“We’ve been talking about what we want to do differently. What do we want to do to make sure we stand outside the box to compete with not only hotel restaurants but also independent restaurants?” says Garron Gore, director of restaurant and bar development. “Because at the end of the day, everyone has to make a choice of hotel, whether it’s independent or non-independent. So it’s taking our likeminded approach to food and beverage [and] looking to create a profitable business around one of the hottest trendsetting restaurants.”
A small, but mighty team of eight, Davidson Restaurant Group includes specialists for every key component to a great restaurant: concept development, corporate executive chef, operations and execution, catering and banquets, analytics, and three field-facing reps. Unlike most hotel management operations, Davidson’s food-and-beverage department is highly specialized, eschewing the carbon copy approach to dining that becomes the default for some hotel groups.
Even though the group is technically a third-party management company, it values building concepts from the ground up. Taking that approach a step further, Davidson customizes its restaurants to fit the surroundings. “Food and beverage is really a street-corner business,” Geshay says. “Even in the same city, there isn’t just one food-and-beverage solution that works for everybody.”
Davidson’s first goal was to rethink the distinction between a typical hotel restaurant and a destination restaurant. In the foodie age, on-property restaurants can no longer count on hotel guests as a given.