Not Losing the Gen Y Diner

By Brian Mitchell Principal, Mitchell Performance Systems | November 02, 2014

Co-authored by Evan Mitchell, Senior Consultant, Mitchell Performance Systems

This is the sixth and final article in our series on improving revenue and profit from F&B. Throughout the series our arguments have been directed at senior management. The aim has been to open the eyes of general managers to opportunities and challenges in F&B that are not self-evident from their perspective – but have a very real impact on profitability.

Before we address the final theme, how to attract and engage with the Gen Y diner, there’s a brief summary of what we believe senior management should take away from the first five articles. Each summary is followed by a suggested line of enquiry for general managers. The answers received to these questions will prove instructive.

Article 1: “A Tale of Two Cultures – how a Different Mindset will lift Food and Beverage

The approach to selling that typifies full service hotel restaurant operations can usefully be compared with the sales mindset of successful consumer products organisations. The latter have a clear fix on the relationship between customer service and selling. They see these two functions as inextricably linked and interdependent. The hospitality industry on the other hand tends to see them as vaguely separate. This leads to the self-defeating situation where inferior front of house sales performance can easily be excused or justified on the grounds of service. In truth the technique-driven sales principles applied by successful FMCG companies (impulse and add on selling, trading up, and solution selling) – which, as our article shows, are equally applicable in a restaurant – are designed to raise service standards not just sales results. Hotel management needs to grasp this point. Because without such a mindset F&B performance will always be hobbled, and restaurant patrons will fail to receive the level of service they deserve.

Useful enquiry: What’s the sales strategy for our front of house teams?

Coming up in February 2018...

Social Media: Engagement is Key

There are currently 2.3 billion active users of social media networks and savvy hotel operators have incorporated social media into their marketing mix. There are a few Goliath channels on which one must have a presence (Facebook & Twitter) but there are also several newer upstart channels (Instagram, Snapchat &WeChat, for example) that merit consideration. With its 1.86 billion users, Facebook is a dominant platform where operators can drive brand awareness, facilitate bookings, offer incentives and collect sought-after reviews. Twitter's 284 million users generate 500 million tweets per day, and operators can use its platform for lead generation, building loyalty, and guest interaction. Instagram was originally a small photo-sharing site but it has blown up into a massive photo and video channel. The site can be used to post photos of the hotel property, as well as creating Instagram Stories - personal videos that disappear from the channel after 24 hours. In this regard, Instagram and Snapchat are now in direct competition. WeChat is a Chinese company whose aim is to be the App for Everything - instant messaging, social media, shopping and payment services - all in a single platform. In addition to these channels, blogging continues to be a popular method to establish leadership, enhance reputations, and engage with customers in a direct and personal way. The key to effective use of all social media is to find out where your customers are and then, to the fullest extent possible, engage with them on a personal level. This engagement is what creates a personal connection and sustains brand loyalty. The February Hotel Business Review will explore these issues and examine how some hotels are successfully integrating social media into their operations.