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Ray Chung

Hotels are learning to capitalize on their food & beverage offerings. No longer just a required, unprofitable amenity for guests, the hotel restaurant and especially the bar component are becoming proper revenue sources. People are spending more time—and more money—at these outlets. In some surveys, fully half of travelers report that they choose their hotel for its restaurant. And from the operator's point of view, hotels offer a number of advantages over freestanding restaurants, from not having to manage escalating rents to practical matters, such as having the assurance of a full-time engineering team on site. Read on...

Gary Isenberg

If hoteliers want a lesson regarding how drastically dining trends have evolved over the past 40 years, they need to look no further than the history of Howard Johnson's. A welcome respite for vacationing families and interstate road warriors in the mid-20th century, those orange-domed waystations dotted nearly every highway across the country. At HoJo's zenith, the chain numbered than 1,000 restaurants and 500 motor lodges. Read on...

Larry Trabulsi

This article focuses on evaluating external service providers for optimizing Food and Beverage (F&B) Department profitability, and is the second in a series on outsourcing services at hotels. As my colleague, Michael Doyle, asked in the first article in this series: “Why should hotels outsource, or challenge a traditional operations model?” The most common answer is to maximize profitability. Industry-wide, F&B revenue represents over 25% of total hotel revenue, yet generating a meaningful profit margin in F&B (which is difficult to measure with accuracy) can be challenging. In many hotels F&B can be an integral part of the guest experience, and a large source of revenue for the hotel. Read on...

Michael Barbera

Time pressure is a significant driver of human decision-making. Time pressure is both artificial and natural. Time pressure is popular with airlines, hotels and sporting tickets. When purchasing an airline ticket it is likely that you have encountered a message that stated, "time remaining to purchase", or "seats reserved for", followed by a clock counting down. Ticketing agencies such as Ticketmaster and online retailer eBay are known for their time pressure sales methods. The high time pressure used by airlines, hotels and ticketing agencies are overt and intentional; however, not all time pressure is overt or intentional. Read on...

Michael Barbera

The food service industry is volatile due to the low barrier to entry, high level of competition and significantly low-profit margins. Foodservice operators are likely to reduce expenditures and save money wherever possible. Additionally, food service operators are known for being creative to attain an advantage on the competition. Designing menus that are less taxing on the consumer's choice are a common approach to increasing revenue and enhancing the consumer experience. Furthermore, unique menus are likely to attribute to an improved consumer experience that carries an intangible value of word of mouth marketing between consumers. Read on...

David Ashen

There was a time when a hotel restaurant was the place to be seen. A special anniversary or family celebration at a grand hotel with a formal meal was a real treat and something to look forward to. While that's still true to some extent, changes in lifestyles and the hospitality industry have had a major impact on the way most people celebrate special events and casually socialize, including those centered on an extravagant meal at a grand hotel. Often, today's festivities focus less on elaborate banquets than they do on a lively bar scene with local brews, spirits and traditional drinks, along with inspired dishes at a restaurant of note, including those located in hotels. Read on...

Scott Acton

In recent years, the hotel industry has seen a shift in revenue streams that it is eating up. While gaming revenue was once king in Las Vegas, it has now been overtaken by the food and beverage (F&B) segment. According to Moody's Financial Services, in Las Vegas specifically, non-gaming revenue has now easily surpassed gambling revenue, making up between 55 percent to 65 percent of total revenues with hotel, food and beverage spending representing the largest non-gaming income streams. Thanks to millennials, along with growing numbers of more discerning consumers, a shift in consumer desires has affected the way those in the hotel industry think, build and design. Consumers now demand and expect a fully immersive and experiential outing when they eat, drink and "make merry." Read on...

Brian Mitchell

Every task performed the same way, every member of the floor team on the same page, a place for everything and everything in its place. It's the surest way to make your patrons feel that they can relax back in the hands of true professionals. This enhances every dimension of their experience. It encourages the kind of word of mouth (and word-of-internet) that you most want. It keeps those guests coming back, certain of a reassuring constancy in meeting their needs and preferences. It keeps them bringing others with them, to bask in the glow of deft attendance. And, most importantly, it keeps increasing their spend, in all the best ways, for them and for your establishment. Read on...

Michael Barbera

Here's why I admire menus: it's the only marketing content that's guaranteed to be read. Once the consumer is seated at a table, they are almost guaranteed to make a purchase. Less than one percent of patrons are likely to depart a restaurant after being seated. Therefore, 99 percent is an outstanding conversion rate that digital marketers would sell their first born to achieve. I would say congrats to all the restaurateurs for achieving this amazing feat of feasts, but we have to be forthright, your margins are miserable. The purpose for our research was to understand how consumers increase spending after viewing a menu, and we've discovered that creating an experience is the catalyst. Read on...

Juliana Shallcross

Hyatt Regency Savannah is embracing the city's exciting foodie scene with a vibrant new restaurant concept that will give guests an authentic dining experience and an up close view of Savannah's riverfront, while at the same time, will meet the day-to-night needs of the modern traveler. For the past few years, hotels have begun modernizing their offerings for a new type of traveler—one that's readily plugged in (sometimes literally with their smartphone in hand) to the newest trends in design, technology, food, and experiences. This traveler expects far more from their hotel than just a comfortable bed at night. Read on...

Lorraine Abelow

Food has become a magnetic force that steers people's travels and often dictates what hotel they choose. So, it is vital to get the word out through traditional and social media about your hotel's offerings. With the exploding culinary craze, travelers are making decisions on what destinations to visit based on the cuisine they see covered in the media. Preferences, such as farm-to-table, locally sourced produce, and the innovative creations of chefs, are what your property should be publicizing through feature stories in important media outlets and social media channels. It is more critical than ever to publicize the cuisine at your hotel to reach the burgeoning "foodies" market. Read on...

Simon Hudson

As TV chefs have morphed into global celebrities in the era of TV reality shows, a new restaurant trend in Open Kitchen Dining has emerged. Although the concept is not totally novel - after all, sushi bars have been doing it for years - it is the polished level of performance, highbrow cuisine and the proliferation of the trend that is more recent. All around the world, restaurants are putting their executive chefs on display, cooking part, or even all, of a meal right in front of diners who often sit at counters, watching every move. Cooking has become a reality show, adding an extra cachet to the restaurant experience. This ascendance of culinary scrutiny has gone hand in hand with a heightened interest in farm fresh ingredients and a general food fetishism which encompasses new fads in organic, gluten-free, lactose-free, vegan and vegetarian eating. Read on...

Brian Mitchell

The best thing about Gen Y sommeliers and wine waiters is their enthusiasm. And the worst thing? Their enthusiasm. Youth has ever been a period of intensely romanticized responses. No one has ever felt a love like this - captured such a clarity of insight - no one has ever felt so angst-ridden and bereft - no one has ever tasted a wine like this with such purity of focus and appreciation.No one has ever loved/lost/felt/tasted as intensely as this. Youth has despaired through history over this self-evident (to them, at least) truth. With Gen Y, however, this attitude is through the roof, living as they do in a social media-created echo chamber that consists largely (perhaps only) of like-minded tastes. Read on...

Yuriy Boykiv

Multicultural beverage marketing can be a difficult segment to break into — particularly for the travel and entertainment industries. Fortunately, there's a special on tap. According to a recent Pew Research report, Asian-Americans are the fastest-growing segment of the marketplace. Since the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, 51 percent of new immigrants have come from Latin America and a quarter from Asia. Asian-Americans are projected to eventually overtake the size and importance of the Hispanic market. Read on...

Brian Mitchell

Hotel restaurants compete against performance standards that exist in their customers' minds. Dishes that have excited and inspired them, intriguing and challenging wine lists, on-trend cocktail selections and artfully designed dining interiors that they've experience in the past - these create benchmarks against which every new restaurant experience will invariably be measured. Performance standards in these first two dimensions of a restaurant business, the products on offer and the ambience of the setting, get all the buzz and so receive a great deal of attention from management and critics. A restaurant which consistently underperforms in these aspects of the business is unlikely to survive. Read on...

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Coming up in August 2018...

Food & Beverage: Millennials Rule

The Millennial Generation has surpassed the Baby Boomers to become the largest living generation in America, and their tastes and preferences are being reflected in the Food & Beverage industry. In general, Millennials insist on more natural, healthier, less-processed food and beverage sources, and in part, this inspired the farm-to-table movement. However, now the trend is becoming even more pronounced and hyper-local. Millennials no longer simply want to know their food is farm-to-table, they want to know which farm, and where it's located relative to the community. As a result, hotel F&B directors are redesigning entire menus to feature area brewers, wineries, and family farms. Not only is this a proven way to satisfy Millennial tastes but it also opens the door for hotel guests to enjoy immersive experiences such as tours and excursions to local farms and breweries. Also, thanks in no small part to Millennials, coffee consumption is at an all-time high. In response, F&B directors are creating innovative ways to enhance the coffee experience for guests. Nitro-brewed coffee, cold brew, lattes on draft, and the introduction of unique milk options are part of this trend, as are locally sourced coffee beans where available. Millennial influences can also be found in the Craft and Artisan Cocktail movement where the same preferences for locally sourced and high-quality ingredients apply. One leading hotel even offers a drink menu featuring liquors infused with herbs recommended by experts for their health and well-being benefits. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will document the trends and challenges in the food and beverage sector, and report on what some leading hotels are doing to enhance this area of their business.