Four Seasons Goes to Paris Case Study
May 29, 2012
1) What was good/bad about the way Four Seasons entered the French/Paris market? Why do you say this?
Four Seasons is a globally renowned hotel company recognized for its luxurious diversity, and emphasis on customized service. The company has 270 core worldwide operating standards that are congruent across all properties. However, along with their globally uniform standards, they do an excellent job of integrating the local culture into each property. For example, a guest will always receive a message on time, have clean room, and enjoy a great meal. But an Italian concierge has his own style and flair, while in Turkey or Egypt, the guest
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In order to help Le Calvez and his team "Four Seasonize" the current Gearge V staff and ensure a smooth opening, the company assigned a 35-person task force, as it did for every new property. Composed of Four Seasons managers and staff, the task force, reflected the operating needs of the property. The assistance of the task force, a true human resource, made it easier to instill the Four Seasons standards into all of the employees, as well as expose potential new managers and general manager. In a diversion from Four Seasons practice, they hired a non-Four Seasons executive chef. The F.S. George V assistant food and beverage director noted, "in France, having a serious chef and serious food is important. You cannot be a palace hotel without that." Hiring Philippe Legendre, from world-renowned Parisian restaurant Taillevent, showed how important it was to Four Seasons to have the caliber of food that was expected in France. However, the challenges lied in training Legendre to operate under Four Seasons standards, which meant the guest always comes first. The cultural differences required tremendous patience on the part of the restaurant, guests, and management, but Four Seasons did an excellent job in dealing with problematic situations. Being able to overcome these culinary obstacles revealed Legendre's character, as well as exemplary management by Four Seasons. Overall, I thought that Four Seasons executed every aspect of entering the French market. They