Vice President, Food & Beverage
Bill Hanson is an accomplished restauranteur, brand builder and corporate leader. His career arc has taken him from humble roots coming up through the hourly ranks, to leading restaurant companies with industry icons: Stephen Starr, Jose Garces, and Morimoto to then developing his own restaurant brand. Since joining the Davidson family in 2018, Hanson and his team have steered more than 60 hotel transitions growing from 80 restaurants and bars to 230 at present within 85 hotels nationwide plus banquets and catering. Bill and the team established Davidson Restaurant Group in 2019, the full-service food and beverage management division under Davidson Hospitality Group, guiding concept ideation, design, owner relations, topline programming, training, and operational excellence. Under his direction, the company’s food and beverage culture has shifted from the “Baked Ziti in a chafing dish” big box, branded banquet and catering approach to an inspired entrepreneurial, restaurant focused operation.
Prior to joining Davidson Hospitality, Hanson was Owner/Operator of a brand he created: MilkBoy. Milkboy started as a recording studio in Philadelphia, PA which parlayed into the opening of a restaurant, bar and live music venue. Following the first location’s success, a second location in Philadelphia opened on the famed South Street and ultimately a third in College Park, Maryland called Milkboy ArtHouse. Earlier in his career, Hanson led notable operations and openings with Stephen Starr: Buddakan, Alma de Cuba, Continental Midtown (highest grossing free-standing restaurant in Philadelphia at the time), and Washington Square (with Chef Marcus Samuelson). As a leader of the Garces Group, Hanson was pivotal in managing the migration of corporate office from “mom and pop” to a true corporate entity.