In February 2018, Mr. Amir Nahai, CEO Food and Beverage for AccorHotels, put down a challenge for Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) students: create an innovative future food and beverage experience for two of Accor’s new luxury properties.
As part of Dr. Marc Stierand’s Creating the Food Service of the Future course at EHL, five teams of students competed to develop creative food and beverage concepts for Accor properties that will be opening in Paris and London. Mr. Nahai set the stage with Accor’s Food and Beverage strategy and challenged the teams to create highly memorable F&B experience in the properties.
Two teams focused on the Paris property, which will be the SO! Hotel located on the Champs-Elysees.
One team developed a concept around the avant-garde, as Paris was at the forefront of the French movement. The team recommended a more experimental experience including a food lab, a bubble waffles restaurant and a ‘No’ bar concept – a space where drinks are available but it’s not a real bar.
The second team introduced a solution based on contrasts, for example, a black and white visual theme, or several sensory experiences in which the guests become part of the contrast and experience.
The other three teams generated concepts for the London property, which will be a Raffles hotel in the former Old War Office building.
One team’s theme centered on the Thames River – with all its deep history and connection to London – by weaving the river theme throughout the hotel’s food and beverage experience.
A second team created a concept based on United People, United Cultures, which played on the rich, positive, multicultural traditions in the United Kingdom.
The third, and winning team’s theme was based on Timelessness: think classics like Chanel couture, a vintage Aston Martin car, or a fine Armani suit. They also played off the idea of Timelessness in terms of losing sense of time, or being so engrossed in your experience at the hotel that you forget about time altogether.
Throughout the course, students worked to debate, develop and refine their concepts. An interim presentation to a team of judges served as a midway checkpoint on progress and methodology. Final Hollywood-style, multimedia presentations were delivered at the end of March for final judging, including with Mr. Nahai.
Mr. Nahai was very impressed with the thought, energy and dedication the EHL teams exhibited while working on the challenge. He remarked:
I was very interested in watching their thought processes to see how the students think critically to develop concepts and solve real business challenges. The multicultural makeup of the teams also led to richer and more dynamic solutions.