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Determining your ‘F&B DNA’: Are you an aubergiste?

In part one of this blog series, I introduced the idea that there are four types of hoteliers, and that your approach to F&B can tell you a lot about which category you fit into. I believe there is a strong alignment between the general manager’s “F&B DNA” and the hotel’s F&B strategy. Your F&B strategy is highly related to your own identity.

Are you an entrepreneur, a restaurateur, an aubergiste or undecided? Stay tuned in coming weeks for all the definitions.

Let’s start with the aubergiste

To me, the aubergiste represents the oldest and most traditional profile of a hotelier, where the hotel offered protection for the night, a bed and a meal to a traveler (from the old caravanserai to Europe during the Middle Agea). The aubergiste remains true to the pure tradition of hospitality and its first function.

In this regard, the aubergiste considers the hotel restaurant a service rendered to guests rather than pass-through diners. Palaces or grand hotels frequently follow the aubergiste model, offering high-quality meals in an overall luxury atmosphere dedicated primarily to hotel guests.

However, the rise of the celebrity chefs as a marketing strategy and the increased number of awards and distinctions, coupled with the competition in the upper-luxury segment, are pushing this category of hotels towards a more entrepreneurial approach that I will describe in the next post.

As the aubergiste represents the most traditional hotelier, the executive management of aubergiste companies tends to share the same type of education and career path. Vast work experience in operations is a common trait found among the top executives. Occasionally, they come from outside the hotel industry, and extremely rarely, from an F&B background.

The aubergiste may consider outsourcing the restaurant as long as the other party can reach a similar level of brand recognition and hence perception of quality.

The aubergiste sees the restaurant as a service, a form of utility that may or may not include a strong luxury dimension. The restaurant is mainly directed at hotel guests rather than external clientele, even if it has a good reputation within the local community.

The aubergiste’s focus is not predominantly on F&B, but he or she is aware of other factors and invest in the hotel itself, the lobby or spa, recreation center or event spaces, rooms or concierge. Most likely he or she is a fantastic hotelier, running among the best palace hotels in the world!

If this portrait does not appeal or apply to you, if you think, on the contrary, that F&B should be at the core of your strategy, you might be a true restaurateur, or even an entrepreneur.

More on that in the next post…

Which type of hotelier are you?
Which type of hotelier are you?
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