Building the Buzz for a Hotel Restaurant

By Darin Grohs Director Food & Beverage, W Hotel New Orleans | August 05, 2012

A restaurant can be a great asset to a hotel - it presents an additional source of revenue, adds to the bottom line, and is an attractive feature for guests. Operating a restaurant from within a hotel also ensures a certain amount of business will be coming your way. Some hotel restaurants are simply an extra amenity for guests while others strive to be a part of a city’s more established restaurant list. In bigger cities that are known to have a multitude of great dining options like New York, Chicago, New Orleans and San Francisco, it can be tough for hotels to break into the mix of “must tries.”

Over the years, hotel restaurants have gotten a bad reputation for putting out subpar food once the opening excitement dies and the stress of running a round-the-clock operation kicks in. Success stories do exist, however, and there are several elements that can help to overcome this negative stereotype. Restaurants with a “celebrity” or well-known chef, and ones affiliated with recognizable, popular brands have a better chance of breaking through the stigma associated with being a hotel restaurant. Customer access is another key factor as exterior entrances separate from hotel lobbies help to portray the restaurant as a stand-alone entity. In the absence of these elements, a hotel restaurant can present a challenge to food and beverage directors wanting to establish their eateries on the city’s top 10 list.

With the right marketing, within the hotel and outside of it, restaurateurs can influence the amount of business coming in beyond hotel guests. Depending on where you live, the opportunities to market your hotel restaurant will vary; however, there are several different methods that you can try to increase your exposure and elevate your restaurant’s reputation.

Participate in Community Events

Nonprofit groups and businesses often hold benefits and galas to raise money for a cause or an organization and are in need of restaurants to donate food and labor. While these events do not directly get people in your restaurant, they can provide exposure to new audiences. Fulfilling every request that comes your way is impossible, so it is important to select the right community events. Consider the size of the event and select ones that will offer the greatest amount of exposure without getting lost in the shuffle. Events with too many vendors become cluttered and make it difficult to stand out. Put your best foot forward and serve one of your signature dishes so people will want to come into the restaurant to try other dishes on your menu.

Cause Marketing

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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.