Abraham Merchant is a hospitality icon, who has developed multi-branded restaurants, hotels, condos, and office buildings all over the country and even in the Caribbean. Merchant has been busy creating Merchants Hospitality Inc. where he serves as their President and CEO. Merchants Hospitality is a Manhattan-based full-service hospitality company, which focuses on investment, development, ownership and management. We sat down with Abraham to learn his story and find out his solutions to some unconsidered issues.
Merchants Hospitality opened its doors in 1986 and has certainly made a name for themselves with their wide range of renowned restaurants and hotels. Merchants Hospitality acts as the managing director of each restaurant that is affiliated with the company. Over the past 25 years, Merchant has opened and managed properties all over the country. He now leads the experienced management team with a staff of over 100 employees. Merchant has opened and operated restaurants such as 485 Fifth Ave., Philippe Chow Restaurant on Madison Ave, NYC’s Famous Pier 15 at South Street Seaport, 350 Madison Ave, Merchants River House on the Hudson, and the award-winning Southwest NY.
Before Merchant founded his hospitality company he worked as regional director for Riese Restaurants and helped to increase their revenue by $200 million. Riese Restaurants is one of the largest restaurants, retail, and real estate management companies in NYC. “I learned a tremendous amount by working for the Riese brothers. Irwin and Murray taught me that if you work hard, you will be rewarded,” Merchant said. This approach certainly hasn’t gone forgotten; Merchant has brought this same approach to his business. “We’ve taken it one step further, in many cases we pay more than any of our competitors but we also demand more from our team,” said Merchant.
Merchants Hospitality has spent the last 25 years building an incredibly diverse portfolio of restaurants, hotels, and residential properties. When you have all of these properties that are immensely popular you are facing a pretty hefty utility bill. We had to know what Merchants’ solution to the high levels of energy his properties were using.
“We brought in Peter Kaplan of UEC because we knew that there had to be a better way. With deregulation came opportunity. UEC gave us the chance to bundle energy costs with other operators so that we accomplish significant savings,” Merchant added.
For those who don’t know UEC stands for United Energy Consultants. Since 2007 UEC has been providing the Metro NYC area with viable utility solutions. Through partnerships with other qualified channels, it provides a local business like Merchants Hospitality with a menu of utility services and product that will help your business. What sets UEC apart is their added value of professional energy savings. This is an aspect that restaurateurs don’t really think about or even know there are companies like UEC that can really help make a serious dent in your electricity bill. With properties all over the country, Merchant put some focus on his energy costs and let UEC come up with some utility solutions. “He’s a very savvy guy and has the flexibility to create energy savings for us in our restaurants and operations,” said Merchant.
Abraham Merchant and Merchants Hospitality are not in the business of running nonprofitable restaurants. From very high-end Chinese restaurants with the Chows to a bar concept in the village, Merchant and his team can boast of operations in their portfolio that have spanned 20 plus years. UEC has helped them open this door with unique energy solutions that can be a lifesaver for anyone in the hospitality industry.
To learn about Merchants Hospitality, visit their website.