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In this episode of Hospitality Hangout, Michael Schatzberg, “The Restaurant Guy,” and Jimmy Frischling, “The Finance Guy,” sit down with second-time guest Sam Bakhshandehpour, CEO of José Andrés Group.

Sam started his career as a financial analyst, working with major banks such as Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan, UBS, and Bear Stearns, and has a background in real estate. He transitioned into the hospitality industry, starting with the SLS Hotel and later partnering with José Andrés through Silverstone and the Bazaar brand. His experience includes successfully integrating nightlife, dining, and hotel services to create a comprehensive guest experience. By combining his financial expertise, hospitality experience, and strategic vision, Sam has successfully guided the José Andrés Group to new heights, ensuring the brand’s continued growth and excellence in the industry.

Key Takeaways:

  • Breaking News: The José Andrés Group (JAG) is expanding its presence in the hospitality industry.
  • The concept of “activating the whole hotel box” involves creating a holistic experience for guests, integrating lodging, dining, and entertainment. Sam emphasizes the “trifecta” for creating a successful hospitality experience. This model ensures guests have an all-encompassing experience, leading to higher guest satisfaction and increased revenue.
  • The Bazaar Hotel brand draws from the successful SLS Hotel concept, where the restaurant and hotel experiences are intertwined.
  • Sam mentions that implementing this model has led to one of the highest-grossing restaurants in Manhattan and top room rates in the city.
  • Impact on the Brand: Sam discusses the strategic expansion of José Andrés Group into the media space, leveraging content to drive engagement and business growth across their restaurants and products. The brand’s storytelling capabilities create engaging and informative media that promote the brand’s restaurants and products.
  • Is there potential for career growth in hospitality? The importance of mentorship and the value of diverse experiences within the industry.
  • José Andrés Group emphasizes purpose-driven work, exemplified by World Central Kitchen’s humanitarian efforts.
  • Sam’s principle that “hospitality is a responsibility” emphasizes treating guests with respect and ensuring they have a great experience, and the mutual efforts required from both staff and guests to create exceptional experiences.
  • Talking Back: The hosts discuss the importance of leadership, team culture, consistency, and strategic growth in maintaining quality as a restaurant brand expands globally.

Enjoy the dynamic interaction between guest and hosts as Sam plays “What’s Hot and Not,” rating QR code ordering, virtual kitchens, and all-day breakfast, and other entertaining games like “Branded Quick Fire,” “Name That Recipe,” and “Trivia Tuesday.”

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