Bringing the Customer a New Experience

Shahrom Oshtori, Director of Food and Beverage, Sofitel Mumbai BKC speaks to BW Hotelier on his strategy when it comes to food festivals and introducing the city to unique flavours.

GASTRONOMY AND culture are two very important pillars for the Sofitel brand. BW Hotelier spoke to Shahrom Oshtori, Director of Food and Beverage, Sofitel Mumbai BKC on his strategy when it comes to food festivals.

The hotel is currently hosting three South African chefs from Johannesburg who are bringing Mumbaikars a South African food festival in association with Love South Africa.

“Ever since I took over two years ago, there has been a lot of importance given to F&B. We have been doing multiple things, food festivals which included the usual Parsi, Cantonese and Thai, cuisines that are both popular with our customers in India. This year, we are going futher afield. We had chefs come down from our hotel in Istanbul for a very successful Turkish food festival and then, now we are having a South African food festival,” Oshtori told us adding that the hotel was also in talks to organise a Moroccan food festival.

“What we are exploring is more than cuisine, it's culture, what's happening around the world. Indians are travelling and know what is happening around the world,” he added.

When it comes to organising a food festival, the hotel is also very careful that equal importance is given to both vegetarian as well as non vegetarian offerings.
“The first brief we give any chef coming to do a food festival is that they have to be attentive towards the vegetarian fare. It's not easy in certain cuisines, but because the festivals are held in Pondicherry which is buffet centric, it’s easier to also showcase the vegetarian dishes which every cuisine the world over has,” Oshtori said. With the produce available nowadays, its much simpler to source exotic ingredients nowadays, he added.

When it comes to incorporating dishes which have been made in the festivals, he told us that though the different recipes are noted down, they aren’t always incorporated into the menu carte blanche. Yet, Oshtori confessed that after the Lebanese food festival, the buffet offerings in the mezze section definitely reached greater heights.

“The idea is to constantly do something different. Owing to the travel history of our guests today, when they hear that the cuisine that they liked on their travels is being offered, it does increase footfall and traction. In a promotion we also aim for a slightly higher average spend,” he added.

“Every food festival is treated with a separate ROI analysis, we do the ten days and compare it with the previous year. Our festivals are always for 10 days and have two weekends, start on a Friday and end the next Sunday,” he said.

It’s not just food that has been given the extra attention. “As far as beverages are concerned, we have just launched signature cocktails in Jyran, our signature restaurant. We have very creative offerings, interactive drinks done on your table, following the trends in the market. A new concept we are introducing is a tea salon. In Artisan's outdoor area we are tying up with a company, which is getting in tea from all over the world. The salon will have retail as well,” he added.

“In wines, we have a vinotech, which is a wine library. We have 154 labels currently with the hotel. The idea of the vinotech, is to bring in the best, so we have only selected 80 labels, after doing some research. We are talking in terms of the most awarded wines and paired with the food at Artisan as well as food offered in our other restaurants,” Oshtori concluded.

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