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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The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.