Changing the Recipe on Hotel Dining

Crain’s Cleveland Business interviewed H&LA President David Sangree about how hotels are transitioning away from cookie-cutter eateries to chef-driven concepts featuring custom-crafted menus. 


Twenty to 30 years ago, a number of hotel brands partnered with outside restaurant operators with the hopes of appealing to both guests and the community while generating a guaranteed lease payment. 

But quality control was inconsistent depending on the lessee/operator, so hotels eventually brought their food and beverage operations in-house, replacing their independent concepts with standard bistros that served predictable American fare, said David Sangree, president of Lakewood-based Hotel & Leisure Advisors, a hospitality industry consulting firm. 

But in recent years, hotels — particularly luxury, upper upscale and upscale brands — have realized that a sustainable option for attracting locals and out-of-town guests to their properties come in the form of one-off chef-driven concepts with painstakingly crafted menus. 

“The brands are becoming more interested in their restaurants’ appeal to the local public,” Sangree said. “They’re giving the developers more flexibility in developing a concept that will be popular with local diners.”

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