Millennium Hilton Bangkok’s new F&B director plans to solidify hotel’s position as trendsetter.
By Percy Roxas
In July, Millennium Hilton Bangkok welcomed a new director of F&B, Marco Osterwalder, a 38-year-old Swiss national who’s already an industry veteran of 20 years. “I have great plans for the Millennium Hilton, and these include transforming the hotel into an important trendsetter through innovation and differentiation,” says Marco. “I want to re-energize the hotel’s F&B operations.” Marco has a reputation for his strong ability to analyze situations, identify problems and formulate solutions, as well as for his excellent organizational and administration skills.
“First, let me say that Millennium Hilton Bangkok is a very established operation,” Marco says. “We’ve been open for seven years. But I think it’s important to make sure that Thais are re-energized about this property. I mean, it’s important that our positioning remains strong as it is.”
Marco is currently working with his team to bring about new ideas in keeping with this objective, starting with staff re-training. “I have team members who have been here since the opening and as F&B director, I have to bring them to the next level,” he explains. “We are re-training the team to take them to a higher new level.”
He is also in the thick of regular brainstorming with the team on possible new promotions and marketing efforts, and he’s thinking of adjusting the concepts of some F&B outlets as well, such as for example Prime, the hotel’s popular steakhouse.
“Prime is a very established steakhouse. But what I want to do is to have it veer a little bit away from the classical steakhouse and give our guests the opportunity to experience a little bit more.
“We were thinking of introducing some items outside the main steak menu. It could be a fish, it could be seafood, and it could be different kinds of food to round up the place a little bit more. So let’s say, when you go to Prime for a nice dinner, you can enjoy your steak while your friends can enjoy their seafood. It’s an opportunity to keep more people happy.”
He doesn’t plan to make any changes with the monthly wine dinners at Prime, though.
“As for Yuan, we have lots of in-house guests coming for lunch and dinner,” he adds.” It runs very smoothly.” He describes Yuan and Prime as “my current babies.”
Marco says Yuan has a new master chef from Hong Kong, Chef Choi, and the restaurant is looking at organizing a food promotion that would showcase not only the chef’s versatility but also his own renditions of authentic Hong Kong favorites. “He brings to Bangkok the original taste of Hong Kong, and he’s flexible enough to create dishes that would also appeal to the Thai taste,” he says.
He’s also looking to make the delightful ThreeSixty “more dynamic, more vibrant again.”
“Currently we have a new jazz diva, Claudia, who just moved out of Conrad Bangkok. You’ll love her,” he says. “And Three Sixty offers a great spot to see Bangkok a little differently.”
Marco hints that he’s also looking into what other opportunity he can bring to make ThreeSixty “hotter.” “We’re looking at a lot of ideas, really,” he says,” including changing the target market a bit.
“For me it’s more important that we can offer something to everybody, from the middle class to the higher class; to find a good balance in between. I want to offer our guests something everybody can afford and have a really, really good experience. I am all for doing something different because Bangkok is such a place for novel, exciting ideas.” Of course, he counts on the full support of the entire team, and he’s after consistency and continuity as well. Especially in outlets such as Flow, which is “extremely doing well.”
“Flow offers a great buffet at very reasonable prices for lunch and for dinner, and it’s very popular,” he says. “And don’t forget our Cheese Room.”
Another new related development he shared is the recent launch of the Hilton Premium Card. “When you sign up for this dining card you get several vouchers for your use in the restaurants, or to stay in hotel, and this is again something very special,” Marco says “You can use the card in all Hilton properties.” The card costs something like Bt7,500. (Call the hotel for more details.). Obviously, this is just the beginning. “The biggest focus is to bring the property to a higher level than we currently enjoy, not only in the F&B department, and show them off a little bit more on the market when that is achieved. It’s important that the entire team work together to achieve our goals and lift the experience of this hotel to no less but better than best.”