Holiday Inn Grand Island
Waseem Mango has a lot going on. The general manager of the Holiday Inn Grand Island—a deluxe resort and conference center located on an island in the Niagara River, 15 minutes from Niagara Falls—presides over a food-and-beverage operation that includes two restaurants (one with a spectacular view of the upper Niagara River) and a full-service coffee shop. There is also room service for more than 260 guestrooms, and extensive meeting and event facilities.
“We’re a hotspot for weddings, and we do a lot with the local market,” both U.S. and Canadian, says Mango, who has been with the hotel since 2002. “We target people who don’t want to stay at Niagara Falls, with facilities that are more upscale yet laidback.”
Events include everything from conferences and social functions—the Holiday Inn Grand Island boasts more than 28,000 square feet of event space, including two gazebos and a beautiful riverside room—to a packed, family-friendly New Year's Eve bash that includes not only a buffet table placed at kids’ height but a balloonist and a cartoonist. In fact, conferences and events help keep the resort humming throughout the winter season.
Not surprisingly, all this business generates a need for all sorts of Nestlé Professional™ products. Mango stocks 15 different Nestlé Professional brands, ranging from Coffee-Mate® and Perugina® to Minor's® sauces and bases.
Mango is particularly pleased with a new Nescafé® Specialty Beverage system that can be used for both hot and iced coffee, available in three different flavors: French Vanilla, Mocha and Latte. “It’s great for us because of the seasons—we don’t need two different machines for summer and winter,” notes Mango. “And we’re a high-volume operation. When you’ve got 200 convention attendees taking a coffee break you need something that can deliver quantity and quality. It’s part of our overriding directive to provide timely service.”
Holiday Inn Grand Island has been a member of Foodservice Rewards® since 2004. That's when Mango and his executive chef decided to see what the program could do for them. “Because of our volume, we accumulate points quickly, and we’ve used them for everything from new supplies and upscale buffet equipment to perks for the employees,” says Mango. In fact, the food-and-beverage team uses the gifts as a tool to reward and motivate “anyone who shows a spark,” as Mango puts it. “If we have an employee that’s involved in a development program like culinary classes, we’ll select a nice carving set as an incentive.”
Mango also uses Foodservice Rewards as a marketing tool. He uses points to “purchase” toasters, then makes up gift baskets that also include local products like jams and spreads, which salespeople can take on calls to their corporate accounts. “It makes us look great, and it puts the Niagara region top-of-mind, every time the client uses the toaster.”
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