Denis Courtiade is the manager of the Restaurant Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée as well as the President of the organization Ô’Services. The organization ensures the promotion of service careers in restaurants. As DELPORTE Hospitality will be a partner of the organization O’Services, I will be publishing interviews with the main figures of the organization. I leave you to discover the interview with Denis Courtiade.
With its history, its traditions, its taste for magnificence, France has developed a rich expertise in hotel architecture that has consequently engendered an art of welcoming. What is your own definition or vision of the French art of welcoming? What is your vision of the art of welcoming one’s guests in 2016? What does it mean to ‘welcome’ someone today in hotels?
What a wonderful question…at any rate, this is the question that I want to ask to those in my profession: how can we talk about French hospitality without referring to the past? …these last three years, along with members of my organization Ô Services, we have made the following observation: yes, service in the French style still means something today, but alas, it exists more in the imagination of foreign clients who have come to discover our beautiful country…let us be realistic… it no longer means very much…sometimes I am even surprised to receive good service… and I no longer complain about being served poorly…it’s become a kind of resignation, no?
With the members of my organization, we have decided to unite forces and leave to conquer the future young maîtres d’hôtel who are currently in hospitality schools. We are determined to explain to them that our career is a true vocation, one that offers us the incredible chance to take care of another—the guest…we wish to restore confidence back to an entire profession…the tragic events of these last few months shows to what extent the traveling client is our true source of richness.
In general, the world of hotels has held very little interest toward careers in service. And yet, hotel clients are in search of experiences, meetings and exchanges. Careers in service are thus the key to this experience. How do you see the evolution of service careers in the hotel world? What are the three major trends that guide you in your activities for O’Services?
It is true that hospitality careers have greatly invested in domains like well-being (spa/institutes), new technology, the culture of differentiating in light of competition, in the ‘Wow’ effect…but also in the media image of their company in an effort to create a constant buzz by associating, among others, the great names of the profession, such as chefs, pastry chefs, florists, sommeliers… some great efforts of investment have also been undertaken in training their staff members in order to better prepare them to welcome clients from BRICS countries…moreover, employees have been made more aware of a greater diversity as well as of a better financial management of their professional activities.
But be what it may, the loyal client loves to come upon familiar faces since he likes above all to be recognized. Ensuring a stable team, with little turnover among employees, ultimately goes toward ensuring a sustainable success. So yes, the experience is, above all, human. We came to understand this at the Plaza Athénée because there, we are talking about the human heritage when talk about employees who run the hotel 365 days of the year…
Among the actions that we lead in our profession (companies, hospitality schools, institutions…) through our organization Ô’Services, we can highlight some large trends of improvement on the following points:
- The appreciation of careers in service and reception
- Sharing our experiences and expertise in order to better welcome new clients from BRICS countries
- The welcoming and integration and respect of new generations of staff members: the x’s and the y’s
- The positive evolution of moral values, attitudes and behaviors between employees
- The movement toward a greater male-female parity
- Opening up, sharing, exchanging…not being afraid of others…‘opening’ the profession up and making it more contemporary
DENIS COURTIADE – Biography
- 2015 ** / 2016 *** ‘Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée’ – 75008 Paris– Restaurant Manager
- 2015 Oct ‘Le Prix du Service’, Le Chef Magazine
- 2015 ‘Service à la française’ – Vice-president founder for the Bocuse d’Or contest for the restaurant floor
- 2013 *** ‘Le Meuriceby Alain Ducasse’ – 75001 Paris – Chargé de Mission for the two-month opening
- 2000/2014… *** ‘Alain Ducasse at the Plaza Athénée’ – 75008 Paris –Restaurant Manager
- 2012 Nov ‘Ô’Services – The Talents of Tomorrow’ – Founder-President of the Association
- 2011 ‘Grand Prize of the Art of the Service Floor’ – World’s Best Maître d’hôtel of 2010’ awarded by the Académie Internationale de la Gastronomie, 25 Countries
- 1996/2000 *** ‘Alain Ducasse 59 Poincaré’ – 75116 Paris – 1st Maître d’hôtel and Floor Manager
- 1995/1996 ‘Club Monte’s – Alain Ducasse’ – London – England –Restaurant Manager
- 1991/1994 *** ‘Le Louis XV – Alain Ducasse’ – MC 98000 – Monaco – Second Maître d’Hôtel
- 1991 ‘1st Head Waiter in France at the 1991 Jacquart Trophy’ National Exam at Reims
- 1989/1991 ** ‘La Belle Otéro’ – Carlton Casino Club – 06400 Cannes – Head Waiter
- 1988/1989 ‘Hotel Allodis’ – 73550 Méribel les Allues – Head Waiter
- 1988 ** ‘Hotel Juana – Restaurant La Terrasse’ – 06160 Juan les Pins – Head Waiter
- 1987 ‘Grand HotelIntercontinental Paris Opera’ – 75009 Paris – Head Waiter
- 1987 * ‘La Ferme de Mougins’ – 06250 Mougins – Head Waiter
- 1986/1987 National Military Service at the Cercle des Officiers of Versailles – Head Waiter
- 1985/1986 * ‘Shoppenhangers Manor Restaurant’ – Berkshire – England – Head Waiter
- 1982/1985 ** ‘Auberge des Templiers’ 45290 Les Bézards Boismorand – Apprentice & Waiter
Laurent Delporte, an editor and conference speaker, is a strategic expert in the sector of hotels. A visionary, he brings his unique look on hotels in service to the decision-makers in the industry, whether to enhance the development of new projects or strategic visions.
Laurent has visited and audited over 350 hotels across the world and also participates in mystery visits to provide quality control for the world’s finest hotels.