By Christian Denny, licensee of Hotel Harry
Earlier this year, Hotel Harry brought on respected chef Morgan McGlone – of Belle’s Hot Chicken fame – as food curator for the hotel for 2016. Christian Denny explains what a recognisable chef can bring to your business.
Morgan McGlone at work in the kitchen
The decision to partner with a noted chef to launch the kitchens of our new hotel was a deliberate and positive strategy. In essence, it was an investment in known ability, and an opportunity to leverage the volume of our marketing message into a crowded and competitive market place.
The modern operator can either choose the route of safety in providing a menu of “pub classics”, or they can embrace the challenge of evolution, and titillate the diner with what is actually possible in the hotel environment. In exploring new horizons, forging a partnership with a reputable and lauded chef from the beginning makes this ambition achievable.
The emergence in the local hotel market of incredibly capable and savvy operators in the last decade has seen the bar raised substantially. Factor in the advent of accessible international travel, the internet, celebrity chefs and social media, and today’s hotel patron expects and demands so much more.
Cold beer and cheap steaks are no longer valid as differentiating market offers when communicating to the discerning patron. To succeed, it is imperative that hoteliers challenge themselves to identify and meet the changing demands of the global patron.
In relaunching Hotel Harry, the biggest question we asked ourselves was “How do we differentiate ourselves from everyone else?” For us, the answer was clearly going to be spearheaded via a prominent food message.
The opportunity to partner with an already established and reputable chef provides many benefits for the hotel operator. While the hotelier can identify the opportunity and crystallise the framework, the introduction of a feted chef can turbo-charge your product strategy.
In marketing terms, the marriage of two already existing brands can deliver exponential market leverage. The harsh reality that venues can either thrive or die on the whims of instantaneous food media reviews, means that the margin for error is almost non-existent.
From the hotelier’s perspective, partnering with a reputable and highly professional chef brings both assurance and confidence to the equation, as that first dinner service will always be best entrusted to a proven performer.
However, for the partnership to truly flourish, it has to be based in a solid foundation of shared vision and values. When Morgan McGlone agreed to take up a residency in our kitchens, it was important to us that we not only had someone who could produce excellent menus, but a professional who was equally committed to achieving our goals with us.
Also in today’s market, the integrity of your food offering is essential. The modern diner wants to know how their meal came to be: its provenance, the sustainability of produce and health benefits. An accomplished chef can tell this story to your patron, for they arrive with an already known dedication to quality.
Not only does such an opportunity enable the hotelier to highly leverage the marketing of their venue, but it adds crucial credence and integrity to your brand when announcing your presence to the market place.
This column was originally published in Australian Hotelier. To view the digital issue of Australian Hotelier, click here.