From the outside, Le Royal Monceau – Raffles Paris hotel appears to embody a classic French elegance. With its grand architecture from 1928, the five-star Parisian hotel reopened in 2010, following a complete redesign from Philip Stark. Though understated, upon closer inspection, designs reminiscent of famous historic guests from all over the world have been incorporated into the aesthetic of the hotel. Starting in hospitality at the age of 15, Sylvain Greiner completed his formal education with a master. Now the Director of Food and Beverage, he not only matches this contemporary atmosphere, but draws from cultures all over the world to create new culinary experiences for his guests. "Food and beverage at Le Royal Monceau is one of the largest operations; it is also unusual in that we only offer experiences," says Greiner, "It isn't a traditional gastronomic French restaurant, it is either a Japanese fusion restaurant, or an Italian one. We offer new experiences particularly to our Parisian guests."
One of the most prominent attractions to the hotel is Chef Nobu Matsuhisa,. Greiner shares that guests are drawn to the hotel to try his cuisine. His unique dishes combine a number of different cultures that attract Parisians and regular customers looking to try new food. Greiner’s responsibility is to ensure that the hotel maintains its dynamic edge in the food and beverage sector, and so he created the pop-up Japanese Garden Matsuhisa Niwa. "We created this restaurant to highlight the skill of our Executive Chef, Hideki Endo, and of course to publicise Nobu and his sushi speciality." Seating a maximum of eight, the pop-up has been successful, says Greiner: "There was a real draw to this from our regulars. It was something different, something exclusive."
It is for this reason that Greiner strives to maintain new creative partnerships and concepts. He reflects that during the summer, he partnered with Moise Sfez from Homer Lobster, inspired from a New York lobster roll. Greiner goes on to discuss the pop-up he created with Gennaro Nasti this year: "We have an Italian faction within the hotel with Il Carpaccio restaurant." Nasti is, says Greiner, a true artisan, and "a god of pizza" in Paris. "It was great for us to showcase his talent to our guests." Greiner acknowledges that customers demand more from a high-quality hotel, and seek to engage with new experiences upon each visit. To ensure that his vision is consistent across the hotel, Greiner says that attracting and retaining top-tier staff is paramount: "It is particularly important to have the right employees, in directorial positions across the restaurant, bar, banquet and room service. Employees will come for the brand and product, but stay for the managers."
Greiner says that the desire to implement technology is always centered around a very "human experience." Technology divides into two categories for him: "sales reports, which are so much more accessible today than they used to be. Now we can use analytics tools such as Avero and then implement this data to suit the business strategy," and customer feedback. Greiner references TrustYou, which is a platform used to collate customer feedback based on the language they use. "With TrustYou, you can have 200 comments refined into a couple of sentences from the most regularly used words. The efficiency this provides is excellent, and allows us to respond to customer feedback faster than ever."
Another partner that he cites as integral to the operations across food & beverage is a family-owned, Toronto-based company, Silverware POS: "Silverware POS has a great team, and they are constantly challenging themselves and meeting our requests head-on. This partnership has opened many new opportunities and the interface is user-friendly for both restaurant employees and accounting and IP teams alike. Partnerships are so important in this business to remain profitable." This is a value shared across the hotel. Greiner states that there is a director of strategic partnerships who he has worked closely with. "This role gives us a real competitive advantage as we now have the foundations and can begin to offer more singular experiences. When this is combined with these partnerships allow for us to streamline our operations to focus on creating this truly dynamic experience."
As the Hotel moves forward, Greiner enthuses that it plans to progress under the same strategy of maintaining contemporary art and continuously offering ephemeral and dynamic experiences to loyal guests. "We want to create experiences that are luxury, but understated, not the traditional French way. I also want to build a closer relationship between chefs and the guests, to make guests’ experiences at the hotel all the more special.” Another experience soon to be available is an afternoon tea, inspired and based around the French poet, Jean Cocteau. The poet is already present across the hotel, with his poems adorning bedside cabinets, and his scribbled musings incorporated into the lightware and furnishings; they will now accent the new porcelain from Raynaud. As Greiner moves forward with his dynamic partnerships, his customers, both new and loyal, can continue to expect the high pedigree of understated luxury that is intrinsic to le Royal Monceau.