‘Time to Adopt Retail Format in Hotel F&B’

Sunil Menon, who was recently promoted to Exec Chef at the Four Points by Sheraton in Pune speaks on the many challenges of F&B especially in hotels.


CONSISTENCY AND agility is the key to success for today’s F&B Industry,” says Sunil Menon who has recently been appointed as an Executive Chef at Four Points by Sheraton, Pune. Born and brought up in Bhubaneswar, his inspiration for cooking came from his dad who used to cook during special occasions.

With more than 17 years of experience in the hospitality industry this is his second promotion in a single month. At Four Points by Sheraton, he plans to create a local flavour to each outlet which enables them to have a unique positioning in the local market.

“My competitors are stand-alone restaurants, as they are the major revenue shakers of the five star hotel market segments today. It’s time to adapt the retail format of F & B rather than the traditional concept of five star hotels,” said Menon.

Menon recalls his most independent experience till date with Tablez-The food company (Sister Concern of EMKE Lulu International) where he was Brand chef for three brands, looking after their India & Sri Lanka market.

“When I went to South Africa for brand training during my days in Lulu, the owner from one of the African restaurants came to me and asked me to do some-thing with Peri sauce with an Indian twist. It was so instant that I just made Peri peri chicken tikka with bake yucca, using their in house Peri sauce. It was very interestingly received and became a recommended dish in their menu that contributes highly to their sales mix,” Menon told us while recalling his best experience.

According to Menon, India’s growing foodie reputation is becoming a major driver of Indian tourism, predicted to be one of the biggest sources of economic growth over the next decade. “Getting good staff has always been a challenge for hotels and restaurants in our country. The industry is thriving so much that it needs more trained staff all the time. The skills gap is a classic case of demand outstripping supply,” he added.

For Menon, the biggest challenge for the hotel/restaurant industry is product consistency and staffing. “Guests demand the same experience regardless of the location. Supply chains and product availability are not always as consistent as the specs demand. The other challenges includes judicious day to day financial decisions and always balancing important tasks to be taken every day, developing managers and chefs and maintaining a positive morale within them,” Menon told us.

With his constant goal to cultivate and maintain the finest of culinary operations, Menon believes that local clientele is a key market along with the foreign clientele so balancing palates of global and local cuisine needs to be interesting enough.

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