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Published since 1976

Vol 38 November 2013

GET WITH THE PROGRAMME Loyalty's shifting landscape
Hong Kong SAR HK$50 China RMB50 Singapore S$15 Malaysia RM30 Thailand Bt300 Rest of Asia US$10

DESTINATION HONG KONG Changing times for Asia's tourism success story

WORTH THEIR WEIGHT IN GOLD The enduring appeal of truffles and caviar

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elcome to the November issue of AHCT, the most trusted source of information on what is happening in Asia-Pacific’s hospitality industry. As has often been observed, in this magazine and elsewhere, we are fortunate to be living and doing business in Asia. While much of the world still struggles to free itself from years of negative growth, the attitude in this region is generally one of cautious optimism. We see evidence of this not only in the constant hotel and restaurant openings but in the growing appetite for the best the west

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has to offer – at any price. Our features on caviar and truffles in this issue are a case in point. These luxury products are growing in popularity here, appearing not only on the menus of western restaurants but increasingly, high-end Asian ones as well. Our report on the thriving coffee machine industry and growing levels of whisky consumption here provides further indication of how western food and drink culture is spreading throughout the region. Also in this issue – loyalty programmes, furniture design, property management systems and more.

Finally, a reminder that we have relaunched our website, which is at www.asianhotelandcateringtimes.com Please check it out and let us know what you think. We need to hear from hospitality professionals about the constant developments in the industry, good or bad, so please send your comments and suggestions in to: daniel@thomsonpress.com.hk

ENDORSEMENTS
EDITOR Daniel Creffield Design BY Koon Ming Tang production@thomsonpress.com.hk ContriBUtors Zara Horner Don Gasper Rebecca Lo Robin Lynam Michael Taylor Associate PUBlisher Sharon Knowler sharon@thomsonpress.com.hk CircUlation EXecUtiVe Becky Chau enquiries@thomsonpress.com.hk Chairman JS Uberoi Director Gaurav Kumar
Hong Kong Hotels Association Hong Kong Chefs Association Federation Of Hong Kong Restaurant Owners Baking Industry Training Centre The Federation Of Hong Kong Hotel Owners Association Of Thailand

Association Of International Hoteliers Shanghai

Singapore Chefs Association

Hong Kong Bakery & Confectionery Association

Hong Kong Maitre D’hotel Association

Singapore Hotel Association

Hong Kong Bartenders Association

Shanghai Chefs Association

Myanmar Chefs Association

Malaysian Association Of Hotels

Macau Hotel Association

Club managers Association Hong Kong

Asian Hotel & Catering Times is published monthly by Thomson Press Hong Kong Ltd (TPHK) The opinions expressed in Asian Hotel & Catering Times do not necessarily represent the views of the publisher or the publication. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of information contained in this publication, no responsibility can be accepted by the publisher, editors and staff, agents and contributors for omissions, typographical or printers errors, inaccuracies or changes howsoever caused. The editors reserve the right to edit any material submitted at their discretion. All materials published remain the property of TPHK. Reproduction without permission by any means is strictly prohibited. Correspondence should be addressed to The Editor, Asian Hotel & Catering Times, Room 1205-6, 12/F, Hollywood Centre, 233 Hollywood Road, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong. Tel: (852) 2815 9111 Fax: (852) 2851 1933. Fantasy Printing Ltd. 1/F, Tin Fung Industial Mansion, 63 Wong Chuk Hang Road, Hong Kong. All rights reserved (c) 2013 Thomson Press Hong Kong Ltd

The new patented technology for controlling and profiling the brewing temperature
The Xcelsius system enables the temperature of the brew water to be set dynamically, with an increase or decrease of up to 5°C (9°F) during the 25-30 seconds it takes for each individual delivery. This technology brings out distinctive flavor characteristics of each blend or single origin. Qualified by World Coffee Events WCE 2011.

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CONTENTS
V o l u m e 3 8 November 2013

MANAGEMENT 12 Strategies for loyalty MARKET REPORT 14 Hong Kong still flying high

FOOD 28 Buried treasure 30 Small but perfectly formed DRINK 32 Liquid gold EQUIPMENT 36 Coffee machines – form and function

Photography by Koon Ming Tang

Fairfield by Marriott Bengaluru

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Not such a wee dram
EVENTS AND EXHIBITIONS 46 Events calendar 47 FHM Reviewed InterView 52 Joseph Chong and Joseph Sampermans of The Peninsula Hotels group 54 APPOINTMENTS Who’s moving where

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NEWS INDUSTRY Marriott openings in India; hotel room prices falling; whisky fans pick next Glenlivet limited edition

PRODUCT 42 Seamless wine experience; glass-fronted appliances; cloud-managed wi-fi CULINARY 44 Hardys wine goes upmarket; halal boost in Hong Kong; single-serve apple sauce

New-look Asian Hotel & Catering Times website!

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TECHNOLOGY 18 Identifying the PMS trends DESIGN 22 Fabulous furnishings
December • Education/training • Point of sale • Resorts • Desserts • Foie gras • Champagne • Dishwashers • Lighting January • Sales & Marketing • PMS • Guest room design • Meat • Vodka • Luxury linens • Carpets
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Courtyard celebrates anniversary
Upper moderate hotel brand Courtyard recently marked its 30th anniversary with festive celebrations in Atlanta, Berlin, Doha, Hong Kong and Mexico. With nearly 1,000 hotels, the brand employs more than 30,000 employees in 38 countries. Courtyard has the largest number of properties in the Marriott International hotel group. “Launching the Courtyard brand was our biggest risk and also our biggest reward,” said Bill Marriott, Marriott International’s executive chairman and chairman of the board. “I’m so proud of what Courtyard has become and where it is taking our industry.” Courtyard attributes its continued growth and success to its understanding

JW’s Indian expansion
JW Marriott Hotels & Resorts has announced the launch of its first hotel in Bengaluru, Rajajinagar. It joins existing Indian properties in Chandigarh, Mumbai, and Pune as well as two soon to open JW Marriott hotels in New Delhi. The five-star property has 297 rooms and suites, six F&B outlets, 10,500 square feet of meeting space and a spa with six treatment rooms. “Our operations in Bangalore are an integral part of our growth strategy and we hope to set a benchmark of excellence in service with the JW Marriott Bengaluru,” said Rajeev Menon, area vice president – South Asia for Marriott International.

Whisky fans take part in Glenlivet legacy
Hong Kong Guardians of Scotland’s iconic whisky The Glenlivet participated in the first global road show of tastings and evaluations to help determine the brand’s next flag-bearing limited edition. All 130,000 members of The Glenlivet Guardians, a worldwide community of enthusiastic followers of The Glenlivet and its traditions, are taking part in the event, which was launched in 2006. Among those invited to participate were 500 local Guardians of the community’s Hong Kong chapter, which was founded last year. They agreed upon three unreleased expressions of the whisky. Hong Kong was the second stop of the global tasting event, which will span 18 countries. “The global tasting represents a unique opportunity for passionate fans of The Glenlivet to become part of the brand’s heritage and modern history,” said international brand ambassador Ian Logan. “The events actively involve our most dedicated followers in determining our next, much anticipated limited edition.”

Anantara scoops awards
Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas won several awards at World Travel Awards Asia & Australasia, which took place in Dubai on October 1. Anantara Lawana Resort & Spa Samui was named Asia’s most romantic resort. Situated at the northern end of Chaweng Beach in Koh Samui, Thailand, the resort has 122 guest rooms and pool villas. Set amid 14 acres of landscaped gardens and lagoons, Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa was named Asia’s leading green resort. Resembling an ancient Thai village, the resort has 187 guest rooms and suites. Located in the heart of the Thai capital, Anantara Bangkok Sathorn was named Thailand’s leading lifestyle hotel. It has 310 guest rooms and suites, each offering separate living and entertainment areas as well as balconies. William E. Heinecke, chairman and chief executive of the Minor Hotel Group, Anantara’s parent company, was named Asia’s leading travel personality. The awards ceremony was attended by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum and hosted by Anantara Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa, the most recent addition to the Anantara fold.

of the business traveller. “Thirty years ago, our hotels catered to guests who were all about work and more work,” Marriott said. “We have innovated steadily to meet our guests’ changing needs and their desire for more options and flexibility during their stay. The response has been significant.” Courtyard recently opened properties in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Mexico City and Aberdeen, Scotland. It plans to open its first hotel in Brazil in 2014 followed by its first hotel in Africa in 2015.

First Cristal champagne restaurant New concept pizzeria in Kowloon
Cafe Deco Pizzeria is the newest addition to the Cafe Deco Group, a leading F&B management company in Hong Kong Located in one of the city’s trendiest shopping malls, the pizzeria features a colourful interior with wooden tabletops, sleek chairs and a newly designed open pizza station housing a wood-burning oven. The menu runs from pizzas, pastas and calzones to salads, appetizers, shareable mains, grilled steaks, and hickory BBQ baby pork ribs. The innovative dessert menu features such unexpected choices as rocky road calzone and a hazelnut, strawberry and banana pizza. Le Dôme de Cristal is the Ambrosia Cuisines Group’s latest addition to Hong Kong’s dining out scene. Designed by Hong Kong-based architect and interior designer Steve Leung, the domeshaped eatery is a collaborative effort between Ambrosia and Louis Roederer’s Cristal Champagne, one of the last family-owned champagne houses in France. It is the world’s first Cristal branded champagne bar and restaurant. Le Dôme de Cristal occupies an almost 10,000 square foot space. There is a main dining area for meals and an oyster and champagne bar for cocktails and tapas. An outdoor terrace offers alfresco dining.

Thai group targets China
The Thai-based Onyx Hospitality Group has announced a number of new hotel signings for 2014 and beyond, ensuring that its target to become one of Asia’s leading hospitality providers by 2018 will be surpassed ahead of schedule. Onyx currently operates 32 properties with an inventory of more than 6,000 rooms across four diverse yet complementary hospitality brands. By the end of 2013, the group will have 35 operational properties with an additional 19 contracts signed for the future. “I am very excited by our expansion in China, further cementing Onyx’s position in this crucial market,” said president and CEO Peter Henley. The group sees “huge potential” in Sri Lanka, where it has three projects underway, the first of which will open later this year in Colombo. “We have also signed two new properties in Malaysia,” Henley said. “As a Thai company, having a presence in one of our closest neighbouring countries has always been a priority for us.”

SG green hotel gets HICAP nod
Singapore’s Parkroyal on Pickering won the Reggie Shiu Development of the Year award, which was announced at the 24th annual Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific (HICAP) in Hong Kong. Owned and operated by Pan Pacific Hotels Group, the 363-room property was built at a cost of US$280 million and opened in January 2013. It was designed by WOHA Architects. Design features include 15,000 square metres of ‘sky gardens’, which mix reflective pools, waterfalls

and planters with vertical greenery to incorporate an array of sustainable design features. Solar power, rain harvesting and other conservation and recycling systems have been incorporated into the design. The winner of HICAP’s Single Asset Transaction of the Year Award was Australia’s Four Seasons Sydney. In August 2013, the Korean funds manager, Mirae Asset Global Investments, made its first move into the Australian hotel market with the purchase of the Four Seasons Hotel Sydney at a record Australian price of A$340 million, or A$640,000 per key. The seller, Eureka Funds Management, succeeded in working with Four Seasons to double operating profits since acquiring the asset in 2009 and in crystalising strong returns on it.

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Hotel group fortifies Asian pledge
London-based Maybourne Hotel Group is continuing to strengthen its commitment to brand building in Asia with a number of initiatives aimed at appealing to the region’s fast-growing high-end traveller. Maybourne is supporting London’s stepped-up campaign to attract a larger slice of the growing Asian travel market with initiatives such as the ‘London Luxury Quarter’, which promotes the city as the world’s shopping, cultural and entertainment capital. Maybourne is counting on its British heritage – with two of London’s most prominent historic hotels, Claridge’s and The Connaught, and its image at the hub of what is hot and happening – to appeal to discerning Asian travellers, which are increasingly seeking to buy into the British lifestyle. “The Greater China and Asia market is increasing in influence with exponential growth potential for London,” says

Raffles expands into Shenzhen
Singapore-based Raffles Hotels & Resorts has announced the addition of a new hotel in Shenzhen, China, a special economic zone that borders Hong Kong. Scheduled to open in 2018, it will occupy the top floors of an 80-storey tower in the One Shenzhen Bay development. Developed by Parkland Real Estate Development Co. Ltd, One Shenzhen Bay will have a gross floor area of approximately 470,000 square metres and include office space, luxury residences, high-end commercial space and a 338-metre tall signature tower that will house Raffles Shenzhen. “Shenzhen has been at the forefront of China’s phenomenal growth, and innovative developments such as One Shenzhen Bay will ensure the city continues to play a leading role in international trade, shipping, tourism and finance,” said Peter French, president, Raffles Hotels & Resorts. “With Raffles properties located in the key Chinese destinations of Beijing, Hainan and soon Shenzhen, I am very excited about our luxury hotel brand’s growing presence in China and see additional opportunities for future growth in the country.”

Holidays prove a weighty issue in the Lion City
Singaporean travellers suffering from post-holiday blues may return from their holiday trips with more than just a heavy heart. The average weight gain by Singaporean travellers after holidays is 1.2kg. According to research conducted by The Westin Singapore, more than 70% of respondents consumed more food than usual while travelling and nearly eight in 10 put on weight when travelling. Assuming that a typical Singaporean holidaymaker travels overseas twice a year, the average weight gain would be 2.4kg a year, equal to a combined national holiday weight gain of 12.7 million kilos. While close to two-thirds of the survey participants enjoy a regular exercise routine, 96% of them admitted they had failed to keep up their usual regimes while travelling. Younger travellers – aged between 18 and 25 – were more inclined to maintain their fitness while travelling, with 10% reporting discipline, compared to the average of 4% across all ages. “It’s easy to let our health habits slip when we are away travelling for work or leisure,” said Lance J. Ourednik, general manager of The Westin Singapore. “However, staying away from home doesn’t have to mean abandoning a healthy lifestyle.”

Charity run raises US$11,000
Following the success of the first Sheraton 3K Kuta Beach Fun Run, Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort – together with UNICEF – held another fun run, with 750 runners, walkers and supporters taking part. Participants were also invited to savour Kuta’s longest pizza, which was specially prepared by the resort’s culinary team. The more than US$11,000 raised will be donated to help children in need through UNICEF’s Check Out for Children Challenge. “It is truly an honour for us to see the smiles on all the runners’ faces,” said Dario Orsini, GM of Sheraton Bali Kuta Resort. “All of the participants’ and supporters’ enthusiasm was inspiring, and we are proud to be associated with such an important cause that lends aid to vulnerable children around the world.”

Maybourne Hotel Group CEO Stephen Alden. “As luxury hotels synonymous with British heritage and incomparable standards of services and innovation, we are keen to show our commitment to ensuring guests from this important region enjoy seamless and truly exceptional experiences.”

Equipment provider opens new showroom
Leading hospitality provider Equip Asia Ltd has opened a new showroom in Hong Kong’s Kwun Tong district. A wide selection of tabletops, bedroom and table linens, spa equipment and IT management solutions targeted at five-star hotels in Greater China are showcased. Featured brands include Stölzle of Germany for lead-free crystalline, Sambonet of Italy for flatware and hollowware, Britain’s Robert Welch for stainless steel flatware, Rivolta Carmignani of Italy for high-end linens, Northern Feather Canada for duvets and pillows, Winitex of Malaysia for napkin and table linens and many others.

Swire Hotels launches restaurant
Hong Kong-based Swire Hotels is launching its first stand-alone restaurant in one of the city’s most popular shopping malls. Plat du Jour restaurant serves regional French cuisine, with daily changing specials. Seating 60, it is open for lunch and dinner. In adherence to Swire’s commitment to sustainable dining, the restaurant sources as much food as possible from sustainable sources, using quality local ingredients whenever possible. Hong Kong design practice Zangellini & Holt Associates designed the interior, giving a modern twist to traditional Parisian style.

Asian hotel prices drop sharply
The average price of hotel rooms in Asia-Pacific dropped in the first six months of 2013, a Hotels.com Hotel Price Index (HPI) survey revealed. “Following a period of rapid expansion in the hotel sector, growth in hotel room rates halted, partly because of the slowdown in the region’s previously booming economies (China, India and Australia) and because of instability in some currencies, such as the Japanese yen and Indian rupee,” said Johan Svanstrom, vice president of Hotels.com APAC. Hotel rates paid by Hong Kong travellers staying at hotels in Langkawi, Malaysia, for example, dropped 22% to an average of HK$1,119 (US$144). The HPI in Seoul, South Korea, also slumped 19% to HK$957 while the HPI in Hanoi, Vietnam, toppled 11% to an average of HK$704 per night. The rise in the number of Chinese travellers continued to impact the region more than any other and this, coupled with the rise in the number of low-cost carriers and new routes, helped to stimulate regional demand. The region continued to offer excellent value, with 20 Asian cities featuring in a tally of the lowest average room rates across the globe.

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Iconic concept arrives
Yotel will bring its revolutionary hotel concept to Singapore with a 600-cabin property on fashionable Orchard Road. The hotel is due to open in 2018. It will act as a springboard into Asia for Yotel, following the opening of its 669-cabin hotel in New York City’s Times Square. YO! founder Simon Woodroffe and Yotel CEO Gerard Greene conceived of the cabin concept to provide a flexible

and convenient ‘first class’ hotel experience at affordable prices. It was inspired by first class airline cabins. “Given Yotel is heavily inspired by Asian culture, it is fantastic that we are launching such an iconic project as our first project in Asia,” Greene said. “The location is one of the best in Singapore and we have fantastic partners in the Hong Fok Group, which shares our vision. Yotel will bring a unique hotel experience to Singapore. It’s a perfect time for the city to embrace a new and exciting brand, a first for Singapore and the launch of affordable luxury for the hotel scene in Asia.”

Hotel guests care more about coffee than sex
Le Méridien Hotels & Resorts has revealed the results of a newly commissioned survey on global coffee and travel habits as the Paris-based brand begins to roll out master baristas at its hotels and resorts worldwide. The Le Méridien survey found that coffee surpassed sex as the ideal wake-up call according to more than half (53%) of the global respondents. The study also established that coffee drinkers were addicted to the morning ritual as 54% of respondents made their morning brew at home, and an overwhelming 78% would rather give up alcohol, social media or sex with their spouse for a year than forfeit coffee. The global study revealed how today’s ‘mega travellers’ get their caffeine fix. While travel usually provides a break from the daily routine, the survey showed that coffee remained an on-thego necessity as, on average, people drank more coffee when they were away from home.

Grand ballroom gets major overhaul
Grand Hyatt Hong Kong has completely refurbished its grand ballroom, which was originally launched more than 20 years ago. The design by BLD Studio incorporates sliding doors that can be opened to connect the ballroom with nearby rooms providing additional space to accommodate larger functions. The 730 square metre pillar-free grand ballroom has a built-in stage and a full LED wall, which can be manned from a dedicated control room on the ground level. “We are excited to announce the re-opening of the grand ballroom with even more dramatic flair,” says Philip Yu, GM of Grand Hyatt Hong Kong.

Starwood to open 20 China hotels
Starwood Hotels & Resorts has announced its most significant Chinese expansion ever with the opening 20 new hotels under the Sheraton, St. Regis, The Luxury Collection, W, Westin, Le Méridien, Four Points by Sheraton, Aloft, and Element brands. The current portfolio of 121 hotels, with over 100 more in the pipeline, will make it by far the country’s largest international hospitality provider and a leading player in the MICE industry. China has become Starwood’s second largest

MICE market outside the US. Starwood is planning to expand into dozens of China’s second and third-tier cities – extending its reach beyond the traditional key markets of Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou. The Westin Haikou and Westin Sanya, Sheraton Sanya Haitang Bay, and The Luxury Collection’s first resort in China, The Royal Begonia Sanya, will be launched on the southern tropical island of Hainan. Starwood brands will also be extended into Dalian, with two new hotels, along with Taizhou, Yixing, Qinhuangdao, Shenyang, Zhengzhou, Huizhou, Qingdao, Shaoxing, Chongqing, Bijie, Langfang and Shantou.

Coffee traditions and flavours from around the world were so distinct that a majority of seasoned jetsetters (53%) claimed to have experienced nostalgia for a destination because of a cup of coffee they enjoyed while travelling. “Coffee continues to be an increasingly important part of the travel experience, and to develop high impact programming for our guests, it was important that we had an understanding of global coffee trends,” said Brian Povinelli, global brand leader, Le Méridien and Westin. “The new Le Méridien master barista programme, derived from key findings from our study, will further bring to life a quintessential European cafe and breakfast culture to Le Méridien hotels and resorts around the world.” Under the new programme, a dedicated coffee expert will be deployed at all of its hotels by year’s end. Baristas will have a technical skill set required beyond making basic coffee beverages and undergo an intensive training programme, designed by Le Méridien and its global coffee partner, illy. Le Méridien master baristas will oversee coffee-related initiatives at each hotel as well as serving as coffee cultural ambassadors, keeping abreast of current coffee trends and raising the local community’s awareness of coffee.

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Hotel loyalty management specialist TouchPoint Loyalty works with operators including Four Seasons, Sheraton, InterContinental, Le Meridien, W, St Regis and Miramar Group

Programming in loyalty
Today’s web and social media tie-ins make connecting with existing and potential customers easier than ever. Zara Horner finds out what the latest loyalty strategies are to attract and retain guests

While technology plays a critical role, it’s important not to over-automate the process and a healthy balance of people and technology is always the best approach, says Connxion Rewards’ Jason White. Recent Connxion projects have included mobile capabilities and e-commerce functionality

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ospitality groups use a variety of methods to secure guests’ continuing custom. And while loyalty programmes are hardly new – US groups started offering them as far back as the 1950s, and their basic premise remains the same – technological advances mean they are very different today. Working with properties including Four Seasons, Sheraton, InterContinental, Le Meridien, W, St Regis and Miramar Group, TouchPoint Loyalty is a specialist in hotel loyalty management. Managing director Matthew Arnold says that technology plays an ever-increasing role in the management of customer loyalty. “It allows us to keep a finger firmly on the pulse of the ways cardholders move and spend, and allows us to reward them in a structured and ‘surprise and delight’ capacity.” Technology also allows seamless – and importantly, relevant – communication, says Arnold. “Social media plays an increasing role in building relationships with customers,” he continues. “Common platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and TripAdvisor provide an effective, low cost channel to keep customers in the loop with what’s hot. “They also provide customers with a direct communication channel with management – and of course in full view of the wider community.”

It’s a point Jason White, general manager at Connxion Rewards expands upon. “There is no question that technology and social media have prompted a shift in the way that businesses and consumers connect with each other. In particular, how they access and rate products and services, and how they share their experiences. “As a result, brands are putting greater importance on strategies that differentiate and create positive customer touch points. Loyalty programmes are seen as a valuable component in managing customer retention, and as an effective way to promote brand advocacy.” At Connxion Rewards, marketing and distribution, and customer and programme intelligence are key areas where social media takes effect. “One distinct advantage for marketers today is the availability of fast and efficient online distribution tools,” White says. “Digital platforms are being used to identify and reach new audiences. As a result, we see loyalty programmes taking a broader marketing role to attract new customers as compared to the traditional function of rewarding or valuing existing customers.” These channels are literally forcing marketers to keep pace. “A cross-platform digital presence has quickly become the standard for anybody who wants to successfully market a brand,” says White.

And digital channels may be paired with additional capabilities such as mobile app functionality; push marketing; locationbased services; transactional, e-commerce or point of sale programmes; guest frequency or repeat purchase; and rewards, recognition and gifting. “These have all improved the reach and immediacy of customer loyalty and retention programmes in the last few years,” White says.

Know your customer

Another key development which has shaped the way the industry approaches loyalty is the availability of customer analytics and insight tools. “Marketers can gain market and customer insight from a variety of platforms and can use segmentation and preference data to optimise promotional activities and enhance customer engagement,” says White. “Social chatter can be an extremely valuable advertising tool. Of course, poor brand experiences or product issues move just as quickly via this channel, which has prompted a change in the way a lot of brands handle service recovery and manage customer experience.” Conversely, market saturation can have an adverse effect on loyalty. “For today’s customer, choice is abundant, and in key Asian markets immediate returns and up-front discounts have become the main currency of the

standard loyalty programme,” White points out. “For this reason it can be challenging for brands who are trying to take a longer view with loyalty programme offers. “Confusing objectives such as discount cards versus loyalty programmes have become a common issue, and this can lead to a disconnect between the brand and the customer.” TouchPoint’s Arnold says that across Asia, customers are spoiled for choice when it comes to F&B offers through web-based and social media channels. “Early adopters to social media as a marketing tool certainly enjoyed an advantage; it’s a much more crowded landscape now. And because social media is real-time, 24 hours is now an eternity. It’s prudent for companies with loyalty programmes to be very much switched onto the social media scene, not only to capitalise on the reach they offer, but to ensure an almost real-time approach to engaging member and customer communications.”

A healthy balance of people and technology is always the best approach.” Presenting opportunities to target non-brand associated customers and the potential to extend an existing customer base is one of the greatest advantages of these technological leaps, White thinks. “Connxion’s success has been, in part, due to investment in proprietary systems, and the technical ability to provide multi

channel programmes,” he says. Recent Connxion projects have included mobile capabilities and e-commerce functionality, together with the company’s standard web platform. “Product and product value can often come before brand now,” White says. “It is important to know what your competitors are doing, and expect your customers do as well.”

A strategy for success
Jason White of Connxion Rewards offers advice on establishing an effective loyalty programme • Map promotional channels up front and decide where a programme fits into that strategy • For higher take-up and retention, communicate offers to exclusive segments • Avoid occasions where loyalty programme customers have restrictions – even a nominal discount or amenity goes a long way to preserving programme integrity • Good training – make sure your programme is advertised internally and everybody has basic product knowledge, and is trained to recognise loyalty programme customers • Early activation is key. Use a substantial leader offer. If enrolling a customer at POS ensure there is a repeat purchase offer • Leverage technology to assist enrollment and customer data collection • Improve ROI and longevity from tactical promotions and tie-ups (credit cards, airlines, booking engines etc) • Automate recognition and system events so they are not left to chance • Communicate frequently with your database. Don’t forget the telephone – a personal phone call can make a good impression • Although discount is king, try to balance transactional and emotional benefits to help differentiate your programme • Use CRM and database analytics to identify database opportunities. Beware of directional activities which are only offered to frequent and high value guests, especially in large volume programmes. Directing attention at low spend (RFM) can bring a far greater result and also help identify product and service issues • Get first-hand experience. Enrol in your programme and your competitions’

Make it personal

In such a competitive and fast moving marketplace, attracting and retaining guests is about differentiation. “Like any good business strategy, a healthy loyalty strategy should be built on providing a strong sense of differentiation,” Arnold says. “Understanding your competitive set, and offering your customers a greater sense of engagement, personalised rewards and offers relevant to member interests goes a long way to keeping your customers inside the circle. “Technology plays a critical role in this regard, but as technology evolves, it’s important not to over-automate the process.

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InterContinental Hong Kong, IHG’s flagship property in Asia-Pacific, was acquired by IHG in 2001

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The Lawn at The Upper House Hong Kong

Balancing
Weak demand for Hong Kong hotel rooms from Japan is being offset by strong growth in the number of visitors from mainland China, writes Michael Taylor
fter several years of expansive growth, the number of hotel rooms in Hong Kong grew by a comparatively modest 6.8% to 72,000 rooms across 243 hotels in 2013, the Hong Kong Tourism Board reported recently. “With overall hotel RevPAR [revenue per available room] relatively flat this year across the first nine months, the market has been able to absorb recent supply, though this is slowing, and average rates have softened this year,” says Shaun Campbell, general manager, Langham Place, Mongkok, Hong Kong. “Having said that, Hong Kong is still a robust global hospitality market, with a diverse mix of source markets and hotel offerings – including all the major international brands.” The ongoing dispute between China and Japan over what the Chinese call the Diaoyu Islands and the Japanese the

There is a growing segment of discerning travellers looking for luxury and a departure from what they have become used to at other five-star hotels says Swire Hotels’ director of operations – Hong Kong and China projects, Dean Winter

Shaun Campbell, GM, Langham Place, Mongkok, Hong Kong – average rates have softened this year

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Langham Place, Mongkok, Hong Kong

Senkaku Islands has made a dent in the number of arrivals from the Land of the Rising Sun, traditionally one of Hong Kong’s strongest markets. The decrease in the number of Japanese travellers, however, has been offset by an increasing number of travellers from mainland China, which has been growing at more than 20% per year. Mainland Chinese now account for nearly 75% of overnight visitors. The US, Australia, Britain, and Singapore fill out Hong Kong’s top five markets. “Japan has experienced the largest decline in the last two years, though we have seen less drop off [at our hotel] than the overall decline into Hong Kong,” Campbell says. “In fact, our overall business mix has been quite stable, and reductions in Japanese business have been offset by increases from South-east Asia and some recovery in our US business.”

Hong Kong is still a robust global hospitality market, with a diverse mix of source markets and hotel offerings – including all the major international brands Shaun Campbell, general manager, Langham Place, Mongkok, Hong Kong
www.asianhotelandcateringtimes.com

Marita Marcos, director of sales & marketing at the InterContinental Hong Kong –the US remains a key market, along with Japan ... followed by UK/Europe and the rest of Asia

Further afield

Looking forward, Campbell expects to see an increase in business from other “nontraditional” source markets. “Increases in arrivals from emerging markets such as Russia, Thailand and the Middle East, combined with the new international passenger cruise terminal [which opened in June], provide the opportunity for hotel RevPAR to return to growth next year,” Campbell says. “Growth from emerging markets and cruise business will also bring additional international business to complement the typically shorter stay of the China market.” An interesting new development is an increase in the number of extended families visiting the city. The hotel has had to expand its room offerings in order to accommodate a growing number of requests for rooms sleeping three to four people. “These are good spending customers

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with a typically longer length of stay (a minimum of four nights) and good repeat business potential (two or more visits per year),” Campbell says. Marita Marcos, director of sales & marketing at the InterContinental Hong Kong, agrees that tensions between China and Japan have resulted in a decline in the number of Japanese visitors to the city, adding that the devaluation of the yen was another key factor. But there were hopeful signs that business might be starting to pick up again. “ Thankfully we have seen this rebounding somewhat in the final quarter of this year,” Marcos says, adding that the number of guests from mainland China continues to rise. “The US remains a key market for our hotel, along with Japan. These areas are followed by UK/Europe and the rest of Asia.” The hotel opened in 1980 as The Regent Hong Kong. It was acquired by IHG in 2001 and turned into its flagship property for Asia-Pacific. “Asian hospitality, and in particular Hong Kong hospitality, is renowned to be among the best in the world,” Marcos says. “Hong Kong combines renowned Asian hospitality with the city’s acclaimed efficiency and high standards. As such, Hong Kong is home to many of the world’s top hotels.”

New technology leads the way at The Mira
Long priding itself as a leader in technological innovation, The Mira Hong Kong has launched a new website that loads faster and is more intuitive. It integrates fully with an online booking engine, offering hotel guests “a seamless reservation experience”. It can be used on most platforms including Apple, Windows and Android. “While the number of devices, platforms and browsers grows continuously, we aimed for website design that automatically delivers a quality experience to all users no matter how large or small their display,” says Gerhard Aicher, general manager of The Mira Hong Kong. G u e s t s c a n n a v i g a t e t h ro u g h Gerhard Aicher – GM, The Mira Hong Kong accommodation choices, meeting facilities, the spa, and food and beverage outlets, comparing rooms and packages and making reservations with just a few clicks of the mouse. “The new website promises some enticing advances in the realm of online booking experience,” says Frank Foster, vice president, revenue strategy & optimization, hotels & serviced apartments, Miramar Hotel and Investment. “Not only are we now better positioned to meet demand in the market while breaking the misconception that best offers are available on third-party platforms, it is also an important part of the strategy of converting and generating more organic online bookings.” The Mira was also the first hotel in Asia-Pacific to offer complimentary data and international connectivity to all hotel guests by way of smartphones. Launched earlier this year, the service includes unlimited local and international phone calls, a city guide, and 3G data and wi-fi tethering capabilities. It has been available in all hotel rooms since August 1, 2013. Formerly known as the Miramar Hotel, the property underwent a US$65 million renovation, reopening as The Mira Hong Kong in 2009. The number of rooms was reduced to 492. There are six food and beverage outlets.

Authentic f lavor. Inspired.

Targeting the fashionistas

The Upper House, which opened in 2009, has a clearly defined niche, targeting young entrepreneurs and those involved in creative industries such as art, fashion and design. “We aim to appeal to corporate as well as leisure travellers,” says Dean Winter, director of operations – Hong Kong and China projects, Swire Hotels. “There is a growing segment of discerning travellers who are looking for luxury and a departure from what they have become used to at other five-star hotels.” Running from 730 to 1,942 square feet, rooms at The Upper House are among the largest in Hong Kong, and all have panoramic views. Room rates start at HK$4,500 (US$580) per night. Guests stay an average of two to three nights. “With just 117 rooms, it’s easier to fill the hotel, so we have enjoyed a busy few years since we opened and 2013 has seen us mature in high 80s percentile of occupancy,” Winter says. “We expect this to continue next year.”

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The Mira Hong Kong was the first hotel in Asia-Pacific to offer complimentary data and international connectivity to all hotel guests by way of smartphones
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Rehan Jaddi, Agilysys – investing in mobile solutions that not only improve communications and streamline efficiency throughout a property but also enhance guest service

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Humanising the guest experience
Property Management Systems continue to evolve, refining operations and improving communications and general efficiency. Given increasing interest in investments, which are less intensive in capital expenditure, many believe the focus of PMS is likely to shift increasingly to guest-centred technologies that enhance experience and retention, writes Donald Gasper
or several years the static supply situation in North America and to some extent Europe, the Middle East and Africa has pushed most hotel brands from these regions to Asia for growth, where they join the dozens of existing brands already on the rise there. And they’ve brought their loyalty programmes and other guest recognition technologies with them. “To compete, both independents and regional brands have to use PMS technology that facilitates guest recognition across stays and across the brand and the personalisation of the experience,” says Bernard Ellis, vice president of industry strategy at Infor Hospitality. So what are the main PMS trends to watch out for? There are three, according to Jeff Edwards, head of global hotel business at Amadeus IT Group: mobile, social media and cloud computing. By next year, more travel transactions will be made via mobile than on personal computers, he says. A ‘consumer-like’ user experience will be expected in business technologies, for example, with the introduction of ‘touch’, and a single view of travel activity across all devices. The implementation of a new PMS usually implies an enormous training burden on hotels to train up staff at each and every hotel to be operational, says Edwards.

Bernard Ellis, Infor Hospitality – cloud-based PMS solutions are an especially good fit for new openings, because the property can be online and capturing bookings while it is still under construction

To compete, both independents and regional brands have to use PMS technology that facilitates guest recognition across stays and across the brand says Jeff Edwards of Amadeus IT Group

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“With today’s intuitive ‘touch’ and mobile technologies, we have the possibility to deliver a consumer-like PMS user experience and drastically reduce the training investment required in getting and maintaining staff up to speed on their PMS.” Agilysys, the British IT and business services provider, is another example of a company that has been developing mobile solutions for hotels. Rehan Jaddi, its vice president of development for enterprise solutions, says it is investing in mobile solutions that not only improve communications and streamline efficiency throughout a property but also enhance guest service. The company recently announced the general availability of Agilysys Insight Mobile Manager, a dashboard application that allows hotel managers to view key information about the property quickly and easily from a mobile device. The application contains panels of strategically organised data, including remaining arrivals and departures, VIPs, total guests, rooms, house status, housekeeping, revenue, groups, group rooms remaining and reservation summary. Users simply tap on each panel to drill down and obtain more detailed information. Turning next to social media, Edwards of Amadeus says that these create opportunities for ‘push’ and ‘pull’ via the PMS. For

example, a property manager could push messages to future guests pre check-in to enhance customer service levels. They could also pull in good testimonials from ‘friended’ or opt-in guests post-checkout. Likewise, managers could choose to receive alerts to which they may want to respond if a particularly positive (or negative) review has been posted on any of the major review or social networking sites. “We are also looking at integrating our platform with social media channels,” says Edwards. “So, for example, guests could book through Facebook, and then get their booking confirmation numbers texted to their mobile. However, these components are currently in prototype phase.”

can be online and capturing bookings while it is still under construction. And they give the option of removing another capex responsibility from the development budget. Jaddi of Agilysys agrees: “Yes, there’s definitely interest among hoteliers in reducing IT capital expenditures. Customers increasingly want cloud delivery of services to save the expense required to install and manage in-house systems.”

Improved integration

Up in the clouds

Cloud computing is the third major trend. Edwards predicts that we will see more hotels realising that they can shift their PMS from being a capital expense (capex) to an operational expense by moving to a Software as a Service model. “For example, why buy an expensive coffee machine that only makes one type of coffee, when you could get the machine for free and buy whatever kind of coffee you want, whenever you want it?” Ellis of Infor Hospitality says that cloudbased PMS solutions are an especially good fit for new openings, because the property

Jaddi says that hoteliers also need intelligent integration solutions to stitch together the technology fabric and embrace industry trends. Improved integration between property management systems and other solutions is critically important. “Adoption of open standards will not only speed the implementation of nextgeneration technology but also will improve the exchange of data across platforms and applications, enabling hotels to leverage it for competitive advantage.” Ellis says investors have heightened expectations of how quickly a new property needs to stabilise into profitability. “Since new hotels typically have low occupancy early on while customers gradually discover the product and respond to marketing efforts to stimulate trial, this means as much ancillary revenue must be squeezed out of each new customer as

possible. PMS solutions need to make it very easy to sell the guest an enhanced experience, from the point of initial booking, all the way through to check-out.” For his part, Jaddi says Agilysys property management systems are designed with both labour efficiencies and the guest experience in mind. As a result, solutions include faster front desk processes, such as reservations and check-in/check-out. Also, the integration between the systems allows for a reduction in labour by reducing the amount of manual entry required to transfer data, he says.

Guest-centred management

Certainly, one of the primary focuses is guest-centred property management. Hotel guests want a highly personalised stay, and guest-centred property management systems enable properties to capitalise on this desire by establishing guest profiles and extracting that information to provide a more customised service. “Both our property management systems include functionality that enhances the guest experience and helps ensure repeat business,” says Jaddi. For example, the Agilysys Lodging Management System property management solution can incorporate modules for activity scheduling, attraction ticketing, online reservations and remote check-in, he says.

It includes several guest-orientated enhancements within its online booking module, such as a suggestive selling functionality, web check-in improvements and an additional special request functionality. The Agilysys Visual One property management system also incorporates a number of guest-centred features, including the possibility for guests to book rooms, spa treatments, tee times and activities with a single itinerary. “In 2014, we’ll introduce our newest property management system, which will include intuitive features that predict guest preferences and make recommendations based on previous patterns and purchasing behaviour,” says the Agilysys vice president. Amadeus has also been looking at ways of developing better customer relationships through the PMS, according to Edwards: “In our new prototype, we’ve built in the capability for pre-arrival dialogue, ‘during stay’ dialogue and pre-checkout dialogue between the property and the guest, which gives the customer and the hotel more chances to communicate with each other.” “This can be used to build up a personal relationship at a time when traditional customer loyalty programmes are struggling against the rise of online comparison sites, which give travellers more price choice.”

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Andre Fu’s firm AFSO has worked with Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Swire Hotels, W Hotels & Resorts and other prestigious clients

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Have a seat

hese are exciting times for hospitality designers. Owners and operators see the benefits of properties that offer bespoke design by star architects and give them more creative latitude than ever before. Consequently, due to excellent craftsmanship and advances in technology, designers can push the envelope and realise concepts previously only imaginable. The trend translates to outstanding furnishings that integrate seamlessly into the overall aesthetic package. Yet designing furniture for hospitality purposes is a different animal altogether. Unlike those for residences, hospitality furnishings are used by a variety of different people, of all heights, weights and proportions, for short and intense bursts of time. Customers all have different goals – in a restaurant, for example, the main point could be lounging, dining, drinking or conversing. Usually, it is a combination of many different activities within the course of an evening. The high traffic and constant wear and tear of hospitality furnishings mean materials must be durable, practical, comfortable and beautiful, with high criteria for safety. Just think of all those open kitchens with flames or establishments where smoking is still allowed, and the upholstery or drapery’s fire retardant rating immediately raises flags. Hospitality furnishings are servants of the design theme for the space. As the pieces are only utilised for a limited amount of time, they can also be much more theatrical. What may quickly become blasé at home can form a lasting impression if part of an overall dining experience. All of these factors have encouraged custom furniture designs rather than specifying off-the-rack products, particularly in Asia. With high quality custom manufacturing in many countries being

At Jing An, Fu had to incorporate three different zones: an open kitchen for its dim sum and noodle bar, a clay pot and local delicacy area and a formal dining area

At Summer Palace in Jing An Shangri-La, Fu used the paintings of peacocks as inspiration for his furniture design

New face, new products and even more commitment to quality.

Designing custom furniture to facilitate a memorable dining experience provides many challenges and rewards for veteran architect Andre Fu, writes Rebecca Lo Photography courtesy AFSO
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At I by Inagiku at W Guangzhou, Fu’s design for the Japanese restaurant was a dreamscape based www.asianhotelandcateringtimes.com on the kabuki theatre story

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are semi-reclining, which means the table heights drop to reduce the gap. The dynamic of the restaurant changes when people are seated differently. Creative spaces allow for different seat heights so that some people can find intimate corners while others can choose to be part of the overall vibe and action.” I by Inagiku at W Guangzhou also opened earlier this year. It is another property that boasts an international roster of celebrity designers including Yabu Pushelberg, Designwilkes and Rocco Yim. Fu’s design for the Japanese restaurant is much more edgy and theatrical than for Summer Palace. “My inspiration was a dreamscape based on the kabuki theatre story,” he elaborates. As with Summer Palace, he broke the restaurant down into various components and gave each its own identity complete with custom furnishings. “It’s about the different moments as you walk through the spaces and how different areas are intertwined and fluid for an organic sequence of spaces.” The mobile above the sushi counter is a fragmentation of a kabuki show, forming a focal point for the main dining area with its series of oval and circular shaped furnishings. Another mobile floats above the sake bar and is balanced with black and white backless bar stools in a similar upholstery pattern for clean, dramatic effect. Traditional Japanese motifs are gently alluded to through plum blossom upholstery and cut-out handles in cabinets. Fu advises that for bistros and cafes where the tendency is for faster turnovers, tables are smaller and gaps between them narrower. “The furniture doesn’t have to encourage people to spend hours conversing, as diners will spend a shorter amount of time there.”
The mobile above the sushi counter at I by Inagiku at W Guangzhou is a fragmentation of a kabuki show, forming a focal point for the main dining area with its series of oval and circular shaped furnishings

Fu used tangerine, olive and aqua shades at Summer Palace in Jing An Shangri-La

quick and affordable, it is the route that makes the most design sense. Hong Kong architect Andre Fu is no stranger to designing memorable spaces and furniture to suit: 95% of his firm AFSO’s projects are hospitality ones. Trained in London, Fu initially worked for minimalist John Pawson before establishing his own firm in 2000 with Stephane Orsolini. Fu has gone from strength to strength as he honed his craft, with significant projects under his belt for Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Swire Hotels, W Hotels & Resorts, Capella Hotels and Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, the latest being a restaurant in London’s Shard for Shangri-La. Another of Fu’s recent projects is Summer Palace in Jing An Shangri-La, the group’s flagship property within greater China which opened in May. The hotel is part of the Kerry Centre and has been 20 years in the making, with star designers including the Atlanta branch of HBA, Avroko, Super Potato and Shigeru Ban. “Summer Palace is an important restaurant because it is in Shangri-La’s flagship hotel,” explains Fu. “It gave me a chance to redefine Shangri-La’s hospitality offerings. The challenge came from how people perceive the brand: Shangri-La’s Chinese restaurants are viewed as formal, traditional, with an almost palatial look and feel.”

Individual ambience

The food concept at Summer Palace has traditionally been Cantonese cuisine; at Jing An, that changed. Instead, Fu had to incorporate three different zones: an open kitchen for its dim sum and noodle bar, a clay pot and local delicacy area and a formal dining area. Each

zone has its own ambience with different furniture requirements, spread across a large 1,400 square metre floor plate with 300 seats. “My concept was that of a journey,” Fu notes. “The noodle bar starts off the journey with a casual vibrancy that is the spirit of Jing An. The clay pot zone is approachable and residential with an open kitchen. And the formal area caters to corporate entertaining. The three areas are contained into chambers, and part of the excitement is arriving and being taken around from one chamber to another. “I tied it all together with patterns and textures, with the original inspiration being Shangri-La’s Chinese paintings and imagery for each property being its own destination. I reinterpreted the spirit of the peacock I saw in the paintings and used its feathers for my palette: tangerine, olive and aqua.” For the informal ambience of the noodle bar, Fu designed a combination of long communal tables and square ones that function without tablecloths. To give the space dignity, he included high back wing chairs with a pull handle on the back to allow for ease of movement by both patrons and wait staff. The additional privacy that the cocoon-like chair provides help instill solo diners with their own little enclave. Other zones contain lower chair backs, some in leather and others with a stylised peacock pattern. A combination of banquets and individual chairs allow for flexibility and create different pockets of spaces throughout the restaurant. “The proportions of the furniture have to work with whether the space is primarily used for dining or lounging,” says Fu. “In lounge seating, the seat heights of chairs drop since people

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Pic: House of Fine Wines

pleasures
Earthly
What is the appeal of the truffle and is the cost justified? Zara Horner finds out

Truffle and truffle products producer and distributor, Plantin, says prices have risen as production has decreased and demand increased (pic: Plantin/iStock)

“The 10-week season is one of the shortest – and most profitable – on the culinary calendar.” Christopher Poron, of truffle and truffle products producer and distributor, Plantin, agrees. “Over the past years the prices have gone up as the production has been decreasing and demand is getting higher. We haven’t seen a good season, and therefore, a good harvest, for at least seven years. “Finally this year we are expecting an amazing season as weather conditions have been close to perfect. We have [had] good rain at the right time. But until the first truffles come out we never know what will happen.” Al Blakers, MD of Manjimup Truffles in Western Australia, the largest producer of perigord truffles in the southern hemisphere, admits that in the past there were price issues. “But this season we had no problems with pricing anywhere in the world, and, as long as we are sensible about pricing, I think going forward it’s not going to be a problem.”

and poured over quality beef are some of the best ways to experience what truffle flavours are all about.” But, he continues, chefs are now creating some “magnificent truffle sauces … I am always amazed by the number of different ways chefs use truffles, but some are brilliant and some not so good.” Blakers’ restaurant clients tell him truffle season increases turnover but not profits. “But I know that chefs with truffle experience can do very well during the season. “A classic example is a Perth marina bistro which added two truffle dishes to the menu and sold out of their week’s supply of beef and risottos in two days when they first tried truffles. They are now one of my best weekly customers.”

Seductive truffles?

Buyers’ market

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he mystique of the truffle, that legendary and hugely expensive fungus which imparts a uniquely rich yet delicate flavour, never seems to wane. Indeed, within this region its popularity is on the rise. But are the sky-high prices justified for today’s more austere bottom line? “The price of truffles is based on quality, size, form, and availability,” explains Jane Ng, business manager from supplier and distributor Multipos Fine Foods. “This week [end October] the white truffle or tuber magnatum pico is US$2,000 per kilo.” Because of weather conditions last year white truffle prices were consistently at US$4,000 or higher per kilo. “The number of truffles harvested each year varies enormously because the fungus has unpredictable growth patterns,” Ng says. “In years of low yield, price tags can double or triple, and even vary a couple of times a week.” Does she think this the cost is justified? “Remember, fresh truffles are extremely rare and available only a couple of months of the year.” Truffles from Alba in Italy are especially prized.

For truffle sauces and oils, Gregoir Cleary, MD, House of Fine Wines, Hong Kong distributor of gourmet foods and luxury wines, says due to the now large number of regional importers, “pricing has definitely gone down”. And for fresh truffles, he says restaurants use seasonality as an excuse for higher prices. Nevertheless, Cleary agrees truffle appeal is on the rise. Partly, he thinks, because of truffles’ unique qualities, and partly because they are becoming more accessible. “Preserved and frozen truffles are becoming much more accepted. Part of the huge expense of fresh truffles is the air freight. But preserved truffles are making transport easier and cheaper and within more limited budgets. In the last two years we have seen the number of truffle brands explode.” Conversely, Blakers believes it is the “limited availability” of fresh truffle which adds to its appeal, as well as “the fantastic culinary results you can achieve. These two things keep truffles at the top of the food chain.” Blakers agrees truffles are becoming more popular in Asia as chefs, and guests, become more experimental. “I think the simpler the better is the secret to using truffles. Just added to mash potatoes or an omelette or made into truffle butter

Ng of Multipos believes there is something “unquestionably exotic and seductive” about the truffle. She admits this reputation is probably anecdotal, but says it has contributed to the truffle’s “singular reputation and timeless intrigue and allure”. The increase in popularity can be attributed to chefs becoming more mobile and international, and to advertising and the internet, Ng says. “The people who buy truffles know how to cook with them – they know food well. Nothing too complicated, nothing that will mask the truffle flavour. “Each variety has a particular aroma, which is suitable for specific culinary uses such as raw, cut into thin strips and sprinkled on cold and hot dishes, or with light sauces or cheese fondue, handmade egg pasta, risotto, raw meat or salads.”

Down on the farm

Another aspect affecting the market is the appearance of Chinese truffle growers. They are producing the tuber indicum, which has a similar appearance but different, and some say inferior, flavour and aroma. “So far nobody’s figured out how to farm the white truffle,” Ng points out. “It is possible to farm black truffles successfully, but they require unique conditions to thrive. These conditions are very difficult to replicate, and many gourmands argue that farmed versions are not

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House of Fine Wines says truffle appeal is on the rise, with preserved and frozen truffles becoming more accepted

Pic: iStock/Plantin

Aromas Truffle supplies truffles sourced from France, Italy, Australia and China

Chef’s delight
Oliver Cortez,
executive chef at Palazzo Versace on Australia’s Gold Coast, attempts to explain truffles’ mystique
“Truffles are the kitchen crème de la crème. There are hundreds of varieties found the world over, but only a handful are highly prized as food, and herein lies part of the appeal. Truffles are a culinary delight for chefs to use as the flavours are very complex. It is an acquired taste, so not everyone takes to truffles, or understands the appeal, but for vegetarians they are useful as truffles are high in protein, calcium, potassium and magnesium, and are low in fat, so they are often referred to as ‘vegetable meat’. “Cooking with delicate truffles is about bringing out the aroma and flavour. My experience shows truffles work perfectly with fatty food as they help bring the fuller flavours out. “I am currently using local Aussie truffles and ones from Europe. I have never used Chinese truffles. Fresh truffles appear mostly on our banquets menu and special occasions. I use truffle oil for mash potatoes and for my hollandaise sauce for the gourmet breakfast.”

a match for their wild counterparts. The black winter truffle season is from January to March.” “They are only worth around US$100 to $200 a kilo,” Blakers says. “But there are unscrupulous truffle dealers who mix them with ‘genuine’ truffles to get better returns.” Cleary doesn’t think the Chinese production will affect the market … yet. “But I expect the same thing to happen as for foie gras. That used in food service is very often from Hungary or Bulgaria, not France. If a restaurant doesn’t say where the truffle is from, then it may be from China or Australia.” Sales and marketing director Pasco Cheng at Aromas Truffle supplies fresh white truffles during the October to December season sourced from France, Italy, Australia and China. He also stocks frozen truffles. While truffles have been eaten in European for about a thousand

years, Cheng says that in Asia they are a recent addition, as they were not considered a foodstuff, but a medicine. “Chinese doctors have used them to cure kidney problems for centuries,” he says. But now Asian chefs are incorporating truffles into their cuisines with great success, Cheng notes. “Chefs are learning how to pick the right truffles and cook with the appropriate techniques. Truffles contain an abundance of natural glutamates which bring out extra flavours in other ingredients such as poultry, fish, eggs and dairy products.” Truffles aren’t an ideal partner for curry or spicy sauces, he continues, but “sushi with truffles, steamed bird’s nest with truffle, abalone with truffle, shark fins with truffle ... these all work well. “The rule that western chefs have applied to preparing truffle dishes can be applied to Asian cuisines, that is: ‘Simple is best’.” Poron echoes the statement. “The simpler the better,” he says. “If truffles are exposed to too much heat for too long they lose flavour and aroma.” The next big hurdle to cross is convincing European chefs they can have truffles on their menus for six months of the year or longer, Blakers says. “I think we are close to this happening as we are selling more each year into Paris. We have achieved a big change in the acceptance in US, Asia and Japan in the last couple of seasons and expect very good growth in these markets going into the future. “I predict that in 20 years this region will be the biggest truffle producing area in the world, especially if French production continues to decline as it has in the past decade.”

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High Oleic Sunflower Oil

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Planet Caviar HK supplies both wild and farmed caviar

Dominique Bugnand – caviar can give a dish a very nice touch and enticing flavours

Swiss Oona caviar from Swiss Caviar House

Golden
The increasing scarcity of wild sturgeon means that many chefs are turning to farmed varieties for both traditional presentation and incorporating in their cuisine, writes Daniel Creffield
Aquitaine, France,” he adds. And while he concedes he would love to use wild Iranian caviar, “it’s protected, and we at Mandarin Oriental, Macau, have always been aware of protecting our natural marine and ecosystems. We do our best to source top-quality farmed caviar.” Abby Cholene Yuen, marketing director at Swiss Caviar House (Asia), stresses that sustainability is the way ahead for the caviar industry. “Our ’Swiss made’ guarantee ensures quality and responsibility. Ten years of research and ideal conditions, including purified Alps mountain water and stable organic food, has enabled us to grow healthy sturgeon, which produce delicious, fresh and creamy caviar, in much shorter times than in the wild.” Swiss Oona caviar from Tropenhaus Frutigen in Switzerland, which runs the first ‘Alpine Siberian Sturgeon Programme’ are raised in pure Swiss alpine water. The caviar is hand harvested and processed according to the international CITES convention

eggs

The sturgeon can grow from seven to 12 feet long and live for up to 100 years (photo: Swiss Caviar House)

and qualified by SGS headquarters in Switzerland. Swiss Caviar House sells in Greater China, Japan, Korea and other Asia countries, in six sizes: 30g, 50g, 125g, 250g, 500g and 1kg. Yuen says that Asian restaurants often use caviar, pairing it with seafood, steak, pork, snacks and even dumplings. “We have worked with cooking schools, chefs’ kitchens and premium hotels and restaurants.” Jason Wong, director of JA Fine Foods in Hong Kong, sells caviar in Hong Kong, China, Singapore, Thailand, Taiwan and Malaysia. He says China is expected to become a huge market in the future. “Demand in China doubled in 2013 and will continue to grow strongly ... I estimate that alongside the EU and the US, China will become a top-three caviar market within two years. “Demand in Singapore increased rapidly

Caviar Sturia produces approximately 12 tons of caviar every year, sold worldwide

Caviar Azovka’s best-selling product is Azovka beluga royal

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ominique Bugnand, director of culinary operations and F&B at Mandarin Oriental, Macau, is a caviar fan. “I love its shape, colour and taste,” he enthuses. “To me, caviar is elegant. It can give a dish a very nice touch and enticing flavours.” Bugnand says he prefers to use the caviar ‘raw’, i.e. in its unadulterated form, not mixed with any other ingredient. “At the moment I prefer caviar Sturia from

China to show the way

after the open of two casinos there, around 200-300% growth over the past two years. Hong Kong has shown stable growth, around 15% in 2013, the same as Thailand and Taiwan. Now the total amount for Asia excluding Japan, airlines and cruiselines is around 10 tons in 2013. “My best selling product is oscietra which is Chinese Amur sturgeon. People like it because it has a very strong, nutty aroma with firm texture, which is easy for chefs to work with.” And while he agrees that some fine dining Chinese restaurants are using caviar – mainly for seafood dishes – he says the majority is still western restaurants, which account for over 90% of the market. “However, the caviar demand from Asian restaurants is growing very fast. I assume that within three years caviar consumption in China will be mainly from Chinese fine dining restaurants

and clubs.” Olivier Besson, CEO at Caviar Azovka, says the company is selling mostly to highend restaurants and hotels in Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen and Shanghai. “Our best selling product is Azovka beluga royal. Beluga is the most famous caviar among the four main types – beluga, ossetra, sterlet and sevruga –and possesses great quality and an indulgent taste.” He agrees that while many chefs are still incorporating caviar in their dishes, it is mostly western restaurants doing this. “I guess it’s due to the culinary and cultural tradition. Chefs use caviar mainly for the entrée dishes, and pair them with fine champagne.”

Swiss connection

Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, Planet Caviar is a specialist offering a selection of 17 caviars to both Europe and

Asia, wild and farmed. Planet Caviar HK was formed in 2006 and supplies both wild and farmed caviar to five-stars hotels and fine dining restaurants mainly in Hong Kong, Macau and China, including Four Season Hotel, Mandarin Oriental and others. Company director Edmond Leung says its best-selling product is schrencki from China and black ossetra from Italy and Uruguay. “The quality for schrencki and hybrids from China are very stable; the egg size and taste are perfect for chefs, so most of them love to use it. For black ossetra, chefs love to use it because it is well known in the market and the quality is also stable.” He says that over the past two years Asian restaurants have started to incorporate more caviar, with Chinese and Japanese restaurants using it as a decoration for cold dishes.

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While international sales of scotch whisky are rising exponentially, in Asia it is only in little Singapore where growth is taking place. Why is this, and when will the good times again roll? Robin Lynam reports

Turning
The second biggest market, France, also grew – although more modestly, at 6%, from £188 million to £198.8 million. The third biggest international market for scotch – slightly surprisingly given its population of not much more than five million – is Singapore, which grew by a healthy 19% from £146.2 million to £173.8 million. All the other top 20 international markets by value outside Asia also grew at an encouraging rate, ranging from 6% in Latvia to 86% in Panama. And now the bad news. Every Asian market in that same top 20 other than Singapore is down. Taiwan, which has become a major market and focus of attention for single malt whisky in particular and currently ranks as the world’s sixth biggest Scotch market by value, is down by 18% from £80 million to £65.4 million. Exports to South Korea have dropped by 9% from £65.7 million to £59.6 million. India has imported 2% less with the by value figure dropping from £28.3 million to £27.6 million. Exports to Japan are down in

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ould Asia’s ardour for scotch whisky be cooling? The latest figures released by the Scotch Whisky Association paint an ambivalent picture. First the good news for the industry. The total value of scotch whisky exports globally increased by 11% to almost £2 billion (US$3.2 billion) in the first six months of 2013 – up from £1.78 billion (US$2.9 billion) over the first half of 2012. Around 563 million bottles of scotch whisky were exported between January and June, up 9%, or almost 50 million bottles, from the same period in 2012. On an annualised basis, the value of exports rose by 6% to £4.5bn from £4.2 billion in the 12 months up to the end of June. While the major distillers – and some of their smaller competitors – have focused increasingly on the emergent Asia markets in recent years, and on China in particular, the US remains the biggest market for scotch by value. In the first half of the year that market grew in value by a massive 29% from £303.6 million to £391 million over the first two quarters of 2012.

tides
value by 13% from £31.6 million to £27.5 million, while in China they are down by 20% from £31.1 million to £24.8 million.

Edrington Hong Kong is bullish on the prospects for single malt scotch whisky – the company owns The Macallan and Highland Park single malts

Langham Place, Mongkok, Hong Kong

Singapore is the saviour

Those are hardly encouraging figures, but Gavin Hewitt, Scotch Whisky Association chief executive, argues that they are partly offset by the growth in exports to Singapore, which has emerged not as a major consumer of whisky but as the main regional re-export centre for the spirit. “Singapore is a distribution hub for much of Asia with a lot of the scotch whisky exported directly to that market shipped onto other countries in the region, including Taiwan, South Korea and China,” says Hewitt. “The 20% decline to £25 million in the value of direct exports to China was partly offset by the increase in shipments to Singapore, and also reflects consolidation and more challenging current market conditions in China,” he says. “The crackdown in China on lavish entertaining will certainly have had an

impact on sales of single malt and premium blended scotch. It may well also be that other regional markets have become overheated in recent years, and that suppliers and outlets are now sitting on surplus inventory. “We may have entered a cooling off period, but there is little doubt that the industry, particularly at the premium end, remains strongly committed to pushing sales in Asia – and that distillers believe the regional markets likely to be receptive to high-end products over the longer term.” In the opinion of Edrington Hong Kong marketing director Peter Woo, this is a time of opportunity for quality spirit brands in general around the region, fuelled by growing interest in them, and steadily improving product knowledge on the part of consumers. He is particularly bullish on the prospects for single malt scotch whisky. “Single malt will continue to rise as long as premium wines and spirits are rising. We need to look at the general levels of affluence and knowledge in the markets of Asia,” he says. “The market is now more open, more affluent, with more propensity to try out new brands and new styles, and the general outlook is positive. My conjecture is that leading malts such as The Macallan, Highland Park and The Glenrothes will all benefit.” Edrington owns The Macallan and Highland Park single malts, and also the distillery that produces The Glenrothes – although that brand is now owned by Berry Bros & Rudd. The company is also a significant player

in the blended whisky market through its blends, The Famous Grouse and Cutty Sark. Two of those brands are iconic. The Famous Grouse is the best selling blend in Scotland, and for many Asian consumers malt means Macallan, in much the same way that blended whisky means either Chivas Regal or Johnnie Walker.

The big three dominate

The three best selling single malt whiskies in the world are Glenfiddich, The Glenlivet and The Macallan, and their prominence in Asia reflects this fact. Two of those three are independently owned – The Macallan by Edrington, and Glenfiddich, the brand which pioneered international exports of single malt from Scotland in the 1960s, by William Grant & Sons. Otherwise, however, the big multinational brand-owning corporations continue to dominate the field. Of the big single malt brands, Glenmorangie is owned by LVMH; The Glenlivet, Aberlour, and Longmorn by Pernod Ricard; and Cardhu, Oban, Talisker, Lagavulin, Caol Ila and several more by Diageo. Diageo in particular enjoys the advantage that it can offer F&B managers and bars and restaurants ‘one stop shopping’ with a good range of different single malts from a single supplier. Its portfolio includes Highland, Island, Speyside and Lowland single malts. Another company offering a selection of malts from several regions is Morrison Bowmore, with the Lowland Auchentoshan,

Glenmorangie is one of Asia’s most popular single malt brands

Bowmore itself – one of the most visible of the Islay single malt whiskies widely distributed in Asia, alongside Ardbeg, Lagavulin and Laphroaig – and Glen Garioch from the Highlands. However, Howard Palmes, GM at whisky importer Fine Vintage (Far East) Ltd, believes that there are increasing opportunities for lesser-known brands. Whisky connoisseurs, he believes, gravitate towards bars with a more imaginative range of malts – those from less obvious distilleries, and from independent bottlers such as Gordon & MacPhail, which Fine Vintage represents in Hong Kong. “The whisky bars in Hong Kong that are of note, to me, in no particular order, are The Angel’s Share, The Canny Man, The

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Johnnie Walker, Black Label in particular, is a market leader in the region

the stories behind the blends, and the skills involved in blending. This gives Grouse and Cutty Sark an edge as consumers look beyond what they are currently drinking, hoping to see and try new brands, new blends and new taste differences. The different styles of Grouse, from Black to Naked and Alpha, definitely give stimuli to the market, while Cutty Sark offers an alternative for consumers looking for the standard aged-statement blends.” Over the longer term there seems to be little doubt that around Asia consumers will continue to drink whisky, and to explore the diversity of one of the world’s most varied and interesting spirits. Sales may be down in some markets over the short term, but the longer-term trend is resolutely upwards – and with consumers increasingly asking for a greater choice, there are abundant opportunities for both new and existing suppliers.

Tradition and honesty in every dram
here is honesty in Highland Park. A form of elemental higher truth exists in every glass. It’s not about fashion, trends or bandwagons. It is made today with the same enduring belief and integrity, to the same exacting standards, as it always has been. The established attitude at Highland Park is one of custodianship rather than management, of tradition rather than novelty. That’s not to say the distillery is stuck in the mud – far from it – but innovation is only used when there is a genuine benefit to the whisky, not (as is often the case) a benefit to efficiency or profitability. This approach accounts in some way for the appeal of Highland Park; there is much more to how the remote site of an illicit still became the “The Best Spirit in the World”*. This accolade was no fluke; it was based on an unbroken tradition of whisky making stretching back at Highland Park to 1798. Highland Park is arguably the most respected single malt in the world. As everyone knows, respect has to be earned. More than 210 years of distilling tradition, attention to detail and honesty at Highland Park has achieved just that. The rich, succulent, complexity of this exceptional single malt inspires passion in single malt enthusiasts everywhere. It has balance, character and provenance and, in that, epitomises all that is great about single malt Scotch whisky.

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other single malt Scotch whisky. • Even-paced cool maturation enhances its smooth character. • Sherry oak casks contribute to its distinctive richness and multidimensional complexity. • Cask harmonisation ensures consistency and, in addition, it allows filtration to take place at 4°C, which ensures that maximum mouth-feel is retained.

* The Best Spirit in the World Highland Park 18 Years Old – F. Paul Pacult, Spirit Journal, Jun 2005 & Jun 2009 Highland Park 25 Years Old – F. Paul Pacult, Spirit Journal, Jun 2013 http://www.highlandpark.co.uk

Whisky of the gods
Thor is the first release in the Highland Park Valhalla Collection and like its namesake, shares many of the legendary Norse god’s larger-than-life characteristics. The most renowned of all the Norse gods, Thor was the protector of Asgard and was feared by his enemies and other gods alike. His powerful hammer, Mjolnir, which we have depicted on the bottle, was said to create a thunderous and terrifying sound when used in battle; legend has it that Thor’s handiwork can be witnessed firsthand on Orkney. Distilled where sea turns to ocean, Highland Park Thor is a meeting point of nature’s forces, resulting in a perfect marriage of classic fragrant Highland Park smoke, balanced with a beguiling inner complexity and natural strength. Aged for 16 years and bottled at 52.1% abv, Thor is limited to 23,000 bottles worldwide.

Chinnery Bar, The Bar at The Peninsula, the Chin Chin Bar at the Hyatt Regency, Butler and The Executive Bar. Those bars have an interesting selection, meaning it’s not just Macallan, Glenmorangie, Glenfiddich and Glenrothes. Independent bottlers are well represented in them,” he says. Fine Vintage has been particularly successful with Glenfarclas, an independent Speyside malt, which is now prominently displayed in many of the leading whisky bars in Japan, Hong Kong and on the Chinese mainland – including The Long Bar at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Shanghai, where a complete collection of Glenfarclas’s The Family Casks – 43 single cask bottlings from every year between 1952 to 1994 – is a major feature of the bar.

Time for bourbon?
Whisky is made all over the world today – in addition to Scotland, Ireland, North America and Japan the spirit is distilled in India, Taiwan, Sweden, France, Germany, Australia, England, Wales and further afield. Generally whisky bars in Asia focus primarily on scotch single malt whisky, although most also offer a smaller selection from other countries of origin. Interest is increasing in bourbon however – partly because it is an Bourbons such as Wild Turkey are gaining in popularity in Asia important classic cocktail spirit, and partly because small batch bourbon producers also offer distinctive spirits, available only in small quantities which appeal to collectors in the same way as unusual single malts. Bourbon connoisseurs look beyond such well-known brands as Jim Beam, Jack Daniels – not strictly a bourbon but a Tennessee whiskey – Wild Turkey and even Maker’s Mark, towards brands such as Woodford’s Reserve, Michter’s, Elijah Craig and Evan Williams. As has been the case with single malt’s growth, sales of high-end bourbons are likely to be driven significantly by bars in five-star hotels. Shanghai already has its first. When Shangri-La opened its new Jing An Hotel in the west of the city, a bourbon rather than a scotch theme was chosen for its 1515 West Chophouse & Bar, which stocks its own specially bottled Evan Williams 1515 West Edition Single Barrel Bourbon. The bar is currently one of Shanghai’s hottest nightspots – and according to bar manager Dario Gentile the bourbons are flying off the shelves. On the other hand another new Shangri-La hotel in Qufu, Confucius’s birthplace, houses the town’s first whisky bar, and that is devoted to scotch. It is not only one of the Qufu’s most popular nightspots – it is its only nightspot.

Spirit of Thor

Blended is biggest

Although single malt is a rapidly growing sector, and certainly the one which allows for most differentiation for bars choosing to make it a thematic focus, blended whiskies retain the lion’s share of the whisky market. Johnnie Walker – Black Label in particular – and Chivas Regal continue to dominate the luxury blend sector, but this area, too, is diversifying, as the recent expansion of the Famous Grouse portfolio demonstrates. “When we look at the landscape, we are seeing consumers now opt for differences, varieties, cocktail options and so on,” says Peter Woo. “They are interested in understanding

The making of the best spirit in the world

The abiding care and attention, the hallmark of Highland Park production, manifests itself in the distinctive aromatic, full-bodied floral sweetness of the whisky. The quality of Highland Park is built on five fundamental keystones: • Hand-turned malt adds to the deliciously succulent, balanced layers of aromatic character found in Highland Park single malt Scotch whisky. • Aromatic peat gives a delectably seductive, luxuriant floral smokiness to Highland Park, which is unlike any

Appearance: Rich amber, with an iron ore glow. Nose: Concentrated and forceful, with an explosion of aromatic smoke, pungent fresh ginger, antique copper, stewed plums and golden syrup. With water, earthy notes emerge, like a garden after a heavy rain shower. Palate: Thor’s high strength grabs the palate and refuses to let go. Initially dry, with fiery gingerbread then vanilla, blackberries, fresh mango, peach and hints of cinnamon. As its big flavours swirl around the mouth, some softer, sweeter notes develop, giving Thor an unexpected layer of complexity and depth. Finish: The finish thunders on, leaving behind lingering notes of sweet vanilla and an intense spiciness. AWARDS AND ACCOLADES Best Whisky Packaging Design, The Drammie Awards 2013 Best Whisky Marketing Campaign, The Drammie Awards 2013 Masters Award, The Spirits Business Masters 2012 Gold, Best in Class, International Spirits Challenge 2012 http://www.whiskyofthegods.com

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Franke’s FM800 FoamMaster can produce up to three different coffee blends, two milk types, chocolate and various syrup flavours

Melitta’s new Cafina XT6 model combines newly developed technical components with a completely revamped design

ENHANCE YOUR CAPABILITIES

Making the coffee connection
As Asian consumers continue to fall in love with coffee’s taste and culture, the time has never been better for equipment manufacturers to target the region, writes Daniel Creffield
ith the coffee industry booming in Asia, most machine manufacturers are now eyeing the Asia market, believes Eric Daniel, managing director of L’Ami Café, Fine Aromas Ltd, a family-owned business based in Hong Kong. “As the coffee culture continues to grow here, the market is promising ... recent developments in technology such as the vibration pump and heat exchangers have permitted a new generation of home machines to be launched. Now coffee quality at home can be closer to the one we can get from the coffee shop next door, and most of all very easy to make.” Daniel makes the point that all types of coffee machines are equally growing in popularity. “Single-serve coffee machines, for soft pods, espresso pods and capsules have suddenly arrived in Asian homes and offices. For small volume operations – home, hotel room, conference room and office – they are perfect: nice looking, easy to use and deliver a very good cup of coffee. Using single-serve coffees professionally means easy inventory, consistency of the drinks, no mess and the option of using various coffee flavours – Blue Mountain, Colombian, etc – with the same machine. “Fully-automatic machines have the grinder incorporated, so it’s like a two in one coffee machine. They are often used when the restaurant or coffee shop doesn’t want to be dependent on the barista and you will often find them in hotels or big operations. “Meanwhile, ‘semi-professional’ machines, often aimed at espresso enthusiasts, are a kind of hybrid between professional and domestic machines. They make the equipment more affordable for a very good cup for the home or small business.” L’Ami Café promotes both single serve machines (capsules and espresso pods) and semi-professional espresso machines. Daniel says

WMF’s new fully automatic WMF 1500 S coffee machine carries on the success story of the WMF presto

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he prefers to work within the category as he feels the equipment is less expensive and more solid. “The G20 is our hottest machine at the moment: it’s sexy and performs very well even under the pressure of busy times. Its classic look and stainless steel body means our customers don’t hide the equipment away anymore ... the coffee machine is becoming a piece of art in their establishment.” Franke Coffee Systems is one of the world’s leading suppliers of fully-automatic coffee machines. Vice president sales and marketing APAC, Federico Paternò, says that in its range of fully-automatic machines for professional use, the best selling products in AsiaPacific countries are those of smaller capacity. “The reason is that although appreciation for good, freshly brewed coffee has grown spectacularly in recent years, still the per capita consumption is limited compared to the western world, hence many of our customers do not require high output machines to satisfy demand. However we have also noted a strong growth at the top end of our range, driven by large chains getting very serious about their coffee offer.” Paternò says that across the region, the pattern of sales is not the same, as different countries have different consumption levels and habits. “Overall we can say that in Asia the typical customers for our fully-automatic machines are all the businesses that want to ensure a very consistent output in time and across different locations, regardless of who is operating the machine: food chains, hotels, restaurants, convenience stores, corporate offices and other work places with self-service coffee, all fall in this category.” Current market trends, he believes, are for both higher quality and more convenience. “Everybody wants their favourite cup prepared easily and consistently good. In the consumer market this trend is underscored, for example, by the boom of coffee capsules.

FoamMaster™ FM800
The new FM800 is the professional and sleek all-rounder in the new premium-class from Franke Coffee Systems. The intuitive and customizable 10.4" touchscreen makes it easy to use: at the touch of a button you can produce a perfect coffee classic or a delicious hot/cold milk foam beverage. Perfect milk foam in the desired consistency. A fully automatic coffee solution that appeals to all of the senses. Upsell to new product offerings through mouthwatering visuals. fm.franke.com

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Just taste! The new WMF 8000 S
L’Ami Café conducts coffee machine training and tastings from its showroom at an Italian food and wine supplier warehouse. The G20 is currently its most popular machine Schaerer Coffee Prime’s ‘NcFoamer’ (Non Cleaning Foamer) cleaning concept makes it possible to simply replace the parts of the machine that conduct milk – doing away with the time-consuming process of cleaning them

Bravilor’s Esprecious is a comprehensive yet compact espresso machine with a conveniently arranged touchscreen to set the desired variety and strength. With adjustable LED lights around the display, the Esprecious fits in with any interior and is easy to clean

Vibrant coffee culture

Boncafé International Pte is a one-stop service provider of coffee and hot beverages, catering mainly to HORECA customers, large fast food chain accounts, regional airlines and others. The company’s marketing manager, Tammy Chua, says the Egro and Rancilio Series of automatic and semi-automatic machines are its best selling models “simply because of the current fast paced and vibrant coffee culture trends in the F&B industry.” “The fully-automatic and semi-automatic models are the most desired machines by businesses from different sectors within the industry,” she adds. “The fully-automatic machines are a good help to the hotels and high volume and quick service restaurants as they are able to produce gourmet coffee with ease, are seamlessly easy to operate and ultimately increase productivity for the establishment while minimising manpower reliance.” One of the added all-in-one features of the fully-automatic machine, Egro 1, allows both beans and powder in a machine, allowing the establishment to cater to two types of coffee such as gourmet and decaffeinated or even instant chocolate powder to create a mocha, she continues. “While the automatic machine is great for bigger establishments, the semi-automatic machines are well-loved by artisanal cafes, as they are able to showcase the true art, craft and showmanship of brewing a perfect cup.” She adds that while there have been no real major innovations in the industry save for the coffee capsule system, which has been in existence for almost 20 years, this has really come into its own within Asia over the last five to eight years. “Its ease of convenience, style and quality with minimum fuss and disruption, showcase how practical and convenient the capsule machine is for consumers’ daily caffeine fix. Different types of blends are increasingly a must-have and machines must look aesthetically chic, be sophisticated, hassle-free and easy to operate. This has truly

became a part of the consumer lifestyle and these machines are showcased at home or office.”

Hey presto!

WMF’s new fully-automatic WMF 1500 S coffee machine builds on the success of the WMF presto. The new speciality machine raises all the positive features of its predecessor to a higher level of coffee and milk perfection. The Windows CE-based man-machine-interface (MMI) touch display makes operation, care and maintenance fully intuitive. The user interface also helps in the creation of a wide range of different coffee and milk delicacies. Combined with a number of milk systems which offer cold and hot milk or hot milk froth, and with a storage capacity for up to 48 individual drinks, the WMF is equipped with two generously-sized coffee bean holders (650g each), a hand applicator and a chocolate powder or topping container. With the help of the templates, the customer is able to decide which products are to be produced and when. For example, it allows automatic changeover from fresh milk to toppings, reassignment of the buttons to self-service operation, or the range of drinks to be varied depending on the time and day. The capacity of the WMF 1500 S is up to 180 cups per day. Another manufacturer which has recently unveiled a new product is Melitta, whose first model of a completely new generation of fully-automatic coffee machines is the Melitta Cafina XT6. Developed for HORECA businesses who want superior coffee quality but also greater performance, the model combines newly developed technical components with a completely revamped design. One of the highlights of the Melitta Cafina XT6 is its intuitive, ergonomically angled user interface with large TFT touchscreen display and handy features for stacking orders and organising the machine’s wide range of product offerings. Other features include

a newly developed milk system for hot and cold milk, as well as customisable milk froths; a newly developed and extremely effective grinder which preserves the coffee’s aroma and whose grinding disks are automatically adjusted to maintain the same perfect grind quality; a high-grade metal brewing unit which adapts piston pressure to the respective coffee specialities; and a fully-automatic self-cleaning system. The sleek design and clearly defined functional areas underline the professional character of the Melitta Cafina XT6, while its sophisticated lighting concept provides further visual highlights. With its compact dimensions – 30cm wide, 71cm high, 58cm deep – and elegant aluminium housing, it fits perfectly into any surroundings.

Intuitive interface

With a user interface influenced by state-of-the-art mobile architectures, Rancilio Group’s Classe 11 offers exceptional intuitiveness and immediacy. Aesthetic and robust, Classe 11 produces the highest-quality espresso. ZERO is the fully-automatic Egro machine designed to meet the needs of venues with a medium to low daily consumption but which do not want to compromise on coffee quality. In its complete configuration with a built-in powder module it allows the rapid and versatile preparation of milk, fondant, dark, white, spicy and candied chocolates. Elegant, square lines make ZERO suitable for any kind of ambiance. Telemetric solutions, connectivity with smartphones and tablets, an innovative milk system and much more offer additional Rancilio and Egro benefits.

The revolutionary WMF HMI touch display (Human Machine Interface) Facilitates straightforward adjustment for perfect coffee quality. WMF 8000 S – The New Generation.

Gourmet trends

Carrie Shum, senior brand manager, Nespresso HK, says that in Hong Kong and throughout Asia, “We have noticed a definite

WMF AG Coffee Machines International Eberhardstrasse · D-73312 Geislingen/Steige, Germany Phone +49 7331-258 482 · Fax +49 7331-258 792 gastro-export@wmf.de · www.wmf-coffeemachines.com

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Tea Forté Skin Smart Antioxidant Tea

Tea to China

Boh Plantations Sdn is Malaysia’s number one tea brand, with key export markets including Japan, Singapore, Denmark, Thailand, Taiwan and Korea Boncafé’s Egro and Rancilio series automatic and semiautomatic machines are its best sellers

Natasha Larché, global brand manager with red espresso, says the company has identified the Greater China market as an exciting new market because of its growing coffee culture and preference for tea-based drinks. “red espresso has invested substantially in the Greater China market. All the intellectual property has been registered [there] ... a dedicated country manager, sales and marketing team and logistics have been set up in China to actively manage the successful launch and distribution of red espresso in this market.” red espresso is 100% natural and contains only rooibos tea which it grinds like espresso so that it can be prepared in an espresso machine, stovetop moka pot, filter machine or anything used to make Assorted teas from Wah Fong coffee – in or out of the home. In Asia, red espresso Classic tea offerings from Twinings herbal teas and they also want to buy them as souvenirs and is sold in China, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea. gifts,” he suggests. “In this case, the tea must be a premium “Speciality coffee, specialy tea and health continue to rise brand and priced accordingly. A good example is the MGM as three major global trends in the beverage sector. Fusing Grand in Macau, which carries several exclusive western tea all three trends, red espresso is an innovation that meets the brands that sell very well to mainland visitors.” everyday consumer needs and requirements these trends When choosing a tea menu that will also be enjoyed by have given rise to. mainland visitors unfamiliar with western teas, you should pick “These include cafe culture, individuality and differentiation the lighter Indian teas such as Darjeeling and herbal and fruit and a good healthy choice. red espresso also goes beyond blends, as well as a selection of the most famous Chinese this and into categories coffee espresso can’t: iced teas, teas, he concludes. smoothies and fresh juices (all of which form part of a greater Tea Concepts stocks a wide range of fine tea brands global shift towards health consciousness).” including Tea Forté, Harney & Sons, Victoria Premium Teas Tony Dick, director of Hong Kong-based Tea Concepts from Hong Kong (its house brand with over 220 types), Four Ltd, says in his experience supplying tea to most of the O’clock Organic Fair Trade Teas and Hampstead Teas of international hotels in Macau, mainland Chinese are really London, a range of bio-dynamic teas based on a top quality looking for a ‘different’ tea experience. Darjeeling tea estate. “They are particularly keen to try premium western and

trend towards gourmet coffee, with consumers regarding it much in the same way that sommeliers view wine. We have also noticed a trend and taste preference towards milk-based coffees, which is why there are milk solutions to Nespresso’s machines. The Aquila, for example, easily serves bespoke hot and cold coffees as well as milk-based recipes at the touch of a button.” She adds that speed and convenience of preparation is becoming increasingly important for ‘time-poor’ customers. “In any retail business, it is important to spend quality time with customers, while still offering them the highest quality coffee – these are key benefits of using Nespresso machines, which are completely automated with multiple functions and are simple to use while providing ultimate consistency.” And she believes that coffee is as much a lifestyle beverage as it is a functional one. “Although Asia has predominantly been seen as a tea drinking culture, consumers are showing a real interest in gourmet coffee,” she says. “Consumers have become increasingly demanding in terms of the quality of their coffee, both at home and outside their homes. With this trend in consumption habits, restaurants and hotels are in turn demanding higher standards from the coffee they serve, combined with prompt service, consistent quality and choice. “This understanding of delivering only the highest quality coffee, cup after cup, using state-of-the-art smart and convenient machines, is integral to Nespresso Business Solutions and has been the key to making Nespresso a feature in high-end hotels and restaurants around the region.”

FRESH BREW

THE NEW LOOK OF FRESH COFFEE AT ITS BEST
The successful fresh brew series have got a new look. The machines are ready for the future thanks to the stainless steel housing, modern design and adjustable led display. Easy to operate, easy to clean. The fresh brew series offer advanced techniques to experience the taste of quality!

sales@bravilor.com | www.bravilor.com

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The taste of quality worldwide

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Seamless wine glasses
The Q1 range is part of a mouth-blown series of lead-free glasses by Stölzle. They feature a long filigree stem and an accentuated shape. The stems are machine pulled and melted. There is no joint or visible seam between the stem and bowl. The Q1 comes in gift boxes of four pieces and in four basic sizes: burgundy, bordeaux, white wine, and champagne. Stölzle produces around 40 million glasses per year in Weisswasser, Germany, exporting them worldwide.

For more information: www.stoelzle-lausitz.com www.equipasia.com

Complementing kitchens
Appliance manufacturer Miele has released a new line of glass-fronted appliances called PureLine. They are designed to complement contemporary kitchens while allowing seamless integration from one machine to the next. The range runs from wall ovens and steam ovens to coffee machines, microwave ovens, and warming drawers, introducing a totally new user interface and display with its M-Touch screen technology. “From the ‘Forever Better’ credo coined by its founding fathers, Miele derives a focus on quality which is unparalleled throughout the industry,” said Miele head designer Andreas Enslin. “We make every effort to design our products in such a way as to ensure that they do not age prematurely, neither aesthetically nor technically.”

For more information: www.miele.com

Cloud managed wi-fi solution
Aruba Networks has launched a cloud-managed wi-fi solution that combines the simplicity of a cloud service with the performance, manageability and reliability of enterprise-grade wireless LANs (WLANs). Offering 10 times faster wi-fi speeds than competitive solutions and all the features of a traditional enterprise-class WLAN, Aruba’s cloud wi-fi solution allows branches to benefit from the ease of cloud management without the usual compromises. In addition, Aruba is expanding its switching portfolio with the new Aruba S1500 Mobility Access Switch, optimised for cloud wi-fi and designed for both large distributed enterprises and smaller locations. “Cloud wi-fi can deliver greater ease of use and automation to strapped IT departments and keep costs low for the enterprise,” said Rohit Mehra, vice president, network infrastructure, International Data Corp. (IDC). “That said, organisations don’t want to sacrifice the robustness, performance, and reliability of traditional wireless networks. With its new Cloud wi-fi offering, Aruba is marrying traditional wi-fi networking with the benefits of a cloud-based solution, and should be able to capitalise on this growing cloud market.” www.arubanetworks.com
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Halal gets HK boost
More than 250,000 Muslims are now living and working in Hong Kong, and a growing number of Muslims are visiting the city each year. Providing highquality halal dining options has therefore become a pressing issue. As a result, the Hong Kong Tourism Board has stepped up its certification scheme for local halal food outlets. In a related move, Chinese University vicechancellor Joseph Sung Jao-yiu has announced plans to open a halal canteen to meet the dietary requirements of Muslim students at the school. “Given the heavy reliance upon pork for local cuisine, finding halal food choices here in Hong Kong can be challenging,” said Dalene Wray, OBE Organic’s general manager based in Hong Kong. “And finding halal beef that is also organic, chemical-free, and grassfed is next to impossible; we are making that easier on Muslim locals and expats alike.” In particular, OBE Organic is seeking to fulfill the unique needs of Muslim parents wanting to serve their children foods that are chemical free. “On a regular basis we hear from Muslim consumers in Hong Kong (primarily mothers) who are concerned about what chemicals or toxins could be lurking in their food,” Wray said. ”They are looking for not only halal beef, but also safe, and in many cases high quality, gourmet cuts of beef.”

Single-serve apple sauce
Fruit cooperative Knouse Foods has expanded its line of Musselman’s Single-Serve Apple Sauces to include three new sizes: 2oz., 4.5oz. and 6oz. The classic 4 oz. cup is also still available. Musselman’s Apple Sauce is made from 100% American-grown apples. All varieties are gluten free and have a 24-month shelf life. “Our Musselman’s Single-Serve Apple Sauce products are in high demand because food service chefs and operators are seeking more nutritious, convenient offerings for their customers,” said Todd Michael, foodservice sales director for Knouse Foods. www.knousefoodservice.com

Orange theme for autumn
Gourmet chocolatier Jean-Paul Hévin (JPH) has unveiled an ‘orange’ theme for autumn delicacies reflecting the colour of the season at Hong Kong’s first Parisian-style ‘chocolate bar’. The range of ‘orange temptations’ includes Bonbon Costa Rica of dark chocolate ganache with orange purée and orangettes – orange peel coated with dark chocolate. Seating up to 27, the restaurant serves lunch, high tea and dinner. “Everything we do, from in-house dining, to take-home products and our website is as fresh as our chocolates and macaroons, which is why we continually introduce tempting new menus and unique chocolates,” said Jean-Paul Hévin. www.jeanpaulhevin.com.hk

www.obeorganic.com

Wines go upmarket
Hardys is well known in Hong Kong for its wide range of affordable mainstream wines sold at reasonable prices. Earlier in the year it started selling premium and luxury wine categories under the William Hardy label. Heritage Reserve Bin (HRB) wines were added in September. Australian wine maker, wine writer and competition judge James Halliday was recentlly in the city to promote the new label. “I am delighted to be joining forces with Hardys, the most powerful Australian wine brand, to introduce their luxury sub-brand HRB to the Hong Kong market”, Halliday said. “Hardys has a diverse portfolio of exceptional quality wines across styles, regions, and prices, taking the best of old world and new world techniques and applying these to cutting edge viticulture.” From the late 1950s until the mid 1980s, the Hardys Reserve Bin label represented the pinnacle of Hardys’ flagship wines. The bin numbers on the labels were part of a sequential code given to wines at the time of bottling. The wines were also unique offerings, not repeated from one year to the next. www.hardys.com.au

Best labels from Burgundy
Altaya Wines is launching a new range of high-end wines from nine of Burgundy’s most prestigious domaines. Of the new Burgundy wine labels being offered, Altaya Wines has been appointed the exclusive distributor of Georges Roumier, Armand Rousseau, Bonneau du Martray, Comtes Lafon, and Dujac. It is sourcing wines directly from Méo-Camuzet, de L’Arlot, Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey, and Leflaive. “In the last decade, Burgundy wines have gained much recognition and acclaim from the wine industry,” said Paulo Pong, managing director of the Altaya Group. “The complex region grows some of the greatest wines in the world, where each district is unique in expressing the terroir and exhibiting www.altayawines.com
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Food expo to double in size
An expanded Foodservice Australia will return to Sydney from May 25 to 27, 2014, following a successful show in Melbourne earlier this year. “The food service business is different to food retailing,” said event director Tim Collett. “There are significant cost and time pressures and an ever-changing and fast-paced environment. On the other hand, there are great rewards, too, and the satisfaction that comes from serving appreciative guests.” Next year’s show will be twice the size of this year’s show. There will be more space for exhibitors, more networking areas, and a new feature called Café School, which will be aimed at the lunchtime market. www.foodserviceaustralia.com
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characteristics in the nose and palate. We are excited to share these with Hong Kong wine lovers, and I’m sure drinking Burgundy wines will be the next trend.”

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Nov 7– 9

HKTDC Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre Wan Chai, Hong Kong.

Held at the Wan Chai HKCEC, the Hong Kong International Wine & Spirits Fair offers a wide range of high quality wine and spirits, beer and other alcoholic beverages, as well as wine production, wine education, logistics and services to buyers from all over the world. FHC China is the biggest international trade show for food, wine and hospitality equipment in China. It features ProWine China 2013, Meat China 2013 and Tea and Coffee 2013 specialist areas, with Olive Oil China, Ultimate Barista Challenge China, Ice Cream University, wine seminars, China Sommelier Wine Challenge, FHC international cooking competition and more. As the number one destination in Asia for modern textile care products, services and technologies, Texcare Asia International Trade Fair for Modern Textile Care is a rendezvous for thousands of professionals from a broad range of industries, including laundry, dry cleaning.

Hong Kong Trade Development Council Tel: +852 1830 668 Fax: +852 2824 0026 exhibitions@hktdc.org www.hktdc.com/ex/hkwinefair/09

Kuala Lumpur holds biggest FHM yet

Nov 13 – 15

FHC China 2013 Shanghai New International Expo Centre, Shanghai, China

Lily Zhu China International Exhibitions, Room A2402-03, Singular Mansion, No.318-322 Xian Xia Road, Shanghai 200336 China DID: +8621 6209 5209 Fax: +8621 6209 5210 fhc@chinaallworld.com www.fhcchina.com Messe Frankfurt (Shanghai) Co Ltd Room 1503, 15/F, Taiping Finance Tower 488 Middle Yincheng Road, Pudong New Area Shanghai, 200120 China Tel: +86 21 6160 8555 Ext: 209 / 229 Fax: +86 21 5876 9332 texcareasia@china.messefrankfurt.com www.texcare-asia.com Coastal International Exhibition Co., Ltd. Tel: +852 2827 6766 Fax: +852 2827 6870 general@coastal.com.hk www.hotel-exhibition.com

Nov 19 – 21

Texcare Asia 2013 Shanghai New International Expo Centre Shanghai, China

Nov 20 – 22

The 9th International Hotel Expo The Venetian Macao, Macau

As the largest, longest-running and most comprehensive hospitality exhibition in Macau, International Hotel Expo has been well rooted with solid reputation earned from the hotel industry in the Greater China and Southeast Asia, gathering the managerial class of the leading hotels and the attendance of groups led by hotel associations. HIFI is India’s most important hotel investment conference. It is the annual meeting place for the leaders in the Indian hotel and tourism industry to discuss current trends, network, identify new opportunities and do deals through a combination of plenary sessions, breakout panels and interactive workshops. As the main part of HDD Hotelex, Deco & Design), it contains seven differently themed sectors including Catering Equipment & Supply, Bakery & Ice cream, Tableware, Textile, Appliance & Amenities, IT & Security, Fitness & Leisure. HOTELEX has led the hospitality industry trends for 22 years and will continue to provide one-stop purchasing and information platform for the hospitality professionals. Food&HotelAsia2014 (FHA2014) is the largest and most comprehensive international trade show for the food and hospitality industry in Asia. Consisting of six specialised events namely FoodAsia, HotelAsia, Bakery&Pastry, HospitalityStyleAsia, HospitalityTechnology and SpecialityCoffee&Tea, the upcoming edition presents a wide array of products and services by more than 2,800 exhibitors from 70 countries/regions over an exhibition area of 95,000 sqm. SIAL China is the leading Asian meeting point for the food and beverage industry. The 2014 edition will boast 2,400+ exhibitors, 45,000+ visitors and 100,000+ square metres of space in eight halls.

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2014 Jan 14 – 15

HIFI Hotel Investment Forum India (HIFI) Leela Kempinski Gurgaon Gurgaon Delhi (N.C.R.) India

BHN and Horwath HTL Tel: +1 714 540 9300 Email: marketing@burba.com www.HIFI-India.com

Mar 31 – Apr 3 HOTELEX Shanghai 2014 Shanghai New International Expo Centre, Shanghai, China

Shanghai UBM Sinoexpo International Exhibition Co. Ltd 8/F, Xian Dai Mansion, 218 Xiang Yang Road(S), Shanghai 200031, China Mr. Alex Ni Tel+86 21 3339 2242 Fax+86 21 6115 4988 alex.ni@ubmsinoexpo.com www.hotelex.cn Singapore Exhibition Services Pte Ltd Tel: +65 6233 6651 Fax:+65 6233 6638 Email: tsm@sesallworld.com www.foodnhotelasia.com

Apr 8 – 11

Food&HotelAsia2014 Singapore Expo 1 Expo Dr Singapore 486150

May 13 – 15

SIAL China 2014 Hall N1-N5, E5-E7 Shanghai New International Expo Centre Shanghai, China

Comexposium Shanghai 20/F, No 118 Qinghai Road, 200041 Shanghai, China Tel: 86 21 6217 0505 Fax: 86 21 6218 1650 www.sialchina.com

COMING NEXT FHM 2015 Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre Sept 29 – Oct 2, 2015 www.foodandhotel.com

HM 2013 was held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre in the Malaysian capital from September 17 to 20, 2013. It was the largest show since its inception in 1993, occupying 13,000 square metres of space spread across seven exhibition halls. A total of 18,865 trade visitors from 57 nations visited the show, an increase of 5.5% from the previous show. There were 1,160 participating companies from 47 nations as well as six national pavilions representing Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Turkey and the US. CB Frozen, English Hotbreads, Eurochef, Global Pacific Victory, Kian Contract, Lucky Frozen, NKR, Pastry Pro, SCC Corporation, Sinmag Bakery Equipment and Wong Brothers were among the big names represented at the event. Chef Sherson Lian and chef Johnny Fua put on a celebrity cooking demonstration using exhibitors’ ingredients, collaborating with Chefonic Kitchen, Euro Atlantic, Lucky Frozen and Pacific West Food. Wine Academy founder Roderick Wong offered intensive twoday wine appreciation classes. A workshop on Scottish single malts and Japanese sake shochu was offered by Thomas Ling, a certified specialist in spirits and sake. The Malaysian Export Academy held a workshop on Malaysian halal standards, certification and auditing, which gave comprehensive information on proper guidelines and compliances on Halal procedures in Malaysia. High profile speakers from various industries spoke on new age hospitality solutions for the next generation of hoteliers at a conference organised by the ASEAN Hotel and Restaurant Association. A new feature this year was a B2B pavilion, in which more than 2,000 sessions were held between exhibitors and trade visitors. Participants said the exercise helped them secure face-to-face meetings with relative ease. Culinaire Malaysia 2013 was held concurrently with FHM 2013. This year’s competition had 34 categories and more than 1,300 participatants. Eighty-six judges with culinary and beverage backgrounds were brought in from around the world to judge the competition.

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14-15 January 2014
Patrons Hyatt Hotels and Resorts The Leela Palaces, Hotels & Resorts
Platinum Partners Accor Best Western International Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group Centara International Management Co., Ltd. Duet India Hotels Fortune Park Hotels Ltd Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts GOCO Hospitality Hilton Worldwide InterContinental Hotels Group InterGlobe Hotels Pvt. Ltd MGM Hospitality Purchasing Management India Pvt Ltd. Starwood Hotels & Resorts Pte. Ltd. STR Global Taj Hotels Resorts & Palaces The Oberoi Group Media Partners Asian Hotel + Catering Times DDP Publications Pvt. Ltd. - TravTalk Global Destinations GlobalHotelNetwork.com Hospitality Biz, Saffron Media Pvt. Ltd. Hotel Analyst Hotel Business Review Hotel News Now India Hospitality Review.com ITP Publishing India Pvt.Ltd TravelBiz Monitor, Saffron Media Pvt. Ltd. Traveltechie.com TTG India
Supporters AAHOA AH&LEI IFC

The Leela Kempinski Gurgaon Delhi (N.C.R.), India

ISHC ITP WTTC

An Official International Publication of BHN
HOTELS’ Investment Outlook Patrons, Partners, & Supporters as of 2 October 2013

A proud partner of Youth Career Initiative India

Hosted by

www.HIFI-India.com

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A couple of regular Joes
Joseph Chong of The Peninsula Shanghai and Joseph Sampermans of The Peninsula Beijing talk about their paths to the top and delving into local culture through the new Peninsula Academy Programmes. Profiles by Rebecca Lo
Photography courtesy The Peninsula Hotels Joseph Chong, general manager, The Peninsula Shanghai

Solutions for merchandising & the service of wine

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rowing up in Ipoh, a small Malaysian town known for its bean sprouts, Joseph Chong had one ambition: he wanted to be a pilot. The teen took an eight-hour journey on a rickety military truck with 23 other hopefuls to an air force base in Malacca and passed all the qualifying tests to realise his dream – all but one. “I found out I was colour blind,” admits Chong. “I cried buckets all the way home!” When facing his father after the crushing blow, the elder Chong asked what he was going to do. “I said that I liked uniforms. He asked me to join him in the police force. I didn’t want to be part of such a corrupt system. He retorted: ‘That system feeds you and your four sisters!’ He then gave me 40 ringgits for coffee and told me to hang out in the Kuala Lumpur Regent to check out the hotel staff uniforms. I did. I started as a Regent pager for guests arriving at the airport.” Chong spent 12 years with Regent and experienced its transition to Four Seasons, becoming an expert at opening properties for the group. He was headhunted for The Peninsula Beijing in 2000 and oversaw its renovation and rebranding before moving to Shanghai to open the hotel in 2009 after a stint in Bangkok. Hailing from Limburg in the southern Netherlands, Joseph Sampermans also stumbled upon his profession, but in his case, after majoring in economics. “I wanted to travel and met a guy in a bar who worked

with Thai hotels,” he remembers. “I thought that a career on the beach sounded good. My economics education gave me a variety of career options. He suggested that I try applying to Mandarin Oriental.” Sampermans spent four years with Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, working his way up through its F&B department before moving on to Raffles in Cambodia and Osaka. He joined The Peninsula Bangkok in 2004 and worked in Tokyo and Hong Kong before landing his current post at The Peninsula Beijing last November. Both Josephs feel that The Peninsula offers a special product in their respective marketplaces despite the stiff competition after the Beijing Olympics in 2008 and Shanghai Expo 2010. “Beijing residents have a relatively high disposable income,” says Sampermans. “Our hotel was already famous throughout the country as the Palace Hotel. Our brand is where we derive our premium. For Chinese people, status is just as important as anywhere else. They already have a bag, car and watch. Now they want to travel.” “Pre-2010, Shanghai was under supplied,” explains Chong. “Although a lot of new hotels have come into the picture since then, our property is unique. We continue to innovate, brand and market ourselves. We’ve just released 19 of the 39 units in our residences for sale.” In addition, the recently relaunched Peninsula Academy Programme engages guests within the community in memorable

Joseph Sampermans, general manager, The Peninsula Beijing

ways. The Shanghai programme includes Art Deco architectural tours, dim sum and other culinary workshops and a kite making class for children. “Our programme is about nostalgia,” says Chong. “We hope to preserve the culture of our location.” In Beijing, popular highlights are helicopter rides over the Great Wall, scooting around the city’s hutongs on electric cars, fresh produce market visits and cooking classes. “Our hutong tours draw many Chinese tourists visiting their capital city,” says Sampermans. “It’s a special experience for both domestic and international travellers.”

Combining high quality, luxury materials, ShowCave has given the wine cabinet a facelift. Innovative, with a capacity for 180 bottles, it boasts high-tech features and a bold design. Designed to showcase your best vintages, ShowCave will appeal to both wine professionals and connoisseurs.

S how c ave
Made in France

For a free brochure containing full detail, please contact: Alpha International Food Services 909, Chai Wan Industrial City, Phase 2, 70 Wing Tai Road, Chai Wan, Hong Kong. Tel: (852) 2889 2123 Fax: (852) 2889 1757 http://www.eurocave-alpha.com Email: alpha@eurocave-alpha.com

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Stephan Winkler has been appointed general manager at Anantara Bali Uluwatu Resort & Spa, a recently opened property on Bali’s southern coast. A German national, Winkler is an industry veteran with 30 years of experience in the field. He has worked at hotels in Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Stephan Winkler Alice Mafaity

Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel Shanghai has appointed Alice Mafaity executive assistant manager of operations. A French national, Mafaity has more than four years of hospitality experience. In 2007 she was appointed assistant F&B director at Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai. More recently, she worked as the director of F&B for Mina A’ Salam Hotel in Dubai. Tobias Pfister is joining Jumeirah Himalayas Hotel as executive chef. He previously worked as executive sous chef for eight years at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai. From Germany, Tobias has had more than 18 years of experience in the industry across Germany, Switzerland, London, Dubai and now Shanghai.

REDEFINE ELEGANCE GROHE GRANDERA

A French national, Thomas Barguil has been appointed GM at Thailand’s Anantara Hua Hin Resort & Spa. With almost 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, Barguil has worked at hotels in France, Egypt, Morocco, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Mauritius, the Maldives and Thailand.
Thomas Barguil Tobias Pfister

Singapore’s Crowne Plaza Changi Airport has named Bill Sheppard GM. An industry veteran with more than 35 years of experience, he has worked at hotels in Europe, the US, the Middle East and Australia. Prior to his appointment, Sheppard was regional GM for the UAE and GM at Crowne Plaza Deira Dubai.
Bill Sheppard Manabu Oikawa

Langham Place, Mongkok, Hong Kong, has appointed Manabu Oikawa as Japanese chef de cuisine at Tokoro – Robatayaki & Whisky Bar. Having worked in both traditional Japanese and contemporary western kitchens for more than 20 years in Japan, New York, London and Hong Kong, Chef Manabu takes an unconventional approach to his craft.

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Carlos Souza has been appointed GM at Crowne Plaza Hong Kong Kowloon East and Holiday Inn Express Hong Kong Kowloon East, Hong Kong’s first twin-brand hotel project. Having joined the InterContinental Hotels Group in 2001, he most recently was the general manager of InterContinental One Thousand Island Lake Resort in Hangzhou, China. Frederic Chretien has been named GM of the Outrigger Mauritius Resort and Spa, which will open in December 2013. Before joining Outrigger, Chretien was GM of The Residence, Mauritius, for 14 years. He also spent 10 years with the InterContinental Hotel Group in France and five years with Sun International in the Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean. Vinexpo has appointed Guillaume Deglise chief executive of Vinexpo and Vinexpo Overseas. He takes over from Robert Beynat, who moves on to become special advisor to Pierre Goguet, president of the Vinexpo Directorate and chairman of the Bordeaux Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the exhibitions to be held in Asia in 2014.

FRHI Hotels & Resorts has appointed Mark Sergot senior vice president of global sales. With an extensive background in hospitality, Sergot brings more than 20 years of hotel and sales related experience to his new position. FRHI is the parent company of Raffles Hotels & Resorts, Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, and Swissôtel Hotels & Resorts.
Carlos Souza Mark Sergot

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Nadine Maurellet

Nadine Maurellet has been appointed general counsel of The Hongkong and Shanghai Hotels, Ltd, a Hong Kong-listed company and owner and operator of The Peninsula Hotels. Over the past 12 years, Maurellet has practised corporate law and corporate finance law in private practice in major international financial centres including Hong Kong, London and Shanghai. Shantha De Silva has been appointed GM at InterContinental Singapore. He will continue with his senior leadership role within IHG Group as director of operations for IHG Singapore, Malaysia and Philippines. De Silva has been with IHG for more than 30 years, starting his career in 1982 at the InterContinental Hotel in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Inspired by the timeless grandeur of the Eiffel Tower, the graceful and regal curves of the king and queen of the chessboard, and the hue of high-end jewelry, what is most striking about the GROHE Grandera™ is its quiet luxurious elegance. There is a presidential/top executive charisma that its stature emanates. The masterful modern twist that Grohe’s design team added to its geometrics – the squircle, or the marriage of the square and the circle – makes the GROHE Grandera™ both classic and modern. Not to mention irresistibly romantic and universally appealing. GROHE.HK INFO@GROHE.HK TEL: 2969 7067

Guillaume Deglise

Shantha De Silva

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HALL OF FAME
Major events often make their presence felt well in advance: discover our new fully automatic coffee machine Melitta® Cafina® XT6 at the Igeho. And experience efficiency in perfection. We look forward to seeing you at the Igeho, Basel from 23.-27. November 2013 Hall 1.1, Booth F101 Melitta SystemService www.melittasystemservice.de
® registered trademark of a Melitta Group company