Q&A with Hard Rock Hotel New York Food & Beverage Director

Hard Rock Hotel New York recently appointed Oscar Gonzalez as their new Food & Beverage Director. With a career steeped in culinary innovation and a profound commitment to exceptional guest experiences, Gonzalez steps into his new role after a successful tenure as the property’s Executive Chef, bringing a wealth of expertise and visionary leadership.

At Hard Rock Hotel New York, Gonzalez will spearhead the introduction of innovative concepts, curate immersive dining experiences, and foster a culture of culinary excellence in the properties two restaurants, in-room, and for events. He will oversee all aspects of the hotel's dining operations, including menu development, culinary direction, and guest satisfaction. 

Gonzalez brings over a decade of experience to Hard Rock Hotel New York and has worked with hotel giants, including Four Seasons, Ritz Carlton, Farimont San Francisco, Pelican Hill Resort, SLS and Taj Hotels. Oscar received his Associate Degree in Culinary at Le Cordon Bleu, Scottsdale, Arizona, where he found a passion for simplicity - treating every ingredient with passion and respect.

In his most recent position as Executive Chef of Hard Rock Hotel New York, Gonzalez demonstrated an unwavering commitment to culinary excellence and innovation, earning the admiration of both guests and colleagues alike.

We caught up with Gonzalez to talk about his plans for the Hard Rock Hotel New York and trends in hotel F&B.


oscar gonzalez hard rock hotel new york
Oscar Gonzalez (Photo: Nick Finochio)

What are your plans for the F&B program at Hard Rock Hotel NY?

Stepping into the role of Food & Beverage Director at Hard Rock Hotel New York, my biggest goal is to continue to create dynamic and unforgettable dining experiences that reflect the energy and spirit of the city. We aim to highlight the diverse culinary landscape of New York, offering a menu that caters to various tastes while maintaining the high standards associated with the Hard Rock Hotel name.  

As I continue my journey, one of the key focuses that has made us so successful has been to always focus on quality throughout all of our venues from both BOH and FOH. We’re working on a number of themed events, partnerships, and more with local and national brands that will elevate the guest experience and create memorable moments for each and every guest in our restaurants.


What are the most important factors in curating an immersive and memorable guest experience?

Creating immersive and memorable guest experiences involves a combination of factors. First and foremost, the ambiance and atmosphere play a crucial role, setting the stage for a memorable dining experience. Additionally, personalized and attentive service, innovative and high-quality cuisine, as well as a connection to the local culture and community, contribute to making a lasting impression. We also put an emphasis on a multi-faceted training of all staff, ensuring that guests have a sense of connection and engagement throughout their time at the hotel. 


What trends are you currently seeing in hotel F&B?

There are a few trends we’re seeing on the rise this year.

A rise in culinary-focused tourism - Consumers are increasingly seeking immersive experiences that go beyond traditional sightseeing, and one of the most compelling ways to engage with local culture is through its cuisine. Hard Rock Hotel New York offers all day, upscale dining. From breakfast staples at Sessions to evening cocktails at RT60, Hard Rock Hotel New York’s menus are consistently being refreshed with the finest ingredients using state-of-the-art techniques.

No / Low ABV Menu Options - This trend reflects a growing consumer interest in wellness-focused and mindful drinking experiences, as well as a desire for more diverse and sophisticated non-alcoholic beverage options. At Hard Rock Hotel New York, we’re continuing to expand beverage menus to feature a wider selection of creatively crafted low- or no-ABV cocktails, mocktails, and alcohol-free spirits. These offerings cater to guests seeking flavorful and visually appealing alternatives to traditional alcoholic beverages, without compromising on taste or complexity.


Recently, there has been a greater focus across the hotel industry on F&B. What do you think is behind this increased focused? 

The heightened focus on F&B in the hotel industry is likely driven by the recognition that dining experiences are integral to overall guest satisfaction. Travelers today are increasingly seeking unique and authentic experiences, and food plays a significant role in that. Hotels are realizing the potential of their F&B offerings not only as a revenue stream but also as a way to differentiate themselves and create a lasting impression on guests. As consumer expectations evolve, we’re more dedicated than ever to reworking and upgrading our F&B programs to meet these discerning guests' demands. On the other hand, there is a sense of convenience as we could provide a go-to option if hotel guests are already on property.

hard rock hotel new york food
Food offerings at Hard Rock Hotel New York. (Photo: Nick Finochio)


Are you hoping to attract both locals and tourists with your F&B program at Hard Rock Hotel NY? Why?

Absolutely, our F&B program at Hard Rock Hotel New York is designed to cater to both locals and tourists alike. By incorporating elements of the local culinary scene and collaborating with regional suppliers, we aim to offer an authentic New York dining experience. Attracting locals ensures that our F&B program becomes an integral part of the community, fostering a sense of belonging and creating a repeat customer base. By embracing food-driven tourists and locals alike, Hard Rock Hotel New York specifically appeals to conscientious travelers who value high-quality dining that pairs with live unplugged performances, which provides our own signature dining experience.


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