Food and Drink - Spring 2014 - 32

>r
RESTAURANTS

MTR Gaming Group

what a regional gaming company like MTR can offer,"
Billhimer says. "Unlike destination casinos located in Las
Vegas or Atlantic City, MTR Gaming Group caters to regional customers - customers who visit more frequently and
expect consistency."
Amid the lights, bells, slots and blackjack, golf courses, luxury hotel rooms, spas, pools, and entertainment, MTR is very
careful about its food and drink offerings. It's always on the
lookout for top culinary talent and uses its executives to scout
culinary workshops, schools and event sessions and accomplish that goal.

26 Eats
MTR Gaming Group operates 26 eateries at its three casinos:
the Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack & Resort in Chester, W.Va.,
Scioto Downs in Columbus, Ohio, and Presque Isle Downs &
Casino in Erie, Pa. They include fine-dining chop houses, casual clubhouse eating experiences for patrons who are watching
racing, and bars, buffets, snack stands and room service.
The dining selections are diverse, ranging from ice cream
shops and full buffets to the 1920s-style bar Zelda's and highend Sensory 3 steakhouse, which is known for its surf and turf.
Among other dining options, there's Big Al's Deli & Pizzeria,

the Riverfront Buffet, the Java Joint with Starbucks brand coffee, the Mountaineer Club and Dash Café for a quick bite
before returning to the gaming floor.
MTR searches the local area for potential employees and
vendors to provide the best food product and staff with the
greatest culinary potential.  The company employs more than
300 people in foodservices.

"MTR will not compromise
on the quality of food or the
guest experience."
"Our La Bonne Vie Steakhouse is known for its quality
steaks, interesting food and five-star service," Billhimer says.
"It's a staple for many local area diners, and it's so good that
some people drive two hours from Cleveland just to eat there.
In fact, it could be one of the best steakhouses in the Midwest.
"From its inception, La Bonne Vie was designed to offer
guests the highest-quality dining experience possible.  A well
trained staff and finest quality food products, along with a creative mindset, ensures La Bonne Vie will continue to offer one
of the very best dining experiences around," says Walter
Coffee, Mountaineer food and beverage director.
With culinary interest at an all-time high across the country
competing for the best labor, finding the right people can be a
challenge. MTR Gaming Group has top culinary talent as well
as up-and-coming stars. Top MTR talent includes Rob Osborn,
head chef; Greg Porter, executive sous chef; Harold Cooper,
LBV sous chef; Rob Gurule, Gatsby sous chef and Ralph
Randolph, sous chef.  The majority of team members are hired
for potential and developed internally.  Most positions are
filled by internal promotions based on demonstrated skills.
MTR Gaming Group's approach to foodservice is different
from most other restaurants. At MTR Gaming Group's casinos,
the restaurants are just one component in an overall strategy
for success. This means that starting with the hiring process,
MTR Gaming Group emphasizes a high level of guest interaction, service and quality because "it is how people work in
MTR restaurants, that set us apart," Billhimer says.
All MTR food and beverage managers serve as trainers,
coordinating their efforts through a manager whose responsibility is to ensure consistency and understanding of brand
standards. It uses internal and external shoppers to measure
performance of staff and focus on all areas for improvement. 

Happy Customers
Rising food costs and health insurance are MTR's top challenges. MTR has found, however, that "happy customers generate more revenue," Billhimer says.

32 food & drink * spring 2014 * www.fooddrink-magazine.com


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