Monday, August 04, 2008

Eric Ripert Does Hotel Restaurants (Read 10 Arts) Because They Come With Less Heartburn

And wisely so.

Interesting article in the Washington Post over the weekend about hotel restaurants looking toward celebrity chefs these days.

And Eric Ripert of 10 Arts figures prominently.
Big hotel chains have long tried to emulate developments in popular culture, and recently they have turned their attention to the celebrity chef culture that has invaded American cities, making near rock stars out of Ripert and Wolfgang Puck and Tom Colicchio, the head judge on the popular TV show "Top Chef."

"They are trying to go back to the days when hotels were destination dining," said Michael Costa, an editor at Hotel F&B magazine. "One of the hardest things to do in the restaurant business is get someone to walk through the door. Having a celebrity chef is a way to get them there."

In most of the recent hotel deals, the celebrity chefs license their names for hefty fees, design the menu and the concept, oversee operations with regular visits and install proteges as the everyday operators.
In May, Ripert opened 10 Arts in the Philadelphia Ritz Carlton and installed protégé Jennifer Carroll as chef. About six months earlier he opened another hotel restaurant with another protege, this one in the Washington D.C. Ritz Carlton.

So what’s in it for Eric?
The hotel companies have lured the star chefs into the corporate lodging world by offering them a way to extend their brand while having to do few of things that give them heartburn -- begging investors for money and running the daily business.

"I don't have to go out and raise money; and every night when I go to bed I don't have the stress of worrying if I am profitable that week," Ripert said. "If we lose a manager, I know the hotel is going to take care of it. I can focus on what I should be focusing on: Is the team performing properly and is the food being prepared correctly?"

When Ripert is in town on one of his regular visits, he said he "eats a lot of food," hovers around the kitchen, mingles with guests -- "I talked to Eric Ripert!" -- and scrutinizes the service.
Yay.

And how is 10 Arts doing so far? Well, the chef, Jennifer Carroll has already been named best new chef by Philly Mag. And…
10 Arts has been open only a couple of months, but the revenue has doubled over the previous restaurant. At that rate, the hotel's overall profit margin could jump by 3 percent.
Sue-pair.

Related:
Reviving Ho-Hum Hotel Fare [ Washington Post ]

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