The Buffet A La Carte Balance in Hotel Restaurants

Are You Leveraging the Delicate Balance in Your Hotel Restaurants?

By S. Lakshmi Narasimhan Founder, Ignite Insight LLC | September 11, 2016

As someone who has poured money into a restaurant as an investment vehicle, the owner is looking at a good return on that investment. Restaurant profits cannot match rooms accommodation profits and in most cases tend to be between one third to one half of rooms profits. It is thus critical that the restaurant product is well thought out and harnesses resident hotel guest patronage complemented by non-residents. A well balanced buffet and a la carte offerings in the hotel restaurant will go a long way in delivering that patronage factor as well as producing that return on investment the owner is seeking. A win win situation that owners and stake holders hold dear to their hearts.

Restaurant operations generically owe their sustenance in revenues and profits to the delicate balance between buffet setups (harnessing the power of the bundling strategy) and regular a la carte menus. That buffets are far more profitable than a la carte menus is indisputable, however, having a slick balance between the two is the trick to maintaining consistent revenue streams and profitability. An analysis of this tandem strategy.

The Buffet Philosophy

Buffets play a huge part in the sales mix offering in a food and beverage operation. A buffet spread is a high contribution margin item while at the same time delivering extra advantages like the lesser need to serve the customer (it is self-service), lesser staff deployment other than for replenishing the buffet (leading to lesser labor costs) and so forth. And of course the supreme benefit to the guest is that they can pick and choose from the spread. In particular, breakfast and lunch buffets provide busy executives strapped for time a facility to quickly complete a meal and get back to work. It is a win-win situation.

In fact, meal periods and their diverse offerings of breakfast, lunch and dinner at various price and profit points and often in a combination of buffet and a la carte menu items are classic examples of a powerful sales mix at work.

A La Carte Revenue Contribution

Choose a Social Network!

The social network you are looking for is not available.

Close

Hotel Newswire Headlines Feed  

Coming up in April 2019...

Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.