F&B Biggest Challenges: In-Room-Dining

By John Brand Executive Chef, Hotel Pearl – Kimpton Hotels | August 26, 2012

The best service any hotel can offer is the ability to serve guests high quality food in their hotel room in a timely manner with excellent service. The mark setting standard from a three star hotel to a four star hotel is complimentary amenities for guest checking or upon turndown. A simple glass of fresh lemonade upon check in can make the all the difference for a customer and a customer for life.

At its simplest measure, the restaurant business plan of only one seating each service seems logical. We have one good chance to preserve the art of dining and create an experience without being rushed. Same with Private Dining, we have one room and one chance to impress, one service that hallmarks all the qualities of the hotel.

In room dining or private dining has not moved that far from the original Room Service as it once was called, or ‘room circus’ as not- so- affectionately termed by the kitchen. It is the Achilles heel of any full service hotel and restaurant. As refined and focused as the restaurant product is, the more difficult it is to measure in private dining.

Most often, unless in some exclusive luxury brands with a signature chef and restaurant (they are smart to have required separate kitchens when designed) the food for private dining comes from the same line as the equally diverse restaurant menu. This is the mark of a good chef, you are only as good as your Private Dining food. Anything you do, the legacy of this menu and deliverance will mark your success.

Three areas of Private Dining Culture we can comprehensively improve:

1. Cook

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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.