Name: Cristian Vasquez
Title: Food and beverage director
Company, city: The Westin New York Grand Central, New York
Number of employees: Approximately 100
Recent project: We implemented a new point of sale system that allows us to better service our guests by making it easier for associates to input orders in the restaurant, bar and room service.
First job: Food and beverage intern, Atlantic City Trump Hotel and Casino
Little-known fact about you: I love the outdoors. I compete in Spartan Races, an obstacle course challenge that tests your strength and endurance.
Essential business philosophy: Treat associates the way you expect them to treat guests. Happy Associate = Happy Guest.
Best way to keep a competitive edge: Stay on top of what competitors are doing by experiencing it. Use that information to continually improve what you offer your own guests.
Yardstick of success: Success is more than achieving goals — it’s about learning from your mistakes. As long as I have truly given my all and dedicated 100 percent of myself to a project, I feel a sense of accomplishment.
Cristian Vasquez as a Traveler
What is the most important item you take when traveling? An extra pair of contact lenses; I once tore a contact lens on vacation and spent the week wearing only my left lens!
How do you spend your time on board? Enjoying a glass of red wine and an in-flight movie
What is your favorite restaurant in the world? Daniel by Chef Daniel Boulud serves modern French cuisine with an American touch. It has the best wine list in N.Y.C. — more than 2,000 bottles from all over the world — an incredible seasonal menu and service that’s just extraordinary.
What is your favorite destination in the world? Dominican Republic
About The Westin New York Grand Central
Tell us about THE LCL: Bar & Kitchen, the hotel’s on-site restaurant.
THE LCL or “local” offers creative cocktails and a seasonal menu in a contemporary setting. The name is inspired by the many local elements we offer, from small-batch spirits and regionally brewed craft beers to seasonal dishes with market-fresh ingredients, including items from our rooftop garden. We feature global wine offerings and a rotating selection of Gerber Group’s classic and modern cocktails, alongside a kicked-up comfort food menu with signature favorites like deviled organic eggs, LCL LaFrieda burger and kale salad. We also serve Starbucks coffee, Liquiteria juices and fresh grab-and-go items in the morning. The restaurant’s design is inspired by nature, with a curtain wall of vertical natural walnut planks, soft-colored reflective glass and an illuminated “forest wall” which transitions from day to night.
What can hotel guests expect from the property’s food and beverage experience in 2015?
Weather permitting, we look forward to serving a larger variety of fresh, organic vegetables and salads this summer from our rooftop garden. We’re also excited to offer more interactive food stations in banquets and catering, providing a truly unique experience. We are preparing to roll out a room service program that will enable guests to order through an in-room smart TV. At THE LCL, we’ll continue experimenting with new cocktails and expanding our menu with innovative options while offering the comfort food guests crave when they’re away from home.
What do you see as the latest trends in on-site dining in the hotel industry?
As part of efforts to minimize cost and labor, I think more properties will expand their restaurants to include a grab-and-go option for all meal periods that will eventually reduce or completely replace room service. Hotels can offer guests more variety and fresh, healthier options because products would be made to order and they offer items already prepared. It also has the potential to increase bar revenue by encouraging guests to come down and eat at the bar or pick up a fresh pizza to bring up to their room.
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