Library Archives

 
Gary Isenberg

If hoteliers want a lesson regarding how drastically dining trends have evolved over the past 40 years, they need to look no further than the history of Howard Johnson's. A welcome respite for vacationing families and interstate road warriors in the mid-20th century, those orange-domed waystations dotted nearly every highway across the country. At HoJo's zenith, the chain numbered than 1,000 restaurants and 500 motor lodges. Though people packed its tables and booths, no one mistook a HoJo for a fine dining establishment. Instead, Howard Johnson's offered weary travelers a familiar and comfortable place to dine. Essentially, HoJo's were diners, serving three meals a day from an expansive, but uniform, menu at affordable prices. Read on...

Larry Trabulsi

This article focuses on evaluating external service providers for optimizing Food and Beverage (F&B) Department profitability, and is the second in a series on outsourcing services at hotels. As my colleague, Michael Doyle, asked in the first article in this series: "Why should hotels outsource, or challenge a traditional operations model?" The most common answer is to maximize profitability. Industry-wide, F&B revenue represents over 25% of total hotel revenue, yet generating a meaningful profit margin in F&B (which is difficult to measure with accuracy) can be challenging. In many hotels (particularly lifestyle and boutique hotels) F&B can be an integral part of the guest experience, and a large source of revenue (and maybe profit) for the hotel. But unlike other, less visible departments, outsourcing F&B can be more challenging, yet also more rewarding. Read on...

Nicolas Bour

When I began my journey to becoming a chef twenty-five years ago I could have never envisioned a world that would be literally travelling at light speed, with my guests as critics that carry the weight of a seasoned food writer, and a culture of "Foodies" that would turn my entire industry on its head. It seems like just yesterday the produce "dude" at my local grocer gave me a blank stare when I asked him if he had any baby French beans in the back cooler because I didn't see any on display. It was as if I had requested a rare species of Amazonian cactus. Read on...

Michael Barbera

Time pressure is a significant driver of human decision-making. Time pressure is both artificial and natural. Time pressure is popular with airlines, hotels and sporting tickets. When purchasing an airline ticket it is likely that you have encountered a message that stated, "time remaining to purchase", or "seats reserved for", followed by a clock counting down. Ticketing agencies such as Ticketmaster and online retailer eBay are known for their time pressure sales methods. The high time pressure used by airlines, hotels and ticketing agencies are overt and intentional; however, not all time pressure is overt or intentional. Read on...

Nikheel   Advani

Luxury travel and dining have always been associated with fine restaurants and over-the-top menus; however, more and more high-end travelers are craving fuss-free comfort foods, particularly those that use recipes and ingredients rooted in a destination's heritage and culture. At Grace Bay Club, we remain committed to sharing the Islands' unique culinary traditions that showcase the absolute best quality products, all while offering a dining experience that caters to our guests' exact preferences. Read on...

Dan Vargo

It is widely agreed that a great team requires great leadership, and I believe that a truly great leader empowers his employees with leadership skills. All of my employees are capable of greatness, and it is my job to cultivate that in-house ability. When cooks are humble, ready to learn, and hardworking, they are on the path to become the next generation of leaders. These are the chefs I seek out and hire because I know they are invested in developing themselves. In the long run, these chefs become the best candidates for promotion. Read on...

Elizabeth  Blau

Over the past several years, many of us have watched with excitement and interest as the fast-casual restaurant segment has continued to boom. More and more, talented chefs with fine dining pedigrees are bringing their skills, creativity, and experience to concepts built around speed, approachability, and volume. Right now, the ability to offer a gourmet experience at all price points is as compelling to restaurateurs and diners alike. Read on...

Thomas  McKeown

To serve today's eclectic, socially engaged and sophisticated guests, hotels and chefs need to get creative, change their thinking and push back some walls – sometimes literally. The fun thing about meetings hotels is that they are a different place just about every week. One week we're hosting a bridge tournament, the next a corporate sales team, or a dentists' conference, or sci-fi fans in costumes, or cheerleaders jumping for joy. You name the group, and our hotel has probably welcomed them. Read on...

Frank Sanchez

About two years ago, I started my career at the Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile. I came from San Diego, California, the apparent capital of farmer's markets. When I moved to Chicago in late-October, the number of farmer's markets had already begun to taper off and all that was left of the hotel's rooftop garden was the sad remnants of a summer full of bounty. However, I was in for a pleasant surprise. The Chicago Marriott Downtown operates a year-round experience to create food from scratch that gives customers fresh and nutritional options. I was thrilled to join a team that can tell a customer that the very greens on their plate were grown just floors above them. Read on...

Larry Steinberg

The foodservice industry is one of the oldest and most important. Consumers from all demographics rely on it virtually every day for sustenance. In fact, in the U.S. alone, it's a nearly $800 billion industry that's extremely competitive, with hundreds of new establishments popping up every year, and much of this new business is the result of increased consumer demand. Consumers want more options. For every practiced chef, there is a collective of guests eager to spend their hard-earned dollars on something exotic and different. They want to experience a bit of culture by way of their next meal, and they want to find it using the latest technology. Read on...

Bobby Martyna

A key trend in hotel development is making the hotel lobby a destination for guests. Where in the past, the focus was primarily on the guest room, moving forward, brands and independents are looking to transform the lobby into a space where guests can socialize, work, snack and dine. In order for the lobby destination to be both compelling and memorable, the retail design, visual merchandising and food selection need to convey what is special about the location and must work together to deliver a surpassing guest experience. Read on...

Chris Ferrier

Many hotels are overwhelmed by the thought of putting together a ‘buy local' or ‘farm-to-table' culinary program when they also have to serve many guests. Where do you start? Should chefs contact all the local farms, breweries, wineries, fish mongers, meat and poultry farms in their area? Should they visit each farm? Many years ago, this was what we did; but with 1,200 meals to prepare, often we would clear out the farmers' goods and still not have enough for what we needed. Read on...

Robert  Hood

What does a restaurant look like in 2017? To define what a restaurant is is a difficult process and not an easy thing to do considering that foodservice has evolved so much and comes in so many shapes and sizes. In 2017 restaurants are not even defined for having chairs or tables for diners or even want diners to stay after the point of food purchase and the sale is completed. This is the world of the ‘QSR' or ‘Quick Service Restaurant' and since it arrived it has changed restaurant culture, our food service experiences on an almost daily basis, and begs the question ‘is QSR the new fine dining?' Read on...

Paul Hancock

Vegetables are no longer served as garnishes or accompaniments but, center stage in the dining scene in this day. Plate design and bold flavors are more paramount than ever. The "wow" effect is in full effect. Guests are more eager to try something new more than ever before. It is entertainment, so it has to be great and throughout the dining experience. There is a cultural shift happening right in front of our eyes with vegetables. Vegetables have been the unsung heroes of the plate for many decades. That is changing. Read on...

Erik Wolf

Good restaurants are often known for something that they do really well. Perhaps they always have the freshest fish, their pasta is handmade, or the service is unparalleled. Travelers who return to a hotel or restaurant they loved on a past visit, frequent their past favorite places because they want to relive their past experience and positive past memories. Restaurateurs face a delicate balancing act in menu preparation when choosing to innovate vs. maintain their status quo and past consistency. For travelers, the food you serve isn't just a meal; it will be a long-lasting memory. What steps can you take to meet the expectations of travelers and regulars alike? Read on...

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Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.