Using F&B to Establish a Unique Character for Your Hotel

By Ray Chung Director of Design, The Johnson Studio at Cooper Carry | November 25, 2018

A hotel's restaurants and bars offer one of the best opportunities for the hotel to express its unique character. Food and beverage (F&B) is nothing less than hospitality in motion, on display and interactive in a way that everyone can see. It only makes sense to use F&B to help differentiate hotel properties, now more than ever.

F&B is unique in that guests spend their time in these spaces mostly sitting still and enjoying themselves. Most, if not all, hotel guests will visit the on-site restaurants and bars during their stay, and what's more, they will stay for an hour or more, sometimes multiple times a day. The quality of the food, service and environment plays an enormous role in the level of satisfaction and creates lasting memories, good or bad.

Furthermore, with food tourism on the rise, a hotel's F&B venues can become destinations in themselves. Nationally and internationally recognized chefs, renowned local foods, beers and wines, or even the spaces themselves-for example, a hip, exclusive rooftop bar-can be reason enough for guests to make a trip.

Many hoteliers are reporting upwards of 40% of revenue from F&B. With proper planning, F&B can increase bottom-line returns as well. Together with the draw power and potential improved guest satisfaction, it is clear now is the time to invest in food and drink offerings.

A well-conceived, attractive F&B program can also increase both bookings and profitability of group sales. Event coordinators list F&B as one of the top three most important factors in selecting a venue. Attendees are drawn to events and group activities that are based on local foods and chef-driven experiences.

Of course, simply operating a restaurant or bar is not enough. Neighborhood competition in secondary and even tertiary markets has intensified, and hoteliers need to respond like restaurateurs. More and more travelers check with online review sites before choosing a place, and with so many choices available, a hotel restaurant or bar needs to shine. It needs to compete with the best in the local market and offer a superlative experience, in food quality, service, setting-preferably all three.

A stunning collection of early 20th-century paintings adorns the Atlas restaurant at St. Regis Atlanta
A separate entrance to the restaurant is key to creating a new experience for guests. Kimpton Tryon Park, Charlotte, NC.
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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.