While kosher caterers report that many clients are “cutting the fat” out of affairs they make, hotels and several restaurants that also do catering are actually projecting a significant increase in business. Hotels throughout the country continue to open separate kosher kitchens, reports www.hotelinteractive.com, a daily on-line newsletter for the hotel industry.
The Skokie-based 369-room Doubletree Hotel & Conference Center reports a significant increase in kosher events, especially meetings, and a more upscale consumer.
“In the past, kosher was about a value buy,” said Joseph Dadiego, general manager of the hotel. “Now we are finding some kosher customers willing to pay a premium for a nicer package.”
In late 2006, the Hilton Cartagena in Cartagena, Colombia, added a kosher kitchen. Since then, the 341-unit, 14-meeting room hotel has been attracting Jewish guests from all over Latin American and the United States and the number of kosher events held at the hotel has nearly doubled. Though the kitchen was expensive to build and is costly to maintain, with almost no other nearby hotels equipped with kosher facilities, Hilton is betting that the venture will pay off.
Interactive also reports that when the Trump SoHo New York opens late next year, it will be home to Masri’s Quattro, an Italian restaurant – modeled after the Miami original of the same name – that will have three kitchens: one for the restaurant, one for hotel room service and a kosher kitchen for events in the hotel’s banquet room.
Manhattan is, of course, the mecca of kosher catering, where some hotels report that it represents from 15% – 25% of their kosher catering business.
Shimon Fink of the Metro Club restaurant located in the Crowne Plaza in Downtown Chicago also considers off-site catering a major part of his business. “We intended to use our kosher restaurant as both a service to kosher diners but also as a showcase for the kind of quality we bring to kosher catering.”
Major hotels also vie for the lucrative Passover business and for many it is also a destination for other Jewish holidays, thanks to many organizers of groups.