MDA Hospitality Solutions provides skills-based employee training in service-centric industries. Clients include Fortune 100 ranked companies and range from international hospitality companies, telecommunications companies, luxury residential communities, and national grocers.

​MDA’s objective is to streamline employee work processes to deliver exceptional guest satisfaction ratings, employee job satisfaction, and, as a by-product, improved business profitability.

Headshot 2020

Mary D’Argenis-Fernandez grew up practically living in hotels. Her family spent their summers traveling and staying at different properties, sometimes for weeks on end. While their father worked, Mary and her sister, Katrina, would pass their time people-watching. “We would sit for hours in the lobby and watch the action around us,” says Mary. “We noticed how the staff greeted guests when they checked in and interacted with guests in general.”​

Her love of being immersed in the hotel industry was born from these annual trips, but her career in hospitality started when she was in high school working at Disney’s Magic Kingdom making ice cream cones. “I loved my job and the company,” she says. “I had fun every day. I laughed with my co-workers and had a blast.”

Although Mary originally intended to pursue a law degree, she decided to follow the path she knew would make her happier and give her the most professional satisfaction. With that, Mary returned to the Walt Disney Company after graduate school where she was promoted to a restaurant manager and an area manager soon thereafter.

In that first year, Mary was selected to be a facilitator for the Walt Disney Company’s legendary training program, Traditions. “In that role, I realized I could make an impact in the way employees interacted with guests and how they felt about their jobs,” she says. “By helping them feel connected to their work, there was the potential to increase retention, guest satisfaction, and profitability.”

Subsequent roles at Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group, and Fairmont Hotels followed the years she spent at Disney. In 2015, Mary launched MDA Hospitality and counts some of the world’s most prestigious hotels as her clients, including Conrad properties in New York, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles, the Waldorf Astoria Chicago, and the historic Arizona Biltmore. In addition to these iconic properties, clients include luxury residential communities, clubs, a national specialty grocer, and an international technology company.

Mary holds a Bachelor of Arts from the College of the Holy Cross, a Master of Education from Worcester State University, and a Master of Business Administration from Webster University.

Although Florida is home, Mary spends more than half of her time on the road. “It’s just like when I was at Disney,” she says. “I love my job and never feel like I’m working.

All Clients

By Industry

Hotels

Clubs

Grocers

Residential Communities

Restaurants

Telecommunications

Don’t let us be the only ones who tell you about the impact we can make. Hear it from our clients themselves.

Simone Orlandini, General Manager of Alaia Restaurant, Turtle Bay Resort in Oahu, Hawaii

We hired MDA Hospitality just before re-opening Turtle Bay’s signature restaurant Alaia. We wanted to provide our guests great service and food and also be profitable. The training was incredibly effective and crucial to its success. MDA customized the program to meet the labor budget we provided without compromising effectiveness. Mary and her team optimized the time they spent with our team and built their confidence without elevating the stress. They supported us on the floor and did everything that it took to elevate the guest experience, including running food and bussing tables.

​Together, we opened a restaurant that is rated at 4.6 stars out of 5 on most social media platforms, with many comments emphasizing the quality of service and product knowledge.

Results:
Increased staff confidence
High customer satisfaction and ratings
Increased profitability

Clement Gelas, Senior Director of Club Operations, Talisker Club, a luxury residential development in Park City, Utah

The Talisker Club is a luxury residential community with a golf and ski club. We were profitable but wanted to elevate our standards of luxury to stay competitive. We hired MDA Hospitality to help us figure out how to do that.

​The company worked with all the employees to implement service standards that would take us to another level: how to greet members, serve food, explain wines, take orders. Our staff became more polished and confident, and we’ve become more profitable.

Results: 
Increased profitability
Lower employee turnover
More employee confidence
Stayed relevant and competitive

Bill Bullard, Board Member and President of the Food & Beverage committee of the Key Biscayne Yacht Club in Key Biscayne, Florida

Mary started with us in September 2021 on a project to help us delve into our food and beverage operations. We had built a new clubhouse with three bars and three food venues, and after a year of being open, we realized that we were losing money.

​Mary and her team did a deep dive over several weeks of the clubhouse and subsequently wrote a comprehensive report with recommendations about our operations. We’ve implemented several of her suggestions. I’m confident that when we reassess our operations later this year, we will see big changes in the right direction.

Results:
More efficient operations
Increased staff confidence
Lower turnover

Lucia Marin, former board member of the Ocean Club Community Association, a luxury residential community in Key Biscayne, Florida.

Our food and beverage operations were experiencing dramatic losses—the losses doubled in three years, and we couldn’t figure out what was causing them or how we could stop the bleed. We also wanted to improve on the service we gave residents. We brought in MDA Hospitality to help on both fronts and assess our operations.

Mary’s team contacted our vendors and quickly figured out that we were overpaying for most of our staple food items. By simply renegotiating our contracts, we saved thousands of dollars. Changing our inventory control was another big step in savings- they figured out that we were overordering and throwing away food. The changes we made dramatically brought our food costs as a percentage of revenue. MDA also retrained our staff and taught them the fine art of menu knowledge, table settings and interacting with residents.

In the end, we mitigated our losses in a big way and had employees that were more confident and knowledgeable, which meant happier residents.

Results:

Dramatic losses stopped
Profits increased
Employee service levels improved

Troy Knapp, former Director of Food & Beverage for a luxury hotel in Washington, DC and Founder of the luxury cruise brand Sip and Sail DC

We hired MDA Hospitality in October 2021 to help us relaunch our restaurant, Estuary. It was the third time that the property would be bringing Mary on. We had seen success before working with her and had no doubt that we would again.

Forbes was set to review Estuary, which is a high-end restaurant, for their ratings guide while we were still struggling with staffing and a new concept during the pandemic.

Mary worked with us remotely to help us shape the concept, which was to move away from a high-end restaurant that’s expensive to maintain and offer a more approachable menu instead. It would be more efficient but still maintained the quality we were seeking.

A few months before opening, Mary came onsite to observe our staff in action and created standards based on what she saw. She then trained them, along with our leadership, on these standards, which we use to run the restaurant.

Her approach is easy to understand for anyone at any level and gave our team a lot of confidence.
Six months later, Estuary is hitting all its goals and has received a Forbes four-star rating. We credit a large part of our success to Mary. Without her, it wouldn’t have happened.

Results:
Earned desired Forbes four-star rating
More efficient operations
Significant money saved in running costs

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