The 1980s and early 1990s were far from kind to hotel food and beverage programs. As chains and independent restaurants rose in popularity, hotel owners began waving the white flags of
surrender. Although responsible for more than a third of a full-service hotel?s operating expenses, restaurants took on the role of guest amenity, there if the customers wanted them. Only breakfast could be counted on to consistently carry its weight, and merely by virtue of ease and time of day. Come lunch and dinner, guests typically opted for off-premise restaurants that seemed to try harder. Local communities knew better than to spend money with establishments that just didn?t live up to their potential.

Today, however, a wide and complex array of forces have converged to make hotel F&B the hottest field in hospitality. Destination and restaurant are now two words that increasingly couple together in ways nobody 20 years ago would have thought possible. Lodging sociologists will have no trouble debating whether it was Las Vegas and its emphasis on celebrity chefs or the inside-out competitive makeovers chain brands got in the early 2000s or even the rise of cable cooking shows. The fact remains, guests demanded more of hotels, and they eventually responded?with style, energy and creativity.

In this article, three key players in hotel F&B share their thoughts on the culinary architects who contributed heavily to the resurgence of their fields?the chefs. It?s clear that chefs share not only an abiding passion for cooking these days, but also a solid affinity for the overall hotel environment and its multi-faceted relationship with corporate management.

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