Editorial Board   Guest Author

Mr. Barker

Ned Barker

President, Grill Ventures Consulting, Inc.

Ned Barker is a hotel industry veteran and principal of Grill Ventures International. In a former role as Vice President of F&B Franchise Services for InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), Mr. Barker worked with both hotels and third-party restaurants to create win-win partnerships. Specializing in F&B solutions, Grill Ventures works with both hotel and restaurant companies. Grill Venture's work includes concept development, strategy, operations / marketing review & analysis, and special one-off project assignments. Mr. Barker is a noted speaker who delights at sharing his expertise at hospitality and hotel management conferences. He is a frequent contributor to food and beverage publications such as In The Mix Magazine and Hotel F&B Magazine. Mr. Barker serves on the board of the Global Soap Project (www.GlobalSoap.org) which recycles discarded hotel bar soap into new bars that are shipped to vulnerable populations around the world. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan, and serves on the American Hotel & Lodging Association's (AH&LA) F&B Council.

Mr. Barker can be contacted at 404-547-1900 or Ned@Grillvi.com

Coming up in August 2020...

Food & Beverage: New Technological Innovations

In the past few years, hotel food and beverage departments have experienced significant growth. Managers are realizing just how much revenue potential this sector holds, both in terms of additional revenue and as a means to enhance the guest experience. As a result, substantial investments are being made in F&B operations as a way to satisfy hotel guests but also to keep pace with the competition. Though it has been a trend for many years, the Farm-to-Table movement shows no signs of abating. Hotel chains are abandoning corporate restaurants and are instead partnering with local chefs to create locally-influenced dining options. Local, farm-sourced ingredients paired with specialty beverages or local wine also satisfies the increasing demand from Millennial travelers who are eager to travel sustainably and contribute to a positive impact. A farm-to-table F&B program also helps to support the local economy, which builds community goodwill. Also popular are "Self-Serv" and "Grab & Go" options. These concepts stem from an awareness that a guest's time is limited and if a hotel can supply them with fast, fresh, food and beverage choices, then so much the better for them. Plus, by placing these specialty kiosks in areas that might be traditionally under-utilized (the lobby, for instance), they can become popular destination locations. Of course, there are new technological innovations as well. In-room, on-screen menus allow guests to order from any restaurant on the property, and some hotels are partnering with delivery companies that make it possible for guests to order food from any restaurant in the area. Also, many hotels are implementing in-room, voice-activated devices, so ordering food via an AI-powered assistant will soon become mainstream as well. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will report on these developments and document what some leading hotels are doing to expand this area of their business.