Food Service in the Hotel world. Interview with the General Manager of the Courmayeur Grand Hotel Royal & Golf: Veronica Revel Chion

28 May 2021

General Manager of the Grand Hotel Royal & Golf, Courmayeur since 2017, Veronica Revel Chion hails from Ivrea (province of Turin) and has always known what she wanted to do, dedicating her life to travelling and exploring unconventional places.

She chose a career in tourism, discovering the world and widening mental and geographical horizons.  Her working life has put her in contact with the civilisations and cultures of countries such as Tunisia, Morocco, Ireland, South Africa, Latin America and many others.

Her experience in the hotel trade began over 15 years ago and has included leisure, business, the boutique hotel niche and MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions). She arrived for the first time in Valle D’Aosta in 2007 and since 2015 has been working in the Courmayeur Grand Hotel Royal & Golf, initially as a Management Assistant and now, for almost three years, as General Manager.

We interviewed her to find out the value of food service in the hotel she runs and the decisions that have made the Grand Hotel Royal & Golf one of the most popular alpine destinations for food tourism, and the most important in Val D’Aosta, thanks also to the Michelin star awarded to Chef Paolo Griffa in 2019.

Please tell us about the hotel you are General Manager of.

<<The Grand Hotel Royal & Golf is situated in the heart of Courmayeur. It is the first luxury hotel in Val D’Aosta and was opened in 1854 by a family of hoteliers from Liguria, who chose architect and designer Gio Ponti to create the dining room of our Grand Royal Restaurant, with its magnificent arched ceiling.  

The structure is the focal point of the city and comprises four food service facilities:

• Grand Royal, a classical restaurant that proposes Italian and Mediterranean haute cuisine;

• Bistrot Royal, with dishes typical of the Val d’Aosta tradition, prepared with local produce that also reflects territorial traditions;

• Petit Royal, a haute cuisine restaurant that boasts a Michelin star, run by talented Chef Paolo Griffa.

• Lounge Bar, a meeting point not just for hotel guests, but also for those with holiday homes in the Valley.

The Grand Hotel is complete with all the services a luxury hotel should have, including a leisure room, spa, outdoor swimming pool and a champagne bar.>>

What role does food service have as a hotel facility?

<<Our mission is “great beauty”. Here at the Grand Hotel Royal & Golf we strive to offer every guest a unique 360° experience.  Food service is therefore part of a broader project and goes towards even better customisation of the packages we offer our guests.

With our food service facilities we want to offer something that goes beyond expectations, we want to involve our guests in something that will arouse unforgettable emotions.  For us food service is a booster to enhance the reputation of the structure, and with a number of restaurants we can provide even more complete experiences.

Food service is one of our strong points and in a way is a showcase that helps us widen our visibility also with targets different from hotel guests.>>

Food service and hotels: how do they get on?

<<I strongly believe in synergy between hotels and restaurants. They are two sides of the same coin and have to be on the same level. Here at the Grand Hotel Royal & Golf we apply the same logic to running both. 

We invest in highly qualified staff passionate about their work and who share our values and objectives. We believe that both restaurants and hotels should have common characteristics that will give guests a unique experience. 

An experience that will leave a positive sensation so that they will be happy to come back, or will transmit positive sensations to others.

I’d like to point out that our food service facilities are not open exclusively to our hotel guests.  On the contrary, they are open to anyone who wants to be pampered by our service.>>

How much does food service influence a top quality hotel?

<<We are constantly at work to make our restaurants an additional source of income and not a cost centre, an extremely important aspect that sometimes my colleagues in other hotels do not take sufficiently into account.

We continuously analyse food costs and revenues from each kitchen, partly applying accommodation revenue methods to our food services.  We are all used to the different rates for a hotel room and airline or railway ticket prices, which change according to demand, period and occupation. 

In my opinion, it is important to extend this concept to food service so that we can guarantee more efficient service for our guests and at the same time higher revenues for our structures.>>

How important is it to optimise workflow? 

<<For the food service facilities of structures such as the Grand Hotel Royal & Golf it was essential to select the right equipment, skilfully manage flows and optimise space

Workflow optimisation is important to produce the least waste possible and save resources and time. The renovation project for two of our kitchens was designed to meet the needs dictated by the type of food we chose to offer and the production methods we chose to adopt. 

The layout, choice of equipment and its arrangement, which we entrusted to GICO, is functional for workflow optimisation in our restaurants.  The kitchens for the Petit Royal and Grand Royal are designed for 360° efficiency, involving the supply chain around the kitchen and ensuring high standards of efficiency, effectiveness, quality and attention to detail.>>

We wish to thank General Manager Veronica Revel Chion for consenting to this interview, which has provided some interesting issues that we will go into further in the next articles on our blog. 

In the meantime, we hope to be able to pay a visit, in view of the imminent re-opening of the Courmayeur Grand Hotel Royal & Golf.

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