From kitchen to management: the Beck method
It isn’t easy to manage eleven successful restaurants around the world. You could say that, in order to do so, one needs “Teutonic” organizational skills and great management abilities. Heinz Beck (pictured) can boast having these skills on his resume. The German chef has run the La Pergola restaurant (three Michelin stars) at the Hotel Rome Cavalieri in Italy’s capital since 1994.
Along with his wife, Teresa Maltese, Beck manages his businesses via the Beck & Maltese Consulting company, which offers “all-around consulting in the food industry as well as partnerships, management services, research and innovation,” as the chef explains in this interview with MAG.
How many properties do you manage in Italy and abroad?
Currently, there are five in Italy and six abroad, from Portugal to Japan to Dubai. Some of these restaurants are partnerships with companies and international hotel chains, such as, for example, Hilton, Marka Holding and Waldorf Astoria. We own the others.
How can you manage them all?
We do it with operations managers and employees on site who take care of all of the administrative aspects as per local laws. We train our employees, not just in Rome but in other locations in order to guarantee the same level of quality.
What is Beck & Maltese Consulting’s turnover?
The company’s turnover for 2016 was 858,000 euros. Then there is the income from each individual restaurant.
Who are the company’s activities aimed at?
We work mainly with luxury hotels, large companies and large industrial groups.
What roles do you and your wife have in the company?
Teresa is the CEO, and I am operations manager.
What does it mean to be the chef of a restaurant in a big hotel?
I am both an employee and the manager of all restaurant operations for La Pergola, from buying ingredients to managing the books.
How is that different from a traditional restaurant?
It is more complex and brings a great deal of responsibility with it. There are more professional steps to it. Furthermore, it requires specialized skills from an operational point of view because you need to follow the budget and guarantee results with the final objective being to make a profit.
What were the most important business milestones reached in 2017?
At the beginning of the year, I launched Attimi by Heinz Beck, a restaurant with an innovative format inside Fiumicino airport, in collaboration with Chef Express, the company that manages restaurant activities for the Cremonini Group.
Any more recent initiatives?
This summer, I had business project with French chef Joël Robuchon in Monte Carlo, at the Odyssey restaurant in the Hotel Metropole. In Italy, I began managing all of the food and beverage for the St. George Restaurant inside the Ashbee Hotel in Taormina. All of these activities help to further establish my business strategies. And there are others.
For example, collaborations with De Cecco and Mercedes Benz, as well as publishing books.
Why did you choose to live and work in Italy?
I always say that you can’t choose where you are born, but you can choose where you live. Despite what people often say, Rome is a fantastic city, and I want to continue promoting “Made in Italy” throughout the world. And there’s another reason…
I want to continue to work here along with my wife. Without her, I wouldn’t have ever made it this far.
Some would say that behind a great chef is a great woman…
I say not behind but alongside