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Food & beverage Food & beverage


in the kitchen


The past few years have been diffi cult for hotels, and arguably even worse for their kitchens. Without guests in dining rooms and even fewer ordering room service, the tight margins that hotel F&B had long relied on have shrunk. But with the pandemic closing in, hotel owners have at least been forced to think creatively, offering empty facilities to third parties. Andrea Valentino talks to Richie Karaburun, a professor in hospitality at NYU, and Fred DeMicco, a professor at Northern Arizona university, to understand the allure of ghost kitchens in the time of Covid-19, how outsourcing hospitality can be good for both hotels and their guests, and how the ghost kitchen phenomenon seems likely to continue even as the current crisis subsides.


A 56


hundred years ago, when New York last faced down a deadly pandemic, separating the city’s hotels from the city’s restaurants would have felt impossible. This was an age of high- flown extravagance and something as inconsequential as the Spanish Flu couldn’t possibly get in the way. So, even as public health officials battled to keep cases down, and 20,000 New Yorkers died during the outbreak, the city’s grand hotel restaurants continued to welcome guests with velvet gloves outstretched. Typical is the menu at the Hotel Astor, just off Times Square, which in 1920 offered everything from Cape


Cod oysters to mushroom velouté served with celery – even as New York was stumbling through its fourth wave of influenza.


Over the following century, hotel restaurants, and the kitchens that inevitably accompanied them, have burrowed deep into the marrow of global hospitality. According to an industry expert, serious hotel restaurants can make up to 20% of the property’s total profits, although invariably that figure depends on the place in question. More than dollars and cents, however, hotel restaurants have become institutions; names


Hotel Management International / www.hmi-online.com


Volodymyr Goinyk/Shutterstock.com


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