Food & Beverage: Key to Overall Revenue
By Susan Terry Vice President, Culinary Operations, Hyatt Hotels & Resorts | November 13, 2011
At every turn, what we do or don't do really matters. Customers are increasingly raising their expectations of our F&B "offerings". Whether it's a single traveler, a professional meeting planner booking a group a year in advance, or a family traveling on leisure, the TOTAL sum quality of your food and beverage experience can make or break that customer's final decision to stay with you.
Certainly location is important, but also important is the variety and BALANCE of your food and beverage offerings. When we look at balance, we ask ourselves the question "Is there something available for everyone? Have we taken into account our customers behaviors and needs and ensured that their needs are met?" Particularly in facilities that might have limited outlets, operators must find ways to keep their customers satisfied inside their walls by creating experiences that are authentic, interesting and worthwhile.
During their stay, your customers have varied needs. One morning they might be running late and the next morning they might be tired and looking for a bit of comfort. Knowing your customer, their habits and then anticipating their needs will drive customer loyalty. This also means that you need to be nimble and think on your feet. Programming may need to change or evolve throughout the year as your customer changes. As an example; business hotels often see an influx of families over the summer and if they are not adjusting their programming to target the needs of those families then they will not only lose the immediate business, but chances are that if given the opportunity, that family will not re-book again. Similarly, during these months, operators can't ignore their core business and must find ways to provide areas that a person traveling on business can "get away" from an unusually busy hotel and find a nice quiet place to do work, answer calls or a bit of peace and quiet.
The first step in assessing your Food and Beverage environment is to conduct a reality check.
Delve into the core details of your hotel and answer honestly. Questions like:
• What type of hotel is this? Is it predominately a business hotel, a leisure hotel or true combination of both?
• What is the style of your hotel? Is it sleek and modern, traditional or rustic? This often gets overlooked by F&B operators who try to introduce trendy influences into their operations. If your hotel is a rustic lodge in Northern California does it really make sense to try to introduce a Pan Asian outlet within its infrastructure? Your hotel's style is as important as location and core customer. Outlets and their offerings need to flow in a manner that makes sense and is intuitive.
• Who's your customer? This is hard one, but the answer should lie in what type of customer dominates the business make up of your hotel.