Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Raz

Jonathan M. Raz

Director of Food & Beverage, Waldorf Astoria Orlando

With nearly 20 years of experience in food and banquet operations, Jonathan M. Raz brings a passion for innovative cuisine to his position as director of food and beverage at Waldorf Astoria Orlando and Hilton Orlando Bonnet Creek. Mr. Raz manages the F&B operations of the hotel complex, including 12 dining outlets, in-room dining service for 1,500 guest rooms and an extensive banquet facility. Offering over eight years of experience as director of food and beverage under the Hilton umbrella, Mr. Raz plays a pivotal role in the property’s renowned culinary program, where he works with more than 150 chefs to develop delectable dining experiences and creative group catering menus that continue to earn top honors in food and beverage excellence. Mr. Raz’s greatest joy comes from developing original restaurant and bar concepts that provide guests with a customized dining experience. A natural leader, Mr. Raz relishes mentoring and collaborating with his culinary team, helping them hone their skills and push creative boundaries. Exposed to the food operations business at an early age by his father, a food and beverage director himself, Mr. Raz constantly challenges his chefs to develop new approaches to their cooking with a focus on creating ahead-of-the-trend menus that still evoke the comforts of classic dishes. While the majority of his day is spent in operations, Mr. Raz makes time to interact with guests and strives to provide an unforgettable dining experience for every visitor who sets foot in his restaurants. Mr. Raz began his career as the banquet manager at DoubleTree Guest Suites in New York City, working his way up to assistant director of banquets and events at the Waldorf Astoria New York, where he oversaw the operation of presidential dinners and exclusive galas. He continued his career with Hilton as assistant director of food and beverage at Hilton Americas and as director of food and beverage at Hilton Baltimore before his most recent position as director of food and beverage at Hilton Orlando, overseeing all kitchen operations, budgeting and restaurant concepts. Mr. Raz made a name for himself as a culinary leader when he helped open Hilton Baltimore, recruiting all leadership positions and directly supervising the executive chef, director of catering, director of banquet operations and assistant director of food and beverage. An avid cook, Mr. Raz brings his culinary expertise home with him, where he enjoys spending quality time with his wife and three children, dining out and finding time for an occasional round of golf.

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

Mr. Raz can be contacted at 407-597-5500 or jonathan.raz@hilton.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.