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Food / Beverage

Has the buffet come of age?

It’s difficult to say when exactly people began assembling meals from large spreads of food. Sweden and France were the first countries to formalize the buffet concept. The Swedish smorgasbord originated as a way to feed hungry out-of-town visitors who’d pop in read more...

Cross my word...it's cross contamination

Walk into any Hotel or Restaurant kitchen and look out for coloured cutting boards. Chances are that you will very rarely come across them. It’s like encountering the hotel manager in the hotel’s lobby nowadays.   So what’s the big deal on read more...

The lowdown on serviceware

A painter would be lost without his canvas in much the same way a chef would be helpless without service ware. Service ware is encountered in all restaurants kitchens and is one of the bridges that connect the diner and read more...

Customer service, who cares?

Why it is that businesses consistently claim to value customers, yet consistently deliver mediocre or at best: average customer service? Service in most restaurants in Sri Lanka – be it a standalone or in a hotel, is commonly a reactive read more...

Don't be seduced by menu descriptions

When eating out, what do you consider foremost when choosing a restaurant? Studies confirm that people prioritise food and beverage type first, followed by location, price and value, atmosphere, and, last but not least; the level and speed of service. read more...

Food service management; a lost art?

In the hospitality industry, happy employees make for happy guests, and, happy guests make for a full hotel and a hotel restaurant with a waiting list: it’s that simple. Not anymore! As more hoteliers start to demand self-sufficiency and enhanced read more...

Nine ways to up your coffee service game

  A self-diagnosed coffeeholic, one of the important elements in my evaluation of a property is their coffee service, both within the guestroom and at any restaurant outlet. Given this beverage’s significance in everyday life, it’s a definite no-no for a read more...

Best meal of the day: Breakfast

  Good mornings start with a good breakfast – and this has never been truer in the world of hospitality. With hotel restaurants increasingly becoming destinations in their own right, the revenue potential of breakfast cannot be ignored. The first meal of read more...

Time to bring out the chefs (Part 1)

  Of all the times you have dined at restaurants, how often have you seen a chef move out of his kitchen to learn what his guests really want and to give them the perfect dining experience? Even in these contemporary read more...

Time to bring out the chefs (Part 2)

                                    There are those who find a dining room  bereft of a bar or open kitchen boring. They believe that open kitchens add so much to the restaurant and that the read more...

The 21st century 'responsible chef '

  Like ‘Responsible Tourism’, the Chef in the 21st century will need to evolve into being a ‘Responsible Chef’.   When I began my career, I remember that almost all the chefs I encountered were terrible communicators. Not because they were bad at read more...

Restaurant Closures

  Most diners, i.e. those who eat out regularly and know a thing or two about how good or bad a restaurant is, don't typically give restaurants a second chance if they are not given a great experience the first time read more...

Energy efficiency in the kitchen (part 1)

  Commercial kitchens are high energy users, consuming roughly 2.5 times more energy per square foot than any other commercial space, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)Of that, as little as 40% is used in the preparation and storage read more...

Energy efficiency in the kitchen (part 2)

  Commercial kitchens are high energy users, consuming roughly 2.5 times more energy per square foot than any other commercial space, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)Of that, as little as 40% is used in the preparation and storage read more...

A memorable dining experience

The worst manners come from receptionists at restaurants who labour under the illusion that it is a privilege for customers to spend money at their establishments when the truth is it is the other way round. The other month, I read more...

When accessibility is inhospitable

You might ask; must all entrances to restaurants and bars be accessible for people with disabilities? Not really. As long as there is one entrance nearby, preferably the main entrance that is accessible - thus making it possible for people read more...

The curious case of the birthday cake

Let’s ask ourselves why hotels give away certain perks and benefits to guests. To answer that, we need to gain some insight on the general profitability structure of the hotel. An analysis of a hotel’s income and expenditure statement will read more...

From ex-convict to dining magnate

“If you want to ruin the life of your enemy, tell them to open a restaurant” is the advice offered by Benny Se Teo. And when over 600 restaurants fail every year in Singapore, it does make sense. Remarkable advice read more...

Hotel restaurants are back?

The Hoxton, Amsterdam   For the past two decades, hoteliers have worked hard to reinvent their restaurants, particularly to make sure they would be perceived as stand-alone and not hotel restaurants.   They did this in several concrete ways; I will only take five to read more...

Is room service a 'rip off '?

In the late 1930s, the Waldorf Astoria in New York became the first hotel in the world to introduce the in-room dining service. At the time the concept was Uber-luxury: guests could order a variety of food and have it delivered read more...

Is your espresso better than Starbucks?

Inside view of the Roastery, close to central Milan piazza   Over the years, I’ve noticed several times, especially within our industry, what I would define as "Starbucks bashing.” I'm sure you know what I’m talking about, don’t you?   Here are some extracts read more...

The 'Personality Principle' in customer service

Restaurants that offer only a buffet during mealtimes primarily persuade customers to serve themselves and when the customer is responsible for much of the labour and has some control of the service environment, it behoves the management to provide the read more...

Meet the new Swiss farmer

On one hand, more and more farmers, in Western Europe at least, are really suffering and cannot find a sustainable business model that allows them to simply have a decent life. Some have to go on the street demanding support read more...

Spice and steam

All of us who appreciate history, art, architecture and food cannot be indifferent to what is happening in Syria today. Damascus, a UNESCO World Heritage site and considered to be the historic cradle of civilization, has offered me so much read more...

Unsung heroes

I love pastry, and I admire pastry chefs.   For the last few years, I have witnessed what I call the “pastry oedipal complex.” It’s a fancy term for a simple phenomenon -  pastry chefs are no longer relegated to their pastry read more...

Farm-to-table...really?

It is indeed laudable when a hotel chef or restaurateur claims preference for local, fresh products, even possibly when it comes from their own garden or nearby farm. However, I am a bit wary when someone goes overboard with the read more...

Undertaking Order-taking properly

Last week, I called a restaurant to book a table for dining. The call was answered after 6 rings by a staff member, whose name, I later found out to be Rudy. Here’s how the telephone conversation went:-     Rudy:   ‘Eatallyoucan restaurant’.  read more...

Is this the decade of collaboration?

For the past two decades, the celebrity chef has been at the center of food and restaurant communication (sometimes perhaps excessively so). It appears, though, that for the past couple of years, there has been a new trend emerging - read more...

Poor stepchild or the new frontier of hotel F&B?

Can you fully assess how much creativity, investment, attention and career focus (just to name a few issues) are put into the “banquet, conference and events” segment compared to a signature restaurant or a bar?   To me, the discrepancy of time read more...

Does size really matter?

We in the hotel business have become somewhat spoiled when it comes to kitchen size and working conditions. Before everyone starts arguing the point, please let me explain.   The restaurant "Heimat" in Frankfurt stunned me by the size of its kitchen read more...

The restaurant and bar scene after the pandemic

At this very moment all of us are trying hard to come to terms with the emotional and financial repercussions of being in ‘lockdown’ owing to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. To keep our focus on getting through this 24/7 nightmare, read more...

Bringing deliveries under control

Partnering with third-party delivery services doesn’t come without its consideration for restaurants. It goes beyond getting that order across to the customer on time. In my previous article titled “How delivery services can make or break your brand”, I wrote read more...

Extending your brand standards to doorstep delivery

Brand Standards are important and powerful tools in ensuring that your restaurant, pub, bar or hotel stands above the crowd. They guide the general direction of your service (and product, of course) offerings, setting the tone, ambience and vibe. However, read more...

Restaurateurs, what is your next move?

COVID-19 caused the food-and-beverage industry to abruptly stop in its tracks. Many thought that it was a temporary pause. But as the weeks turned to months, and with places remaining eerily empty, realization that things were far from normal hit read more...

Dining out during the 'new normal'

As we have seen, Covid 19 has resulted in sweeping changes across the spectrum of humanity – from the way we live, work, play and everything else. Terms like ‘social distancing’ and ‘new normal’ have emerged. Basically, we have changed read more...

Honey and roses

As a Christian, there was very little chance for me to witness a pilgrimage to the city of Medina, the second-holiest city in Islam after Mecca. The center of the city is restricted to Muslims, so I stayed at a read more...

Food cost and the 80/20 rule

We have all heard of the 80/20 rule. But I am willing to bet most of you have not heard it in conjunction with the words “food cost.”   A good friend of mine who was an executive chef explained it to read more...

What do hotel guests talk about on social media?

Rooms? Spa? Restaurants? Service?   You can probably guess the answer just by looking at your own posts. Some may say I’m biased but take a look at this survey (source: localmeasure.com) that I recently found in my archives. It compiles information read more...

New - and safe - ways to serve coffee

How important is coffee? As travel came to a virtual standstill and hotels frantically incorporated an endless series of new norms, examining how best to serve coffee became a pandemic priority. Simply put, coffee is an amenity guests will not read more...

Want to eat a 22-karat gold coated Burrata?

Dubai’s most famous market, the Gold Souk is generally considered to be the largest gold bazaar in Arabia and one of the best places in the world to shop for fine gold, whether you’re looking for big-ticket items or everyday read more...

Where are the diners?

There is a trickle of diners returning to their ole’ jaunts but mostly regulars, which gives hope but not that much to feel the Covid menace was just a one off - a temporary fright right out of the blues, read more...

The theatre of space-saving on the table

Few things are more off-putting to a customer than an overcrowded restaurant and this happens despite the best intentions of the operator. Restaurateurs in pursuit of maximizing the amount of customers they can squeeze in, use elaborate table plans, continually read more...

Food cost nett weight

When people hear the term food cost, they generally think of the simple calculation of cost / selling price = food cost %. This calculation does little more than give you a percentage. Understanding and controlling food cost is much read more...

Determining your 'F&B DNA' : are you a entrepreneur?

The aubergiste, the entrepreneur, the restaurateur and the undecided (c) Thibault Prugne & Stéphane Bellon   In my very first post of this series, I suggested that the F&B strategy in a hotel is largely driven by the executive’s experience and attitude to the read more...

Are exe chefs becoming dinosaurs? Chapter 2

(l. to r.) Sarah Benahmed, Sébastien Boulay, Franck Pelux   Congratulations to Franck Pelux, Sarah Benahmed and Sébastien Boulay for their first Michelin star at Lausanne Palace (Switzerland).   And my compliments to General Manager Ivan Rivier for having gone against most traditional approaches in read more...

Are restaurants a luxury or a necessity?

Enter the age of pandemics. As we battle new variants, COVID-19 vaccines may well be here to stay - where getting inoculated against the coronavirus may turn out to be an annual health measure requiring us to get a fresh read more...

Room service - from ordinary to extraordinary

Room service from The Bristol, Paris (photo credit: Claire Cocano)   Who would have thought a year ago that booking a hotel room was the key to a gastronomic meal? Check out what is happening right now in Paris, while all the read more...

Do we even need waiters anymore?

Let’s take a second and talk about the geography of a restaurant. The guest is seated in the dining room, the chef is back in the kitchen, and for a long time there was only one reliable way for the read more...

Origins of your coffee and more

The art of coffee at Four Season Hotel, Milano   Bean to bar, crop to cup, farm to table, field to fork, fork to fork, bean to cup. Do any of those phrases ring a bell? It’s very likely that you’ve heard read more...

Supporting sustainable choices in F&B

Stéphane Bonnat (from Bonnat Chocolat) visiting a cocoa farm to elaborate with farmers on the tastes he wants.   In my last post, I spoke about Transparency regarding the origin of the product and the grower behind it, and how to communicate it read more...

Green girl power and Peruvian powerhouse

Last weekend, Omnivore food festival 2021 in Paris provided us with a great sample of the best Latin American cuisine.   From green girl power with Brazilian Chef Alessandra Montagne to the Peruvian powerhouse Pìa Leòn, this year’s portfolio of chefs displayed read more...

Things restaurant staff will now look out for

Since the coronavirus pandemic a lot has happened. In the hospitality arena it has change the way we operate and move around, where the ‘eating out’ experience has altered beyond our wildest dreams. We now have to wear a mask read more...

Variability: friend and foe in the service industry

In the manufacturing world, variability can destroy. It is the enemy of quality. If a product purchased today differs from the same product brought last week, the company making it can kiss the customer goodbye.   In the service landscape, however, particularly read more...

Oh no! Not that same food again

The Covid pandemic sent consumers scurrying for food deliveries. Furthermore, widespread lockdowns, topsy turvy work schedules along with a plethora of related concerns rocketed delivery services to a new level of everyday importance.   A new report by ResearchAndMarkets concludes that “The read more...

A quick guide to wine tasting

Make no mistake wine can be intimidating – particularly if you find yourself among wine snobs who casually drop terms such as ‘chewing’ or ‘unctuous’ in conversation. Okay, you probably don’t need any help recognizing a white wine versus a read more...

Is your property 'baby (and mummy) friendly'?

Tourism providers, especially hotels recognise that families with dependent children represent a significant proportion of the travelling population, and are an important market. Many hotels make it a point to appear “family-friendly”, so as to attract parents with children by read more...

A sushi lesson: are sushi from China?

Breaking news, the nigirizushi (the emblematic rice canapé topped with fresh fish) might not be as Japanese as we believe it is.   The method of this staple of the Japanese cuisine is said to have its roots in an 8th century Chinese preservation method. read more...

A tale of two soups

Experts in etiquette tell us that we ‘eat’ rather than ‘drink’ soup because it is part of the meal.   As explained by John Ayto in his book ‘An A-Z of Food and Drink’, “The etymological idea underlying the word soup is read more...

How to turn less into more in F&B

I must confess, I have no formal qualification or industrial exposure to the area of Food & Beverage, apart from being a foodie and moderately capable in a kitchen - although my aversion to cutting, chopping, and washing pans would read more...

Why did Jamie Oliver's eateries go bust?

As the chain of mid-range Italian restaurants run by star TV chef Jamie Oliver went into administration,, the reactions were mixed. Some may mourn the closure of these restaurants, which offered a veneer of breezy cool and authentic “Italianness”. But, ultimately, read more...

Major events bring huge pop-up F&B opportunities

A Major event is a large-scale activity, with strong public interest and media coverage. Most importantly, these events create a sense of fun and vibrancy, providing the visitors with a leisure and social opportunity beyond the everyday experience. Usually they read more...

The switcheroo

Readers might remember that very recently I wrote an article about the most dismal biriyani that I had ever eaten in my life, at a wedding held at one of the oldest heritage hotels in Colombo. It was so tastelessly read more...

Food is either good or bad even if authentic

Any chef who is worth his or her salt would no doubt have heard of Gordon Ramsey, Anthony Bourdain, Jamie Oliver and Alain Ducasse.   Today though, I’ll like to write about Massimo Bottura, a two-time winner of the ‘Best restaurant in read more...

The world's best restaurants for 2022 revealed

It's another good year for Copenhagen as, for the second year in a row, a restaurant in the Danish capital has been named the best on the planet at the World's 50 Best Restaurants awards.   Geranium serves a meat-free, seasonally based Scandi menu read more...

To chill or not

"My dear girl, there are some things that are just not done, such as drinking Dom Perignon ‘53 above the temperature of 38° Fahrenheit." --- James Bond in Ian Fleming’s movie ‘Goldfinger’.   In my time at the hotel school I recall read more...

Undeclared half-eaten footlong subway sandwich cost US$ 1,840

Serendipity 3, a popular East Side restaurant in New York, known for its extravagant and expensive desserts sells the world’s most commercially priced, (expensive) sandwich. It’s a champagne-breaded, gold-flake sprinkled grilled cheese sandwich that costs US$ 214.   Called the Quintessential Grilled read more...

The pizza that caused an international uproar

Sam Panopoulos a chef in Canada created the Hawaiian pizza. He was neither Hawaiian nor Italian. Born in 1934, he moved to Canada when 20 and ran a restaurant with his brothers in Ontario. A visit to Naples –the birthplace read more...

Cheers to Hanky Panky and Ada Coleman

Say you overheard a person at a crowded bar tell someone, “Time for one more hanky-panky before we call it quits”, you’ll probably think there is some mischievous behaviour, perhaps a dishonest or shady activity with a playful sexual connotation, read more...

The battle of two beverages

Which is the healthier drink – tea or coffee?   Scientists have discovered that regularly drinking coffee or tea can provide a variety of health benefits. So, whether you start the morning with a heady burst of caffeine from an aromatic and read more...

Sri Lankan arrack: stirring up the international cocktail circuit

Aliya, Ceylon Sailor, Serendib, the Baroness, Paddington, Tusker, Everlasting Summer, Orient Expresso…they all have two things in common. Firstly they are all cocktails. Secondly, and most importantly, the principal ingredient or base spirit is Sri Lankan Arrack.   The pear-shaped island’s drinking read more...

Introducing: Patrick CORE McClary

If Your Challenge is Food & Beverage Then – Meet Your Maker   Everywhere you look it’s bleeding. The patient is so messed up it’s not even funny. It will never fix itself. You need CORE on your side.   CostOperationsRevenueExecute   Patrick is a self-made read more...

Orange...is the new wine

Not really. Re-discovered? Yes. The term orange wine, sometimes referred to as macerated wine, is an old but newly reawakened trend in the world of wines. Orange wine is growing the way rosé did years ago. Recently demand for it read more...

Today's kids are tomorrow's customers

Nettie’s House of Spaghetti in New Jersey, USA, recently banned children less than 10 years from its dining room by posting the following on social media.   “Between noise levels, lack of space for high chairs, cleaning up crazy messes, and the read more...

There's a scotch out there for everyone

Thinking of getting into scotch? Huh…where does one begin?  First of all, scotch as you most probably know refers to whisky. Secondly, Whisky is the spelling in Scotland whilst the Irish and the Americans spell it as whiskey.   Incidentally, it is read more...

Why McDonald's retain the 'Filet-O-Fish' on their menu

McDonald's is unquestionably the most popular fast food restaurant in the world. Each day, the restaurant serves about 1% of the world's population, which astonishingly is a near 70 million people. Interestingly, it is estimated that one-in-eight Americans have worked at a McDonald’s at read more...

Gastronomy meets astronomy

The challenges faced in space travel not only include the absence of gravity and the luxury of space inside the spacecraft, but also the deprivation of eating tasty food. We tend to conjure thoughts of eating food in space as read more...

How did abuse get baked into the hospitality industry?

When the The New York Times and The Boston Globe recently published exposés in which employees of award-winning chef Barbara Lynch described their abusive work environments, we weren’t surprised.. Anyone who has spent years working in restaurants probably wouldn’t be surprised, either, As sociologists read more...

Making cocktails is both art and engineering

Attending a National Bartenders competition held recently at a 5-star hotel, I had to hastily change my seat once the contest commenced. Although it was a 5,000 mile view of the performing contestants’, I realised no sooner the first competing read more...

Salmon Eye and Iris - merging art and gastronomy

Recently, there has been a surge in unique accommodations and culinary offerings in the Norwegian fjord region. One of the standout experiences is Iris Expedition Dining, a restaurant that offers a truly unique food experience. This exclusive dining spot is read more...

The buffet as we knew it is back

During the pandemic, there was obviously an issue with buffet service due to touchpoints and how operators controlled these. Some hotels completely removed buffets from their restaurants. Those who persisted with it, replaced the ‘choose and pick yourself’ experience with read more...

Becoming a chef: The long hard road

Today’s media can stage-manage just about any job to appear glamorous. Take for example: a chef in a restaurant. By showing an overhyped celebrity chef, suspend an ommlette in midair with the flick of the wrist, before making it land read more...

The world's most puzzling cuisines

Sampling a country’s most popular and traditional dishes can be one of the best parts about visiting or moving to a new country, and a great way to immerse oneself in the culture of a new place. However, these much read more...

Mind your manners when eating

You have good manners, right? After all, when you were young, you were schooled in the art of eating properly, where, you were taught to keep your elbows off the table; not talk while eating; not to slurp your soup read more...

Breakfast done right can be an asset

What is the first meal of the day and is usually the last meal a hotel guest experiences, before they check out in the morning? Breakfast of course! Hotels probably serve more breakfast than any other meal, and yet, in read more...

Talk about taking some ideas too far

Over the past few years, bars and restaurants around the world have implemented gentle to strict children bans, sometimes with weirdly specific parameters. In 2013, Houston's La Fisheria banned children under 8 after 7 p.m. In 2014, Old Fisherman's Grotto in Monterey, California discouraged read more...

Does chicken soup really help when you're sick?

A nutrition specialist explains what’s behind the beloved comfort food.   Preparing a bowl of chicken soup for a loved one when they’re sick has been a common practice throughout the world for centuries. Today, generations from virtually every culture swear to the benefits of read more...

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