Vendôm the exclusive luxury network

20/07/2021

INTERVIEW: Jérôme Montantème, General Manager, Fauchon l'Hôtel Paris

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Since its opening in 2018, Fauchon l’Hôtel has been an icon in the upscale Parisian hotel scenery. The most famous international delicatessens had decided to expand its centuries-old expertise, promoter of French exceptional products, to the art of hospitality and global experience. Beyond its gourmet decoration and epicurean atmosphere, the concept was designed to delight all the senses.

Jérôme Montantème, General Manager and specialist in tableware, is passionate about hospitality and service. After working in some of the most beautiful 5 star hotels in the South of France and thereafter working at the Villa Florentine in Lyon, he became General Manager of the Tiara Yaktsa and Tiara Miramar Beach Hotel & Spa hotels in Théoule-sur-Mer until he took up his position at Fauchon. Today, he shares with Vendôm their recent publication, Les Secrets du succès, a management tool for the service of individual and collective performance, with focus on the customer experience.

Vendom.jobs - We have entered an era of reinvention for all service sectors. How have you approached it? 

Jérôme Montantème – The past year has unfortunately shown us that there will not always be work in the hospitality industry. However, there are still great opportunities to seize and the crisis has allowed us to improve some of our protocols, including health, reception, access, etc. It has therefore not been a period of degradation, but of improvement in the level of service. We have, for example, gone even further in the notion of private space by asking our guests if we can access their room and under what conditions. When others have reduced their services – for example by emptying gourmet bars – we have strengthened each of them. Thus, we have revised our protocol at the reception level, with our initial support to our guests at the reception followed by support on the floors. For us, this period was a real opportunity to sharpen our thinking on services.

V.J. - Your publication, Les Secrets du succès, aims to provide answers to these new problems. Could you tell us more about it?

J. M. -  Les Secret du succès is a full description of the customer experience through three typical examples - a family with children who comes for a pleasure trip; a couple who will be engaged by the end of the stay; and finally a businessman who travels regularly and has his habits - from booking to check-out and even after. It is, therefore, a real response to these problems, since the book is designed to evolve. The page on the right is dedicated to the customer scenario and, on the left; we have the service pop-ups - behavioural study, emotional analysis, etc. - that can be annotated according to the employee's reflections. The idea is to transcribe the ability of each craftsman to create a strong emotion through the customer experience. Today, we can no longer be satisfied with only the SOPs and points submitted to us by various organisations to create customer enchantment. Triggering a strong emotion on the part of the customer is only possible thanks to the strong commitment of the employees.

That is why as soon as we opened, in collaboration with Erik Perey, we imagined 5 "ACCRO" values, which are as follows:

  • love to please;
  • celebrate;
  • create attentions;
  • delight the senses
  • dare to be different.

Through these values, we have created foundation points that serve as a basis for our employees to go further and make the customer experience memorable. It was also important to write this book so that each craftsman, whether in back or front office, understands the importance of their work, attitude and acts that will be the base of this magic. 

V.J. Could you elaborate on the concept of "managerial excellence"?

J.M. – This term may seem somewhat pompous. But more than a fixed notion, it covers the objective that we aim to achieve and that we must support. I take up the idea of collaborator commitment that I have just introduced. We consider that there is no ability to enchant our customer if there is not a strong commitment on the part of the craftsman, but also his desire to fulfil. Management pop-ups, which correspond to our ACCRO values, are organised as follows:

  • "Love to please" corresponds with the idea of receiving each craftsman as a unique guest in our hotel.
  • "Celebrate" means making artisans enthusiastic.
  • "Creating attention" means supporting our employees to make them grow and enriched with knowledge, in return, our expertise.
  • "Daring to be different" means giving the craftsman the desire to get involved.

From there, we identified how we wanted to welcome our employees, starting from the writing of the job offer to then the first interview of the candidate, where we welcomed them as a customer, by making them visit the hotel and putting them in the best environment. This was done as we believed that we had to sell them the job position and its responsibilities. Following their entry into their roles, we established an induction day led by each department manager in order to present the values of the hotel. 

This part has therefore allowed us to work on the animation of the teams in relation to the messages that we intend to pass on to them during the briefings, in order to ensure that our ACCRO values are respected and deepened.

V.J. - Do you already have a foresight on these methods?

J.M. – We already have some foresight, but no precise measures yet. We know that it is difficult to get 75 employees to read a book. To make the exercise more enjoyable and fun, we staged the seven chapters in seven video clips shot in different locations.  We have also developed a "Talent" application that allows the employee to test his knowledge on his phone. We make management fun, in a way.

V.J. – As you speak of your collaborators, you have used the term "craftsmen" to designate them. This has a significant meaning in the world of gastronomy and luxury.

J.M. - I use it because, for me, it refers to the idea of mastery and strong values, such as: tailor-made service and/or products, exceptionality, etc.  The expertise of the people of reception and service has been underestimated for too long. I started my career in the dining room and all the hotel concepts I have developed are centred around hospitality and service. If it were easy to be a craftsman of happiness, everyone could get into these professions. This is not the case. They require a real commitment, a know-how.  Every day I take lessons from my kitchen staff to the valet, including the maids. Everyone has their own techniques and a strong positive attitude. I think that this should be emphasised more, particularly in the media. 

V.J. – On the other hand, we are talking more and more about the transversality of functions and tasks. What is your opinion on this? How do you see the transformation of the professions that require a sharp know-how?

J.M. - As soon as we love the service and it reflects in the customer’s experience, we all have an interest in being more versatile. I believe that this trend already existed before the crisis, but the crisis has played a major role in bringing us back to simpler, more grounded values. We are now moving towards more authenticity in the professional-client relationship. Even if we digress a little, I think we will not lose this increased attention to others, these human values. We have always strived for this at Fauchon. From the offset, we knew that our ACCRO values were strong and the crisis has made them become even more present.

V.J. - As a manager, whether from the profession or not, who has inspired you?

J.M. - Bernard Lambert guided and inspired me a lot, as well as Jacques-Olivier Chauvin when we were opening the Fauchon l'Hôtel. I have been inspired greatly by the big bosses and, curiously, by certain politicians. Not for their political background, but for their work ethic and their commitment. There is no success, no excellence without unwavering commitment. This was my perspective for Fauchon l'Hôtel, without having the pretentiousness to compare us to the great historic Parisian hotels. Our purpose is to push the customer experience, tailor-made service, and the creation of emotion ever further.

V.J. - How would you then define the experience of Fauchon l'Hôtel?  What about its art of welcoming?

J.M. - When I talk about tailor-made service and “enchanting” our customers, I must admit that in the end, we all have the same ambitions. At Fauchon, we are fortunate to have a strong brand with a clear and well-defined concept: to be the first hotel for gourmets. It is not insignificant that the most renowned of luxury grocers has opened a hotel in the capital of the country of gastronomy! The concept is simple but is based on a brand that reflects the quality and the exceptionality of French products and the French way of life. 

Our assets, and our originality, are therefore to be oriented around the gourmet experience, having particular attention for our female clientele. Even if our hotel speaks to everyone, we have chosen to focus more attention on women, for example in the decoration, or by having beauty accessories, etc. We went very far with the feminine gourmet concept.

V.J. - Has the period of uncertainty that we have just passed given you a new way approach in your profession?

J.M. – I do not really think so, rather it has rather strengthened my convictions in terms of reception, service, and relationship with our customers.  I have always been convinced that our guests want to build a real relationship that goes beyond the duration of their stay. To sum up, you must be "the right man at the right place at the right time". You have to be available and be willing to please. It may seem obvious, but you must dare to ask: "Is there anything we could do to make your stay even more enjoyable".

Fauchon l’Hôtel*****

4 Boulevard Malesherbes

75008 Paris

+33 1 87 86 28 00

(Photo credit: Fauchon l’Hôtel)