Spanish restaurant Cúrate, based in Asheville, NC, was recently awarded the 2022 James Beard Hospitality Award. Its owners, Katie Button and Félix Meana, have a unique and holistic view of hospitality.
They don’t believe it simply applies to the front of the house. For Katie and Felix, it’s a broad concept that applies to all 95 people who work at their restaurants, Cúrate Bar de Tapas and La Bodega by Curate. According to Button, Hospitality is the experience our entire team creates... It’s about the company culture we create and how we treat each other with respect and consideration.” That includes the bartenders, hosts, chefs, servers, managers, dishwashers, and line cooks. They even have a culture manager, who is in charge of the customer experience.
It all begins at Cúrate when the server greets the guests and begins creating an experience for them. Customers are encouraged to order something new, try different flavors, and to make memories. The servers work with the bartenders to “craft the experience for them.”
Training is also a big part of the hospitality at Cúrate. Everyone is expected to follow a manual that includes a description of the dishes, a wine book, and the steps for serving. Servers are also expected shadow more experienced servers, learn about the dishes in the kitchen, and participate in food and wine tastings. Katie and Félix originally opened their Bar de Tapas back in 2011, and both their fame and following have grown since then.