The Alchemists of Accor – The Hindu BusinessLine
Paulo Coelho in his bestselling book, The Alchemist, said, “It’s the possibility of realizing a dream that makes life interesting.” The Accor hotel group in India, which includes Novotel, Ibis, Fairmont, Grand Mercure and Raffles, is inspired by Coelho’s book to dream and inspire its teams to develop its restaurant business in India.
The French hotel chain, which has 54 establishments in India, has named Supreet Roy, general manager of a Novotel hotel in Chennai, as its master alchemist. Ask Philip Mahoney, Vice President, F&B, IMEAT (India, Middle East, Africa and Turkey) region, what that means, and he explains, “Our vision is to make food and drink the heart and the soul of our hotels, and how to do this requires each of our “Heartists” to play a role in making this a reality. While today’s alchemists routinely transmute gold on a daily basis, we aim to curate the best F&B experiences in our hotels.
Food in the foreground
Novotel’s Roy says he is working with Accor Group CEO Puneet Dhawan to make each of the hotel’s F&Bs a strong functional area. “There is another colleague I work with, Sachin Maheshwary, GM, Grand Mercure in Bengaluru, and two of us have this task of making sure everyone is on the same page from a commercial point of view. We will make F&B a passion for teams with an interesting story for each hotel. We have formed a team across the hotel network including the F&B manager and a culinary manager from each hotel,” says Roy. These will be the alchemists who will work with Supreet and Sachin.
The heart of the idea is that the group’s hotels and the teams do not see F&B as an ancillary service, but as a good source of income, explains Roy. Roy has done just that with the Novotel on bustling Chamiers Road in Chennai. This Novotel hotel has become well known for its food and drink offerings, and was one of the first hotels to launch do-it-yourself food kits, which were a hit during the pandemic when people were stuck at home. them. The cocktails as well as the sushi menu of KooX, his restaurant, have become very popular with hotel guests.
His cloud kitchens launched during the pandemic have bolstered F&B revenue, which Roy says is now almost a 50/50 mix with rooms. Novotel launched as cloud kitchens The Degh Story, for Lucknowi kitchen; Fudged, a range of sugar-free desserts; Tossed, which offers do-it-yourself pasta and pizza; and Cake Boutique, an exclusive brand of cakes. “I want to make F&B an entrepreneurial business in all our hotels and make it a good source of income. Of course, it also depends on the location and space of each hotel and its business plan. The ratio in our hotel has increased lately towards food,” adds Roy.
Co-create in the kitchen
As Mahoney explains, the Master Alchemists reinforce and push the business ambition of the various Alchemists, a group of restaurant professionals who are business drivers at the group’s hotels in the region. “We currently have 41 business-oriented creatives active across the IMEAT region who enable communication between hotels and our regional office to accelerate initiatives to market, foster best practices, share successes and co-create new ones. standards.”
Mahoney says the main focus areas for The Alchemists will be to deliver on the three pillars that make up Accor’s F&B strategy: living the brand promise to its guests; cultivate staff talent; and create added value for owners.
“With the increase in catering supply in the market, competition is fierce and leveraging the knowledge, creativity and expertise of our teams is more important than ever. We have seen some exciting initiatives come to fruition at the Alchemists. Our goal is to make our hotels the best dining destinations in their cities,” says Mahoney.
Ask Mahoney if other hotel chains have something similar like a master alchemist, he says Accor is probably not the only hotel group to have built a team like this because everyone would want to leverage of the talent they have in their hotels. “Whether they call themselves F&B ambassadors, specialists or restaurant and bar managers, they all have the same goal: to provide only the best experiences for customers,” he adds.
If Alchemists also had the Midas touch, Accor would indeed be delighted.
July 10, 2022