to clearly identify our guest’s service
performance drivers, immediately work to satisfy them while incorporating their importance into our
global Food & Beverage Training and Service Standards.
The Third Initiative -
In addition to the Synovate Diner Advocacy Survey and global guest comment card / data base, we
will introduce and use an independent outlet specific “Mystery Shopping” survey. Also, working with
Coyle Hospitality, these visits will run independently from the hotel stay audit many of you may have
recently heard of during the recent LQE roll out conducted last month. Conducted multiple times
throughout the year, these service audits are strictly focused on the food & beverage venues..
Utilizing an extensive operationally focused audit, Coyle’s inspectors will be charged with the task of
reconciling an operations service delivery with the newly launched global food & beverage SOPs -
our common service language. Finally providing us with an objective means to gauge the current
service levels. Areas of best practice will be celebrated and shared while others needing improve-
ment will be charted for potential trends to be addressed on a group wide basis.
Once in place we will have available one of the world’s most sophisticated food and beverage
patron history programs in use today, allowing our colleagues to better engage their guests and
provide timely, guest relevant services and products. These are the essential drivers of value, loyalty,
profitability, and growth.
bridging the experiential gap
Christoph Zbinden Group Director Food & Beverage Mandarin Oriental
2006 celebrated, among many achievements, the opening of Mandarin Oriental, Prague.
People new to The Mandarin Oriental had an opportunity during the months of exhaustive pre-opening
work to observe the processes, systems, and procedures Mandarin Oriental had in place.
Successful opening is measurable by the operations level of readiness of both product and service. Although
P18 Mandarin Oriental is a luxury group known for the provision of exemplary service and innovative food &
beverage concepts, the pre-opening process highlighted the need for a globally integrated set of essential
service tasks to be supported by a training and certification program.
New hires from outside of Mandarin Oriental combined training materials from previous hotel groups with
Food and Beverage Updates
material from recently opened sister properties within Mandarin Oriental. This innovative measure produced
a workable solution, but resulted in disjointed service sequences which often stepped outside our core
To achieve the seamless and constructive assistance required during pre opening and beyond a
comprehensive outlet specific, position specific SOP training manual with corresponding certification
checklist and trainers guide for the entire division would be needed. The immensely rich resource of existing
operations and standards within Mandarin Oriental will create a unique point of differentiation from food &
beverage services found among the worlds top luxury hotels and the distinctive approach of
The lessons of Mandarin Oriental, Prague opening provided a clear vision for future openings and ensured
that these lessons will be shared among all existing operations.
With a globally understood, supported, and implemented set of internationally
recognized food and beverage service standards and procedures, the group
will achieve true consistency and excellence in service.
Shortly after the opening in Prague we announced the launch of Project Phoenix, one of five key initiatives
for 2006, and in cooperation with The Oriental, Singapore and under the direction of Mr. George Slover,
Project Task Force Leader. The project objective was simple, the execution was another matter.
We aimed to establish a comprehensive (inclusive of all potential departments and
job specifications) fully integrated training and certification program for the entire
food & beverage division. This training and certification program would comprise
60% of every food & beverage employees training regardless of where they are
Project Phoenix was created to:
1. Provide a new, interactive, employee engaged and guest relevant food &
beverage training and certification program for The Oriental, Singapore. This
training and certification program will later become the template for the entire
2. Provide for full divisional integration and operational compliance of existing
food & beverage portfolio of Mandarin Oriental.
3. Provide a bench mark. All future food & beverage service training must
demonstrate a significant degree of Guest Relevance or be suspended until such
time as the entire team has reached certification and comprehension of the core
food & beverage standards* We partnered with the team at The Oriental, Singapore as the beta test for Project Phoenix.
P19 *The core standards will be continually refined through restaurant patron advocacy Over 9 months of study we created a comprehensive set of outlet specific manuals and
surveys, venue specific mystery shopper visits, third party standards compliance corresponding interactive training modules. LQE aligned, these global service standards are
audits, and industry trend data. intended to provide structure and content for all pre-openings.
*These core standards will represent no more than 20% of the over 500+ individual The full program includes an intensive 10 day practical training class; on going daily staff
Food and Beverage Updates
tasks any given new employee is asked to immediately comprehend and comply refocus training & schedules, quizzes and module certification exams required for
with. advancement consideration for each food & beverage department.
*This focus on Guest Relevant Service Standards will allow for a shorter learning Project Phoenix demonstrated its value as soon as classes began. The division observed an
curve, increased guest satisfaction, and increase employee retention. overall improvement in Synovate Guest Satisfaction survey scores, from 79% to 81%. Certain
outlets achieved 100% satisfaction (from October 2006 to March 2007). The hotel-driven
George and his team then evaluated existing material from Mandarin Oriental’s top restaurant guest comment card satisfaction score also improved slightly from 88.05% to
performers in each service category, and discovered that current training practices 89.25%, while total food & beverage revenues increased 26% and number of dining covers
were already similar. increased 8.4%.
This existing material became the framework for our new global service language, Singapore still posts incremental improvement in the food & beverage divisions scores. More
enhanced and refined by food & beverage guest surveys and focus group studies importantly, there has been an overall lift to employee morale as the power of a guest relevant
completed by Mandarin Oriental over preceding years. service focus has been understood.
It is important to remember that the pillars of Mandarin Oriental’s service and Project Phoenix – Phase Three will soon be underway. During this phase our food & beverage
success - Legendary Quality Experience (LQE) - will always be the heart of who we training program will be tested and vetted by several key divisions. Their findings will be
are and how we interact with peers and guests. presented at our Food & Beverage Leadership Seminar for consideration of a global roll out.
LQE’s (commonly understood to be standard operating procedures) remain an Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group continues to invest in its future and understands that future lies
important component of our newly created common service language, and are with you and the people who will join us as we more than double our current size, intending
intended to unify and improve food & beverage service delivery. to improve the guest experience during the process.
Last year has been a great collaborative effort in establishing a
Christoph Zbinden common service language. This language will serve as the basis for a
Group Director Food & Beverage
global effort of food & beverage patron satisfaction. Our continuously
Mandarin Oriental refined guest relevant service initiatives and the long awaited
announcements of Food & Beverage Operations Managers for both
the Americas and Europe, positions us to roll out many new tools for
our colleagues in the field. Our full intention is to enrich both the guest
and employee experience while ensuring our operations never loose
their ever important focus on the basics of hospitality.
We are excited to announce the newly created position of Global
Director of Catering & Convention Services as part of our continuous
efforts to raise the bar throughout food & beverage and culinary arts.
This position will bring about similar innovations in the areas of revenue
dynamics, dining and meeting guest preferences and innovations in
catering and audio visual design ensuring our continued growth in this
essential facet of divisional success.
As we grow it becomes ever more important to look to each of you to
participate, share and continue to learn from one another. Hence I am
personally excited to be announcing soon the dates our Food &
The future of kitchen design for The Mandarin Oriental lies with a Beverage Leadership Conference. This conference will highlight our
simple philosophy based on the following precepts of efficiency of global initiatives focused on communication, recognition, certification,
cooking focused on labor and other operational cost, incorporation and internal promotion and be hosted by our properties in Singapore
of new technologies & design innovations, and an overall drive and Washington DC.
towards improved quality of life through enhanced working
environments. The induction revolution sweeping kitchens today
will transform stoves, ovens and woks typically fueled with natural
gas into induction alternatives. These alternatives show greater
efficiency than gas by transferring more the 90% of the energy
output directly into the product and giving off significantly less
Hygiene & Safety remain a strong focus for our group and over the
next 12 months we will implement two new HACCP initiatives. First
all food & beverage management will be required to receive their
HACCP certification. Noncompliance will result in their Hotel Safe & Gregoire Simonin
Sound scores reduced up to 10pts. Furthermore, we will be moving
Group Culinary Project Design Manager
away from the traditional announced HACCP audits to unan- Mandarin Oriental
nounced visits to further ensure consistent and voluntary compli-
ance to these guidelines.