Summary of the interview at the 2017 Stay Boutique Leadership Conference with
Sam Nazarian, CEO, sbe Group
Daniel del Olmo, ex-CEO, Disruptive Restaurant Group & Umami Burger
Watch their panel session below
Sam Nazarian’s sbe Group employs the ‘all under one roof’ philosophy for their global lifestyle communities, made up of over 150 luxury properties in North America. By strategically placing restaurants and bars within and surrounding your hotel, you can control the experience of your guests. Sam believes that in order to constantly stay relevant when you’re in so many business lines like sbe Group, you have to focus on more than design and gimmicks. “You have to have culinary and hospitality expertise to make these unique. If you’re courageous enough to have a point of view, you can outdo the cookie-cutter brand,” he says.
Food and beverage are the most difficult to do, which is why Umami Burger came to sbe. They knew by partnering with them they could be put into multiple hotels with more expansion likely. By consistently creating interesting partnerships with restaurants like Umami Burger and Cleo Hollywood, sbe Group has created disruptive brands that matter. Their partners understand how to operate at the level they do with chefs and staff focusing on every tiny detail. “As a lifestyle brand, you have to be sending your consumers what you think they expect from you,” Sam says. “With the desire for plant-based products growing, we are moving it into Cleo as well as Umami.”
Getting as many properties into a specific area as possible helps groups like sbe to solidify their position. By having one hotel and nine restaurants, all operating with the same dedication to service and luxury, you set a precedent that allows them to support and feed off each other. The desire of sbe Group is to create a legacy in hospitality by being authentic, while still being bold. “The smaller lifestyle groups don’t care about making money, it’s all about the brand; however, the big guys have to make money. Instead of being a big ship,” Sam says, “we’re a pretty cool yacht to be on.”