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Waterpan-Gate: Frankfort, KY Recap

The employees at the 189-room Capital Plaza Hotel in Frankfort, KY, send Anthony a video asking for his help. they don't get enough hours because there aren't enough guests staying there. Anthony arrives and discovers that the Capital Plaza is a huge structure. It was built in 1983 by a former governor as a showpiece during his election campaign, it has a bar, a restaurant, several large event spaces, and sixteen condominiums. Anthony figures that it's way too big for Frankfort, which only has 27,000 people. The hotel is less than an hour from the Kentucky derby, and 2.5 million tourists are going through the state in the last year. Max and Lee Allen, the owners, haven't turned a profit in over a decade. Their son, Marc, runs the hotel as the general manager.

Anthony pulls into the hotel parking garage and goes upstairs. There are lights out on the stairs, and Anthony goes directly to Marc in his office. He asks what they pay the housekeepers, and Marc admits that they pay minimum wage and they don't get raises because he can't make money. Anthony shows him the videos after making him promise that they won't be punished for giving constructive criticism. Marc watches the video and says that he wishes he could give raises, and finally says that it makes him feel terrible. The GM has loaned them money, but Anthony says that they have to because he doesn't pay enough money. Marc insists that they're getting by week by week, and Anthony tells him to feel his employees' pain. He warns that Marc isn't effective and they have to raise the occupancy from 40% to 70%. Marc agrees that the hotel is too big and Anthony says that they're going to have to maximize the space. He confirms that Marc has no questions but afterward, he worries that Marc isn't an effective manager.

In the lobby, Anthony checks out the huge lobby. The bar is offset from the lobby, but Anthony figures that it needs a more contemporary and intimate feeling. He inspects a room and finds dust on the headboard. The headboards are loose and they come off when Anthony tugs on them. He goes to the elevator and the button light doesn't work, and Anthony goes to see the maintenance department. The maintenance engineer, Josh, agrees that the hotel is starting to fall apart. He explains that the facilities director, Chad, has his own office behind the front desk. Chad admits that they don’t respect the director, and he doesn't inspect the rooms.

Before finding Chad, Anthony meets with designer Danielle Colding. It's their first time working together, and he wants her to start by updating the guest room. Danielle says that it has no personality, and Anthony says that he wants her to redesign the bar with a Kentucky bourbon feel. Danielle and her team from KB Construction go to work, and Anthony goes to Chad's office. Chad says that he's in charge of facilities and sustainability, and manages the maintenance staff and the infrastructure investment. Anthony points out that his office is behind the front desk, and Chad explains that he wanted to be closer to the pulse of the hotel. He doesn't know how long the elevator light has been out, and Anthony takes him out to see the mold in the waterfall. Chad admits he hasn't noticed the mold, and says that he spends half his time in his office. He tells Anthony that he doesn't inspect rooms on a normal basis.

Next, Anthony talks to some of the employees from the video. He finds a housekeeper, Ellen, in the men's room and she says that she's never called in sick. Anthony kisses her in appreciation and promises that he's going to do his best to help her. He then goes to meet the sales team. They explain that there are no systems in place and they're thrown to the wolves. They report to Marc and have no budget, and aren't held to any numbers. The staff have no idea if they're doing good or bad. Anthony asks who could run the hotel if Marc disappeared, and both women recommend Carlene, who is in charge of food and beverage.

Anthony goes to the kitchen to find Carlene. She has worked there for a year and admits that there is a lot less structure. Carlene explains that her biggest obstacle is the controller, Tim, who told her not to look at any income numbers from the previous year. She's worried that they don't have a good grip on the money coming in or out of the hotel, and Anthony figures that she knows what she's doing. As he goes, Anthony finds a brewery machine. Carlene explains that Chad had the idea to brew their own beer. Anthony isn't happy that Chad is focusing on a brewmaster machine rather than the waterfall. He also learns that he's overriding Carlene about where to place the brewmaster. Carlene admits that she was angry and Anthony figures that she's an effective manager.

Next, Anthony goes to accounting and meets with Tim. He explains that he's been working at the Olympia Plaza for 11 years, but never worked as an accountant after that. He and Marc manage the company with Mike, and they're all cousins. Anthony has checked the books and confirmed that they're a mess. Tim agrees and Anthony notes that they spent $275,000 in building expenses. A lot of it is Chad putting in access doors and other things that Tim doesn't know about. Anthony points out that it's Tim's job to know what the money is being spent on, but he doesn't.

Chad is in his office when Anthony comes to see him and asks about the building expenses. The manager says that he's not privy to the numbers and has no record of the money spent by his office. Chad thinks that Tim tracks the money. Anthony asks about the brewmaster and Chad says that he came up with the idea to make their own beer. He doesn't own the equipment or have any commission on the beer at the current time. Chad says that he may be a partner, and Anthony tells him that he'd never let his engineer get a commission off of his beer.

Anthony's producer comes in and says that they've found something that Anthony needs to hear. He listens to a recording of Marc leaving his mike on during a closed-door meeting with Tim and the HR director. Anthony then plays the recording to Marc, where he complains about what Anthony said to him earlier. Marc also complains about the housekeeper, Ellen, and Anthony says that it's bullying. Marc insists that he's making work for the staff, but Anthony warns that he's disrespecting his employees and its behavior unbecoming of a leader. The GM agrees to apologize and Anthony takes him off to do so. Marc apologizes to Ellen and says that they're going to sit down and talk about raises. He assures Ellen that they need people like her there and they hug.

The team's media manager, Josh, calls Anthony in to the media room. The maintenance man came in and said he had to empty a pan of water from the ceiling. If the pan fell on their equipment then it would have been ruined. Anthony has his crew refill the pan and put it up in the ceiling, and then he crawls up on a ladder to confirm how bad the situation is.

Anthony brings Marc and Chad in, and dumps the pan out into a bucket. He then drops it, and Anthony asks Chad why Marc doesn't know the pan was in the room. Marc says that he should know, and Anthony tells Chad that he should be focusing on the leaks instead of the microbrewery. He says that Chad would probably be terminated if Anthony was the GM, and isn't interested in hearing Chad's excuses. Anthony says that Chad shouldn't be the director, and Chad says that the staff claims that the production crew is putting words in their mouths. Furious, Anthony warns Chad that he's starting a fight, and Marc suggests that they take a break. He insists that they're not doing the right thing, and Anthony is impressed that he's stepping up to handle the situation.

The next day, Anthony checks out one of the condos. He's impressed with it and figures the area is flush for rentals. Anthony figures that they could convert the rooms into condos and rent them out for $1,600 a month. He finds Danielle at the bar and she says that it will get done if everything goes perfectly. Anthony then asks her to work out how many rooms can be converted into condos and how expensive it will be.

Anthony sits down with Marc and the Allens, and gives them a performance appraisal form to assess their employees. He then tells Marc that he has to hire a full-time GM and in the meantime, let Carlene run things. Finally, Anthony says that Danielle has determined that they have eight suites that can be converted into suites. He highly suggests that the hotel become 30% condos, and everyone agrees.

The group meets with Danielle and Kevin of KB Construction. They check out the room first and the Allens love it. Danielle has themed it around the Kentucky Derby, and talks about the eight suites that they can convert to condos without much construction work. Next they go to the bar and Daniells shows them the refurbished bar. They've gotten rid of the zigzagged counter, and Anthony brings in Adam from Kentucky Bourbon Trail. The Trail is a group of nine historic breweries less than a mile from the Capital Plaza. They have a program for hotels to partner with the Trail. They drink a toast to Hotel Impossible and Kentucky.

Written by Gadfly on Oct 28, 2015

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