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Simon Seis, Park Plaza Westminster Bridge
This was a closely fought category, but Simon Seis emerged as the deserving winner. Seis oversees the multitude of food and beverage options that the Park Plaza Westminster Bridge offers, including Brasserie Joël, Primo Bar, Ichi Sushi & Sashimi Bar, Espressamente Illy café, room service, the hotel room mini bars, the executive lounge and the breakfast department.
Brasserie Joël, under chef Walter Ishizuka, was recently awarded 9/10 by Times critic Giles Coren, while Ichi Sushi & Sashimi Bar claims to serve the only sushi afternoon tea in London. Meanwhile, the room service team alone consists of 24 full-time, front-of-house members, and serves around 260 covers a day. In total, the F&B outlets in the hotel cater for an average of 2,200 covers per day and are home to 121 team members.
Despite that wide area of responsibility, Seis is well on top of his brief and has been instrumental in increasing revenue across the operations by 12% in 2015 against 2014, achieved through a combination of menu engineering, with new product and pricing strategies. He has even managed to increase the revenue from the breakfast and executive lounge operations, which are dependent on the occupancy of the hotel, by implementing special offers on breakfast, upscaled à la carte choices and a review on pricing in the executive lounge, offered to all hotel guests as an upgrade.
Seis has also been careful to focus on the development of his team, with seven out of the 11 members of the F&B management team promoted internally. Seven of his team are enrolled in management-development programmes, and he spends a considerable amount of time coaching and mentoring his staff, dedicating an hour a week to train his management team personally.
There has been a host of initiatives brought in by Seis to improve the running of the F&B business, including closely monitoring the scores on TripAdvisor of all the operations within the hotel, and updating the team on their progress in the daily F&B team meetings. He has conducted a review of service and culinary standards at Brasserie Joël, putting a major emphasis on the ‘wow' factor of the restaurant, redesigning the menu, reviewing the wine offering, and amending the guest journey. This resulted in the restaurant obtaining a second AA rosette, which has been retained in 2016.
All these measures, and more, won the admiration of the judges and propelled him to winning the Food and Beverage Manager of the Year Hotel Catey for 2016.
What the judges said
"Simon is clearly dedicated to service and ensuring every customer receives a ‘wow' experience. I really like the ‘we are all sales' culture he has introduced. A great team player."
Julia Sibley, Savoy Educational Trust
"Simon achieves a good balance of strategic thinking and financial success with the equally important training and development of the team. He is innovative, dedicated and a role model."
Sarah Williams, Firmdale Hotels
"Simon Seis was pushed to the line by Marco Salamon, but he demonstrated impressive results across his area of responsibility. He is dedicated to his team, adopting a personal approach within an operation of scale, while still finding time to support a range of charity organisations."
Anne Pierce, the Springboard Charity
Simon Seis Park Plaza Westminster Bridge London
Marco Salamon Haymarket Hotel, London
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