Alternative Hotel Group (AHG) has placed food and beverage at the heart of its plans to overhaul De Vere Hotels & Resorts, which it acquired last summer.
The company plans to invest "significant" sums in its food and beverage offer and has made three senior appointments to support Duncan Ackery, previously chief executive at Tate Catering UK, who joined De Vere as its F&B development director in January.
On Ackery's core team will be John Woodward, currently executive chef at Baxter & Platts, who will become group executive chef of Village and De Vere Venues, from April.
His counterpart at De Vere Hotels and Resorts will be group executive chef David Watson, who was executive chef at the Grand Hyatt hotel in Taipei.
Completing the team is David Austin, head of sales for wine supplier Bibendum in Scotland, who will move to the company in April as group beverage manager.
Malmaison chief executive Robert Cook, a partner in AHG, heralded the trio's arrival. "These appointments are a sign of how seriously the company takes food and beverage and how passionate we are about it," he told Caterer. "We plan to create a number of destination restaurants in the group - but won't be adopting a one-size-fits-all mentality."
Ackery, who used hospitality recruitment firm Portfolio to recruit Watson and Woodward, added: "We believe we can add a lot of value to the business by making food and beverage a central part of what we do. Food and beverage is aspirational and not something you can run through a cost centre."
The company overhaul will also see AHG rebrand De Vere Hotels under the Heritage and Deluxe divisions within the next six weeks.
By Chris Druce
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