Success Stories: How a hotel unlocked the full potential of it's kitchen

Author: Anais Brizard | Paguro Podcast
September 8, 2021
PS Hotel
Ola Thorsen
Kitchen
Ghost Kitchen

A conversation with Ola Thorsen from PS Hotel

Guests

Ola Thorsen, general manager of Oslo Lips

Intro

Hi, welcome to this bonus episode of Paguro Podcast. I am Anaïs, the co-founder & Ceo of Paguro.

You´ve heard the success stories of our Tenants but let´s hear the one of our Host, Ola Thorsen, the general manager of PS Hotel, which is part of Nordic Choice Hotel, one of the leading hotel chains in the Nordics.

Ola has been working in the hospitality industry for most of his adult life and has seen all aspects of it: the great and the challenging. The pandemic brought another level of complexity to find the right equation to ensure quality and profitability.

The kitchen was always the tricky part: they guarantee a great breakfast or brunch to their guests but are less competitive when it comes to dinner service since they are located right next to a super popular food court offering plenty of cool options.

So the question was: how to optimise this dormant asset? This is where Paguro appeared in the equation: we came to them and explained the Ghost kitchen concept.

Today's episode might help some of you, Tenants and Hosts, to answer your concerns and get your checklist ready to jump on board a ghost kitchen booking or listing.

Anais Brizard | Paguro Podcast

Ola, tell me what made you decide to give it a try with a ghost kitchen.

Ola Thorsen | PS Hotel

Since we had to close our restaurant due to Covid, it has been dark and empty down there. As a hotelier, I don't like to see that. It is nice to have a lot of people moving about. When Paguro approached me, it was a no brainer to get some kind of life back in again.

Anais Brizard | Paguro Podcast

Were you familiar with the concept, have you heard about it before?

Ola Thorsen | PS Hotel

Not really. I think my first thought was, I should have thought about that. So yes - good idea!

Anais Brizard | Paguro Podcast

You currently have a tenant using the kitchen for dinner service. It is a startup called Smiz (which we also interviewed for a podcast episode). That is the only tenant you have had so far. Based on that experience what advice would you give to other hosts (for example hotels) or tenants who are considering going for the ghost kitchen model?

Ola Thorsen | PS Hotel

I would recommend using a service like Paguro. I think it takes the stress off and reduces the conflict points for both sides involved.

Anais Brizard | Paguro Podcast

On a very practical level; You operate a very big kitchen with a lot of equipment, what did you have to adjust to make the place ready for the tenant?

Ola Thorsen | PS Hotel

Of course, there was a lot of adjustment, especially regarding the storage. The most work is adjusting the storage spaces so that we both can fit our stock and we are still struggling with it a bit, to be honest. I think that would be my advice to be very clear in saying, this is your storage space, and this is mine. Because any minor uncertainty could become a conflict. But we have Paguro there as well also.

Anais Brizard | Paguro Podcast

Regarding the cleaning routine. Smiz leaves the restaurant in the evening and your team comes in the morning to prepare breakfast. Have there been any adjustments to make, in terms of how to leave stuff or in the cleaning and hygiene part?

Ola Thorsen | PS Hotel

Of course, everyone has different standards when it comes to cleaning. But there hasn’t been anything that we haven’t been able to solve through communication.

Anais Brizard | Paguro Podcast

That is great. I guess you answered this partially in your last reply, but how has using Paguro, to list your kitchen and receive your requests, helped and how do you see it in the future?

Ola Thorsen | PS Hotel

In my case, I was looking into renting out the kitchen before Paguro came into the picture. But what I noticed was how much work it would be to get the contracts in order, who is responsible if a machine breaks because kitchen machines cost a lot of money. You have to think of all the eventualities. Paguro takes all that stress away.

Anais Brizard | Paguro Podcast

I think we have discussed most of the points that somebody considering renting a ghost kitchen could have as a concern. Thank you very much and best of luck with more tenants to come.

Ola Thorsen | PS Hotel

Thank you.

Anais Brizard | Paguro Podcast

The conversation went a little on after the recording and we raised a key point: how did Ola convince his kitchen chef to allow another Tenant to use the space.

Well, as a general manager, he is by definition the final decision maker: the income generated by the rent was nothing they had made previously on dinner service. So, the Chef was not left with much of a choice here…

But you know what, in the end, it helped him focus on the breakfast and brunch activity; the menu that the Tenant Smiz proposes is offered on room service to the hotel guests: So, everybody is winning and that's exactly what we love to make happen with Paguro.

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