Name: Winfried Hancke
Position title: Group Director of Operations – Food and Beverage
Company name: Centara Hotels & Resorts
When and why did you join the industry?
In 1983 I started my career becoming a chef as I had the desire to work in this international vibrant industry. My two older brothers were already chefs and after getting some exposure I knew it was the right thing for me to do.
What do you like most about your job?
The freedom to be creative and to question the status quo
What’s one of the biggest achievements of your career so far?
Having been given the responsibility to oversee the entire food and beverage operation of Centara Hotels. The trust and encouragement given by all stakeholders is the ultimate success and motivation to do better every day.
What’s the best advice ever given to you and who gave it?
Our business is not about selling products but creating unforgettable experiences. This was shared with our class while being in culinary school. This has stuck with me my entire career.
Who do you admire and see as a role model in the industry?
Anyone and everyone who has passion in what they do. This can be a person who serves you a perfect latte or a manager who inspires his team to do well.
What can people expect from your company and what sets it apart from the rest?
We have the drive and commitment to do well and the flexibility to implement what the customer desires. This ability propels us to become better every day.
What destinations are on your travel bucket list?
Perhaps it has something to do with living in the tropics… Antarctica is perhaps a place where the natural beauty is amazing.
What’s a memorable travel experience you’ve had (good or bad)?
Maldives. The stars on the night sky on a clear night are something one does not experience in a city.
What are three things you always take with you when travelling?
Dare I say my notebook…
Name someone famous you’d like to travel with and a destination you’d like to go with them.
Richard Branson to Necker Island.
What direction do you see the industry heading in over the next five to ten years?
Drive for quality and an approach to restaurants and bars, which is more comparable to freestanding ones. Thailand, our home turf will see some huge cultural shift with a new passionate generation making their mark.
Winfried Hancke, Group Director of Operations – Food and Beverage