Marriott’s Christian Abell on what five-stars can learn from fast-food chains like McDonald’s

In an exclusive chat with Hotelier Middle East, Abell talks about Marriott's strict hygiene policy as well

Christian Abell
Christian Abell

Marriott International’s vice president food & beverage, Christian Abell might not want to compete with fast-food chains, but he does believe that there is a lot that luxury hotels can learn from them.

Maintaining hygiene standards, he believes, are one of them

“Bigger F&B outlets and restaurants at luxury properties can learn hygiene standards from chains like McDonald’s.  They are very good at this,” Abell explained.

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“The other thing that is impressive about McDonald’s is how they have streamlined their processes. They make things more labour free and focus on how their processes can be made easier for the employees. Take for instance their touchscreen options at the outlets.

“Do I want to compete with them? No. But they do a pretty good job and that needs to be appreciated,” he added.

Marriott’s hygiene programme

Talking about how Marriott maintains its hygiene standards, Abell said that they are very particular that all their hotels follow a strict policy.

“We run two programmes. Every hotel is designed to have control points. We run an internal order system where chefs take food temperatures every day and they make sure they’re buying from approved suppliers. We also have brand orders doing random checks,” he said.

According to Abell, these random checks keep everyone on their toes as it also amounts to points. “As the general manager of a hotel, if you get foul points on your brand order you’re in trouble. There are not many times that you can foul your order before we take action,” he added.

In markets like Africa, Marriott is very particular about the very basic points of hygiene like washing one’s hands. Abell said, “We start with something as simple as a poster on how to wash your hands and we even have visual training.”

In addition to that, Marriott also runs spot checks by a hygiene manager who reports to HR and not the executive chef. “This maintains an air of transparency,” he said.

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