Five Keys to Millennial Food & Beverage Success
Bringing your restaurant up to code for millennials
By Larry Mogelonsky President & Founder, LMA Communications | November 03, 2013
The last decade or so has witnessed the emergence of a new era of dining with profound and dire implications for hotels across the world. Namely, internet-born resources have made it possible for any guest to readily locate a number of local eateries, making it harder for a property's onsite restaurants to gain traction amongst new customers and retain existing patrons.
We are talking about the millennials, of course, along with their swelling buying power now that members of this demographic are entering their 20s or 30s. This trend should compel full-service hotels to realize that substantial revenue can be harvested from their F&B offerings.
With exponentially boosted levels of competition, onsite dining isn't the cash cow that it once. Adaptation is necessary. Even if your restaurant is still a serious earner, I implore to nevertheless reconsider how you approach F&B as there's a powerful psychological undercurrent to this trend that will inevitably impact your bottom line.
When examining the hotel experience from a guest's perspective, the delineation between rooms, facilities and food is minimal at best, most likely nonexistent. In their minds, they desire a quality 'hospitality' experience – a word that encompasses both guestrooms and dining. Hence, a bad dining experience (whether the hotel owns the onsite restaurant or not) will reflect poorly on the hotel. The opposite is true for a good dining experience, demonstrating that even though your F&B may not be a foremost contributor to the bottom line, it can still have hidden effects on rooms sold and RevPAR.
And this emotional transference does not stop there. Simply spending more time with a given person, object or place will confer a stronger bond between the respective parties. When guests leave the property to dine elsewhere, you are missing a critical opportunity to not only satisfy their appetites for a profit but win their hearts and minds. In this new age where true brand loyalty (especially amongst the millennials) is waning, you need as many guests as possible dining in-house to counter this decline.
While investigating this property-restaurant emotional transference effect, I was put in contact with a relatively new brand, Johnny's Italian Steakhouse, and its founder and CEO, Mike Whalen. An energetic and preternaturally upbeat fellow, Whalen also had some profound insights as to what makes for an outstanding hotel dining experience – one that will motivate patrons, both millennials and those in other age ranges, to not only return but to preselect their next hotel based on the in-house eateries. I've summarized our talk into five key points.