August FOCUS: Food & Beverage

August, 2020

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.

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

Jennifer Smith Thomas

Over the past few months, COVID-19 has ravaged the economy, leaving hospitality industry feeling especially compromised. As travel resumes, hotel ownership and management are left with various and continually evolving premises liability concerns. Among those concerns, owners must take precautions to avoid personal injury liability for negligent exposure claims, and employment liability claims. READ MORE

Julie Fugitt-Schultz

In past downturns, the extended-stay segment has outperformed other lodging segments. However, the coronavirus pandemic is an unprecedented event in terms of severity. Overall industry RevPAR declines are far outpacing declines exhibited post 9/11 or the 2007 financial crisis, bringing into question whether the extended-stay segment can maintain its reputation as 'recession proof' amidst COVID-19. READ MORE

Adria Levtchenko

A clean and safe environment has always been a compelling calling card of the modern hotel. Now, in confronting a global pandemic, cleanliness and sanitation are keys to winning the confidence of guests and re-establishing occupancy, as well as protecting staff and other visitors. Getting the job done falls to the hotel staff, especially housekeeping. This article discusses these challenges and the role of hotel task platforms in ensuring a quality result. READ MORE

Bob Drury

As social distancing restrictions lift and people emerge from quarantine, the lodging industry will likely see a resurgence in room occupancy, but stays will look very different from years prior. In this article, Bob Drury, Senior Managing Director at CREXi, explores how COVID-19 has impacted the hospitality sector, how the commercial real estate industry responded, and what the future holds for hotels in a post-coronavirus world. READ MORE

J. Drei Munar

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of San Francisco is seeking to help employees who have been laid off, including those in the hospitality industry. In late June, the city's Board of Supervisors passed a new ordinance that guarantees reemployment for certain workers who were laid off, creating a temporary right to reemployment when covered employers seek to hire workers for the same positions previously held by employees who were laid off for COVID-19 reasons. READ MORE

Ernesto Osuna

Meliá Koh Samui's general manager Ernesto Osuna outlines how he and his team stayed positive and productive as the global pandemic took hold after celebrating the resort's grand opening on January 10, 2020. From retaining the resort's staff and ensuring 100% of their salaries, helping the community, and introducing stringent safety and hygiene measures, to developing new guest experiences and maintaining strong sales, marketing and public relations efforts. READ MORE

John Tess

The changing economy has resulted in underutilized and vacated modern office towers in downtowns across the country. Many of these 50-year-old office buildings, with their beneficial design, location, floor plans, and materials, have been rehabilitated into hotels and apartments. HRI Properties' adaptive reuse of Aloft New Orleans Downtown presented a tremendous opportunity for the rehabilitation of mid-century modern architecture. READ MORE

Mostafa Sayyadi

Many hotel executives see organizational effectiveness as an outcome of various factors such as employee engagement, information technology and strategy, and a culture inspiring innovation and creativity within hotels. Furthermore, hotel executives are encouraged to improve the bottom line and increase organizational performance. Financial and non-financial measures can illustrate whether the hotel's culture, employee engagement, information technology and strategy are contributing to bottom-line improvement. READ MORE

David Kasprak

Times change, styles change, places change. Yet some things remain. Over the last three hundred years we have seen the lodging industry morph from a smattering of mom-and-pop inns into multi-billion-dollar sector of the world economy. We've have seen the modest roadside pub give way to the grand hotels of the early 20th century, the business-class hotel, and sprawling resorts worldwide. Yet through all the changes there remains a constant; The Hotel Lobby, and with it the bar and restaurant. READ MORE

Cindy Perkins

As hotels start opening and meeting planners begin looking for venues that their clients will be comfortable with, what are the critical items to focus on to ensure capturing the available revenue? How best can you prepare your hotel, your team, and owners for the next 24 months and beyond? Modifying your budgets, sales procedures, marketing plans, revenue expectations and even your comp set during the rebuilding is paramount. READ MORE

Dan Sines

Nearly 8 million hotel and hospitality employees have been laid off or furloughed since the COVID-19 pandemic brought travel to a standstill. But what happens when life resumes and business comes back? Traitify CEO Dan Sines offers advice to hiring managers before they face a tidal wave of applications from unemployed workers looking to return to the industry. READ MORE

Vani Van Nielen

As we enter Q3, there is no question that the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted businesses worldwide. Hospitality has already been singled out as having notably suffered from travel restrictions and lockdowns, but one could argue that meetings and events have it the worst. The very definition, large groups of people gathering in a single location that is often indoors, makes it clear that the meetings and events industry has struggled a lot. READ MORE

Timothy Flohr

When most people think about "project management" their first thoughts are generally not about the hospitality industry. Even though it is one of the largest industries in existence, there has not been a concerted industry-wide effort to embrace project management. However, hospitality firms from across the entire industry, from mom-and-pop operations to global hospitality giants, are planning and executing projects on a daily basis. READ MORE

Mark Natale

Consistent and strategic branding can lead to a strong brand equity, which can add great value and credibility for hotels. Despite the challenges that have unfolded due to COVID-19, now is not the time to put off building a remarkable brand. In fact, it's quite the opposite. You should now be doubling down on your commitment to your brand. READ MORE

Manny Dominguez

While the coronavirus pandemic paused travel worldwide, the crisis has not paused wanderlust or human needs for connection. As guests begin to resume travel plans – whether for business or leisure – they will bring new expectations for health and wellbeing with them, from the use of hands-free technology to a connection to the outdoors to a holistic approach to programming. Manny Dominguez, principal at global design firm Cooper Carry, outlines how design-oriented solutions and strategic modifications will usher in the next era of hospitality, where a strong commitment to wellness serves as a new gold standard for the industry. READ MORE

Coming up in September 2022...

Hotel Group Meetings: The Great Outdoors

There is some welcome good news in the Hotel Group Meetings sector. There seems to be a resurgence in activity - across all sectors and all sizes - from small board meetings to large in-person groups. However, hotels must remain flexible and proactive, as they seek to provide venues and programs that are productive, comfortable, and safe to all parties. One major development is the expansion of outdoor meeting activities. This trend not only serves to meet regulatory health standards, but it also promotes an environment of well-being. According to a recent study from, spending just 29 minutes outdoors can result in a 45% increase in productivity; and 63% of employees reportedly felt invigorated after being in fresh air. Combined with guided physical activities and healthy food and beverage offerings, a sense of wellness and productivity are established. The September Hotel Business Review will report on what some hotels are doing to accommodate the revitalization of group meeting business in their operations.