Breckenridge’s Beaver Run Resort revamp focuses on deli, bars, restaurant
The Beaver Run Resort and Conference Center is revamping its food and beverage options ahead of the 2018-19 ski season, an effort to remain relevant in Breckenridge’s highly competitive hospitality industry.
Operating at the base of Peak 9, Beaver Run has done well over the years, but the resort hasn’t made too many major changes with food and beverage as of late, said Jon Papineau, who’ll be at the helm of the effort to refine those assets as the resort’s new food and beverage director.
According to Papineau, Beaver Run logs over 90,000 room nights a year, and if he’s successful in his new job this season, guests will spend about an extra $20 on food and drinks.
It could be inside the resort’s in-house restaurant, at its deli and bars, or during banquets, he said, adding that one of his biggest tasks is getting all of Beaver Run’s food and beverage assets operating as one single entity, which will only help the bottom line.
“As you know, you have to stay competitive, you have to stay relevant, you have to stay in the game otherwise your competition is going to run you over,” Papineau said of the hospitality business in Breckenridge. “We want to make sure we’re doing things that are relevant and exciting. We want to give people a reason to stay at Beaver Run and then eat here more than once or twice.”
While Papineau has been hired to remake the food and beverage operations at Beaver Run, it’s the best situation he’s ever inherited. Still, that doesn’t mean the resort can’t get better.
“I don’t need to rebuild the culture here,” he said. “We’re just going to refine it and we’re going to get back to firing on all cylinders and the engines all working together.”
For Papineau, food service and hospitality in Breckenridge is a “game of inches,” and moving the needle means a host of changes big and small, some of which have already been accomplished; others are more long term.
Immediately, Papineau is remaking the resort’s food service to be much more family friendly. They’re rebranding the in-house restaurant, Spencer’s Spirits and Steaks, as a family restaurant with two new menus — one for children up to age 6 and another for older kids and teens featuring adult-style dishes but with smaller portions and reduced prices. The servers are also undergoing additional training so they’ll be better prepared to take orders from large family groups, one segment that Papineau is targeting hard and heavy for the upcoming year.
“We’re expecting to see an increase in that business because during the wintertime, a lot of people come here with their kids,” he said, adding that he would also like to open a gourmet hot chocolate bar and place to cook s’mores at the resort.
The efforts don’t stop there. Part of the longer-term plan also includes expanding the late-night food options at the Base Nine Bar by the resort’s lobby to turn it into a “hotspot” for hanging out after a day on the mountain. Papineau also sees room for improvement at the Skywalk Market deli with some new items, a new layout and emphasizing the fresh, bright, clean and robust appearance he thinks every market deli should have.
“And we’re not there yet,” Papineau said.
He came to Breckenridge by way of Colorado Springs and has had an interesting professional career getting here, working communications with the Aurora Police Department for 15 years before buying his own restaurant in 1998 and naming it Pappy’s Roadhouse and Motorsports Grill.
With a background in culinary arts, he’s worked as a chef at high-end restaurants, the food and beverage director at large-scale operations like the Denver Merchandise Mart and Glen Eyrie Conference Center in Colorado Springs, among others, and once even owned an apiary.
Now, he’s managing roughly 150 people at Beaver Run, with seasoned chef Phil Dilks, who’s been with the resort for more than seven years now.
Papineau is big on culture, putting his employees in positions to succeed and inviting dissension within the ranks, he said. He wants the staff to bring ideas to team meetings, even if they’re directly opposed to what he might be trying to do, because the end result is a better guest experience.
“We really want our guests to say, ‘Man, I can’t believe I had such a good time at Beaver Run — the food was great, the service was great,’ because that is what our competition is doing,” he said.
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