August FOCUS

Food & Beverage: New Technological Innovations

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.



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This month's feature articles...

Heather Andrews

The pandemic has hit the hospitality industry especially hard, forcing companies to look for ways to drive costs and inefficiencies out of their operations to help them survive the economic downturn and get their people back to work. One solution that's been gaining traction is the digitization of payments. These virtual solutions leverage third-party technology to automate back-end processes; protect against disputes and fraud; and provide more privacy, security and flexibility to consumers. READ MORE

Kevin Krapp

While it may be challenging to stay in business amid a global pandemic, there are several strategies you as a restaurant operator can follow to not only increase your chances of survival but also come out stronger on the other side. Kevin Krapp from The Indigo Road Hospitality Group presents seven ways to help keep your restaurant afloat at this time. READ MORE

David Harouche

The mammoth task of keeping guests safe during a pandemic requires operational changes which must be communicated to employees to ensure success. Guests must feel certain that staff who greet and serve them demonstrate comprehensive safety practices, and that your spaces are pleasing and safe. Successful leaders can leverage technology training tools to build new levels of efficiency and compliance that result in high levels of guest satisfaction and confident staff. READ MORE

Kathryn Vallier

Technology has always been one of our main focuses throughout the planning process of opening a new boutique hotel and with the development of COVID-19, it has been brought back to the very forefront of our minds. While technology is already becoming an integral part of both the hotel and restaurant world, it is even more important to implement it into the guest experience. READ MORE

Dara St. Louis

While some hotels have opened their doors to quarantine-weary consumers, not all are operating on full capacity. For those hotels that have explored reopening, having food and beverages available to consumers is key. However, to get consumers to return to their establishments, these restaurants need to stress the importance of health and safety. READ MORE

Amy Draheim

Hospitality expert and podcast host Amy Draheim brings a unique perspective as a marketing consultant and a restaurant owner. According to Amy, marketing strategy begins at the end result: the guest experience. She suggests that hotel restaurants "think like a food truck"-be flexible, adaptable, streamlined, and when possible, take dining experiences outdoors. Next, harness the power of guest reviews to highlight key features of the new guest experience. When it comes to marketing messaging, hone in on the voice of your brand. Go beyond safety protocols and get personal. Guests are craving more than a great meal-they're longing for connection. READ MORE

Hicham Jaddoud

Previous industry research found that staffing and training are one of the biggest challenges of the hospitality industry. The cost of turnover is tremendous and includes the expense incurred in recruiting, hiring, training, and retaining the employee and his/her replacement. Arguably, apprenticeships can help fill the gap in the labor force, get young people out of unemployment, and offer them a list of skills that are transferable to different industries. Apprenticeships are now available at almost every industry, including culinary, and offer several pathways: prep-cook to line-cook, garde manger to kitchen assistant, or craft chef to executive chef. READ MORE

Ingo Stöneberg

On the food and beverage front, the tried-and-true approach of sourcing local produce not only remains a constant; it is now more significant than ever in the wake of the global pandemic. Despite all of the restrictions and immense challenges wrought by COVID-19 on the hospitality industry, the guiding principle of buying local is not just about your hotel being more reliant on its own backyard as a result of the coronavirus. It's also about, importantly, supporting your local communities as much as possible. Many family businesses are doing it tough and we're all in this together. READ MORE

Court Williams

The hotel food and beverage (F&B) environment has been impacted significantly by the coronavirus pandemic, leading to many chains being forced by circumstances to pivot to a new way of operating. In the short-term, many hotel F&B divisions have looked at repurposing their spaces, while others have simply stopped operating for the interim. As we move towards the post-Covid world, here's what I expect to see happening in F&B as hotels try to get back to the new normal. READ MORE

Steven Simoni

When COVID-19 hit, hospitality tech solutions went from a nice to have to a necessity for many hospitality operators who are working to stay open and keep customers and staff safe. However, with bars, restaurants, and hotels at limited capacity, now is the time for venues to look into tech that can also help them beyond the pandemic to see what tools they can use long-term and implement now while they have the time. READ MORE

Amy Sedeno

Wine enthusiasts have started to consume and demand better quality wines during their business trips and holidays, prompting hotels to ramp up their wine-centric experiences. With so many lodging and dining choices, wine programs offer companies a way to stand out and reach a new target audience, especially as the world of hospitality gets back on its feet post COVID-19. Here are some hotels that have successfully implemented wine programs and forged the way for collaboration between the hotel and wine industry. READ MORE

Edward Barrett

In the world of online food ordering, consumer behavior has shifted rapidly to migrate phone orders to orders via website or mobile app. As guests return, hotel operators should take the need for online ordering throughout their premises seriously and make plans now to evaluate the best venues and use-cases where digital food ordering can enhance and improve guest satisfaction. The change will be slow at first, but then accelerate as guests and business travelers return in larger quantities. Digital ordering itself is just the start of the food ordering experience that will change, and brands should begin testing these technologies now so they are prepared when guests return en-masse. READ MORE

Steven Haas

The hospitality industry has dramatically been impacted by current events and although designers have always been challenged, today's challenges are extreme and unknown. The entire industry is moving into a more germ-conscious design structure with less touching than before and exploring all types of touch-less technology. Who we were and who we will become is the true challenge, and the only option the restaurant and hotel industry have is to adapt and move forward by leveraging technology. As consumers become more mindful about their products and services, there is an increasingly bigger demand for foods that are more sustainable, healthier, organic, and even ethical causing a wellness-focused design to strongly emerge. READ MORE

Robert Hood

From each and every negative comes the potential for a greater and more positive outcome, and we have to find it. Our world has changed as a result of COVID-19 and that should be no surprise to anyone. In an industry which has been decimated in a way that I never thought possible, we must look at ways of rescuing it from disaster. Reinvention has to be the solution, this can sometimes be a painful and bumpy journey, with chances to be taken, and while anything new holds its own element of risk, in the most uncertain of environments we have a unique opportunity to be able recreate ourselves. READ MORE

Coming up in December 2020...

Hotel Law: Protecting Guest Privacy

Every business is obligated to protect their customers from identity theft but unfortunately, data breaches have become all too common. In an effort to protect a guest's right to privacy and to safeguard their personal data, the European Union passed a General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that could hold hotels legally liable for any breaches that expose a customer's sensitive personal information. Though the GDPR only pertains to EU citizens' data, any international business that mishandles their data can be legally responsible. Another legal issue of concern is the fight involving hotel "resort fees." Several states attorney generals have recently filed suit against two major hotel chains in an effort to litigate this practice. Their suit alleges that these companies are "engaged in deceptive and misleading pricing practices and their failure to disclose fees is in violation of consumer protection laws." The suit seeks to force the hotel chains to advertise the true price of their hotel rooms. There are several other legal issues that the industry is being forced to address. Sexual harassment prevention in the workplace is still top of mind for hotel employers-particularly in New York and California, which now statutorily require harassment training. Hotels and motels in California will also soon be required to train all their employees on human trafficking awareness. Immigration issues are also of major concern to hotel employers, especially in the midst of a severe labor shortage. The government is issuing fewer H2B visas for low-skilled workers, as well as J-1 visas for temporary workers. Though there is little hope for any comprehensive immigration reform, hotel lobbying groups are actively seeking legal remedies to alleviate this problem. These are just a few of the critical issues that the December issue of the Hotel Business Review will examine in the area of hotel law.