GLH Hotels has appointed Marco Zacharia into the newly created role of food and beverage director, marking a "step change" in the company's focus.
The former head of international food for Caffé Nero is tasked with developing the hotel group's food and beverage offer across its 17 properties and five individual brands, which include Guoman, Amba and Thistle.
Zacharia's remit will include menu development with a focus on locally sourced produce and staff training, as well as the creation of destination restaurants across the company's hotel estate.
Mike Magrane, operations director of GLH Hotels, told The Caterer: "As a business, GLH is changing quite dramatically and this appointment marks a step change for us. We've got quite a stable of properties and brands and we have been very focused, as a lot of other hotels have been, on driving the rooms opportunities. We possibly haven't focused as much on making sure our assets are working for us from a food & beverage point [of view].
He added: "My past experience [at Q Hotels] was very much about creating individual offers for the customers and we want to bring that into GLH. Together with the retail and high street experience that Marco has, we're coming up with some great plans. You can't just think about the customer upstairs, it's all about the customers from outside - especially in London."
Zacharia joins the business with almost 40 years' experience in the F&B and hospitality sectors. He has previously worked as a chef aboard the QEII, led the school of food and hospitality at Brooklands College, and spent nine years at John Lewis where he oversaw the design and launch of the first John Lewis Brasserie.
In addition Zacharia has spent time in the Middle East on catering and retail projects including launching the Fortnum and Mason brand in Dubai, before returning to the UK to take up his role at Caffé Nero.
His first project at GLH has been to lead the development and relaunch of the Thistle Hotels' food and beverage menu, launched earlier this month across eight sites, after just two months in position.
Commenting on his new position, Zacharia said: "GLH Hotels is on a transformative journey across its portfolio with a greater focus on F&B than ever before, making this the perfect time for me to join.
"My aim is to use my experience from the last four decades to harness and nurture the incredible talent we have in the kitchens and restaurants across the 17 properties driving forward some exciting changes that will deliver delicious dishes for our guests and build a reputation for excellence and innovation in the hospitality sector."