Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. McKeown

Thomas McKeown

Executive Chef, Hyatt Regency Atlanta

Armed with a wealth of international culinary experience, Chef Thomas McKeown joined Hyatt Regency Atlanta as Executive Chef. Before his current role overseeing the property’s dining experiences, Polaris, Sway, Twenty-Two Storys and Market, as well as its in-room dining, special events and banquet operations, Chef McKeown served as Executive Chef at Grand Hyatt Atlanta for five years. Born and trained in Europe, Chef McKeown began his culinary career at the prominent Limerick Golf Club in Ireland. He completed his culinary training on both sides of the Atlantic at the Limerick Institute of Technology in Ireland and Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, where he earned a Master’s degree in Food Service Education. Following his studies, Chef McKeown refined his knowledge of contemporary American cuisine as Sous Chef at the exclusive Somerset Club in Boston and moved on to become Executive Chef at the Ellis Hotel in downtown Atlanta, where he concentrated on local sustainable cuisine. Chef McKeown is a member of Hyatt’s Sustainable and Responsible Eating Team, a Corp. initiative which promotes serving local, healthy and responsibly raised ingredients in all Hyatt dining experiences. In 2013, Chef McKeown was awarded “Executive Chef of the Year” by Hyatt Hotels. Passionate about food and an advocate of local and sustainable sourcing, Chef McKeown is also involved with the Hospitality Education Foundation of Georgia. When he’s not in the kitchen, he can be found at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market or at local farms alongside his wife Lacy and two children, Aiden and Conner, where he has started Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs.

Please visit http://www.hyatt.com for more information.

Mr. McKeown can be contacted at 404-577-1234 or thomas.mckeown@hyatt.com

Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.