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So French, so artisan

Sofitel stands strategically placed in a hub which is considered to be one of the most promising business zones of the country’s commercial capital, but it somehow lacked the appeal which the brand represents globally. Biswajit Chakraborty, general manager, Sofitel Mumbai BKC, the newly appointed general manager has promised to recreate the Sofitel magic. He shares his game plan with Reema Lokesh

The brand Sofitel is undoubtedly Accor’s jewel in the crown and though worldwide it demands a certain recognition and recall, its position in Mumbai went through its share of challenges and teething issues. Since its inception, the property has faced challenging times right from the construction stages continuing into the post completion phase. However, though critics expressed skepticism, a strong brand cannot be written off and is now getting back into fore full throttle.

Biswajit Chakraborty

The newly appointed general manager Biswajit Chakraborty has a well structured and meticulous plan in place to reignite the Sofitel magic and has already set the ball rolling steadily but surely. He is a confident man and with his in depth experience in the market propelled by working with leading Indian brands, he understands the pulse and culture of the city and is ready to roll out the French hospitality perfectly intertwined with the local flavour and taste. Chakraborty says, “I have been following the brand Sofitel for many years. I have had a long stint with the best Indian brands as they are second to none. However, working with an international brand does inculcate new learnings. Accor brings with it rock solid systems and a structure that is foolproof, from guest feedback to training. I was sent for my initial training and induction to China that helped me understand the brand and its brand ideology better. The training reinforced the strong DNA of the brand, which is reflected rightly in the company logo, which is that of being a French brand with strong local blends.” The brand reflects the five senses which is highlighted through the brand’s uniform, decor, music and food. Performance at Accor is judged only through guest satisfaction; the company believes firmly that if the staff is happy it will reflect in their work, hence the foundation and essence of their training rest on the fact that one has to serve from the heart and the company goes on to call its staff their ambassadors. The emphasis on people is rather strong. The training imparted conveys a strong message to respect one’s self before respecting others. Chakraborty adds, “The training imparted at Accor is like a university itself as the company ambassadors are put through intensive online and off training modules on a regular basis. The learning is continuous and constant. At Accor the guest satisfaction monitoring system is also water tight.”

Since the time he has taken charge, he has put his expertise into action by making some minor changes, which in fact has already started to show positive results. He says his immediate agenda is to increase engagement and visibility. The confectionery outlet called Artisan, which was hidden from public eye, was brought into prominence and the smell of freshly baked bread works well as a welcoming aroma.

Chakraborty plans to do more with the F&B set up in the lobby area and is confident that the minor modifications will bring its share of repeat clientele. Épicerie, Pâtisserie, Chocolaterie, Boulangerie and Charcuterie are all part of the Artisan world. The venue also serves up as an area that provides musical experiences and moods every evening.

Be it the jazz greats or the Blues masters, there will be a specific sound design catering to the business district’s luxury customers. Commenting on the Artisan story, Chakraborty, opines, “We are proud to unveil a new avatar of Artisan with its contemporary and chic feel that will delight our guests, returning and new. Through these performances we would like to provide a platform to gifted talent as part of our Artisan artists programme. Given Sofitel Luxury Hotel’s three brand pillars of gastronomy, culture and design, we will offer a diverse experience to our guests, ranging from Margarita Mondays to Sangria Saturdays. Gourmand customers can look forward to an epicurean delight along with soothing sounds of jazz and blues.”

A French sit out style dining experience is also planned to add special flavours to its F&B experience. He believes in bringing out simple but powerful touch points to the entire experience. He further goes on to explain the importance of their young guests at Sofitel and proudly shows me a picture of a child being treated with the same respect as an adult who checks into Sofitel.

Its well received So Spa, will also witness enhanced services as planned. There are plans to add an exclusive Ayurveda menu to its existing services. Further, he believes firmly in the power of team work and encourages his team to think out of the box. From culture and events, design and innovation, to gastronomy and wine, he plans to execute every area of work seamlessly.

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