Small Talk

Harwood Warrington on Macdonald Hotels and the importance of food

By Carina Perkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

"I believe that taking talented people on a journey with you brings the best returns" - Harwood Warrington
"I believe that taking talented people on a journey with you brings the best returns" - Harwood Warrington

Related tags: Macdonald hotels, Restaurant, Hotel

Harwood Warrington recently took over as Macdonald Hotels’ restaurant operations director and has begun a multi-million pound redevelopment of the group's food and beverage offering.

Tell us about your new role at Macdonald hotels and your plans for the food and beverage offering?

I started working for Macdonald Hotels and Resorts earlier this year in the role of restaurant operations director and my first task was to run a programme of refurbishments and re-launches of 16 of the hotel restaurants to strengthen the group’s quality food and beverage offering.

We are currently investing £2million in refreshing our approach to food and beverage. New restaurants have already been unveiled in 10 locations with six more expected in 2014 as part of a new strategy to introduce concepts designed to be unique to the hotel and the local area. This approach has already resulted in a 25% uplift in sales.

Why do you think it is important to deformalise hotel F&B offerings?

We plan to de-formalise some of the restaurants to provide a balance between casual and quality dining that are all supported by carefully-sourced, high quality ingredients. However, it is not just about rolling out the same concept in every hotel.

How can you improve the guest experience in hotel restaurants?

At Macdonald Hotels, we don’t simply look at cost, we look at value and that means high quality at the right price. We carry out benchmarking exercises to ensure costs are in line with market trends.

We have numerous award-winning restaurants with over 40 AA accolades to our name, and guests can now enjoy a new menu which continues to offer the very best of British, as well as the chance to try a wide range of the world’s best prime cuts.

Why is it so important for Macdonald Hotels to prepare food in house?

We take huge pride in sourcing great raw ingredients and with our talented chefs working in the kitchen we can provide guests with the ultimate dining experience from start to finish. This supports all that we do from breakfast, through to the best afternoon tea, and fine dining at some hotels.

What is the most important thing you have learnt in your career so far?

My motto is “you reap what you sow in life”. The industry is small and to advance you need to deliver grit, determination, energy, and always think ahead looking at new food trends.

How does working in hotels differ from working for branded pubs?

To understand brand values and measurements is key and I find that working in hotels is rewarding and satisfying. I believe that taking talented people on a journey with you brings the best returns.

What advice would you give to someone starting out in hospitality?

Remember why you are entering this industry and ensure to focus on people development, guest satisfaction and make certain that your own natural hospitality shines through in all that you do.

Related topics: Business, People, Small Talk

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