Kimpton has been developing concepts for its hotels since the company began in 1981. Rather than partnering with existing restaurants, as many hotels do, Senior Vice President of Restaurants & Bars Alex Taylor says it wants the “freedom and autonomy” to experiment and take risks. “By operating our own concepts, we’re able to create a unified vision and make a unanimous commitment to all of our stakeholders. While concept development can be an intense multiyear process, we intentionally bring operations, culinary and bar talent into the fold early on, giving them emotional equity in the concept.”
Taylor says that means development is a bottom-up, not top-down process, with staff given “an equal seat at the table with senior leadership” to create concepts. It’s not relying solely on its internal staff, though. Kimpton invests heavily in research, planning, development and training, bringing on “industry-leading” chefs and bartenders to work with its team, says Taylor.
Its collaborative approach not only helped Kimpton earn a spot on Forbes’ list of the 100 best companies to work for, but it gives each concept a distinct personality. Rather than make an existing concept fit into a hotel, Kimpton creates new brands for each property. Its portfolio includes 85 distinct restaurants and bars in 33 cities. The latest includes its first sites in the Cayman Islands, and it plans to continue the international push this year with its first European location in Amsterdam this spring.
Concepts: 312 Chicago, Area 31, B&O Brasserie, Bambara Cambridge, Bambara Salt Lake City, Bar Rouge, Bookstore Bar & Cafe, Brabo, Cobalt, Firefly, Starlight Room, Heaton’s Reef Bar & Grill, Nios, Pacci Italian Kitchen, Panzano, Pazzo Ristorante, Red Star Tavern, Ruby Room, Sable Kitchen & Bar, Sazerac, Scala’s Bistro, LoungeSix, South Water Kitchen, Square 1682, The Grille, The Social Club, Urbana and more