Library Archives

 
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...

George Fistrovich

Sustainability and farm-to-table dining have become synonymous with dining experiences. The expectation for a locally grown meal at fine dining restaurants has risen 87% over the past years according to the 2015 National Restaurant Association Industry Forecast. As the leader of a culinary team, we are dedicated to exceed those expectations while meeting our bottom line. This can be a challenge to hotels and resorts around the globe whose climate does not permit for produce to be grown year round. I am fortunate to lead The Ritz-Carlton, Naples culinary team, the first resort to work with CropBox, the solution to providing sustainable dining that is not contingent on climate year round. Read on...

Brian Mitchell

"He may live without love - what is passion but pining? But where is the man who can live without dining?" These lines from the English statesman and poet Owen Meredith, sum up what most of us in the industry would like to feel about dining. But the experience of dining has many elements and how these come together will determine what's more important - how our customers come to feel. It's a truism that first impressions are hard to change. And the earliest impression for diners occurs in seating. Where they're seated and how they're seated. Read on...

Larry Mogelonsky

Now that the locavore movement has become mainstream, locally sourced foods at restaurants have shifted from a value-add to an expectation for consumers. As such, to impress guests, more must be done in this regard. Indigenous ingredient sourcing offers one such solution as it serves to deliver as authentically local a dining experience as possible. Although not practical in all situations, the sourcing of foods that are native to a region can act as a clear point of differentiation to help grow a property's F&B revenues. Read on...

Cornelius Gallagher

The cruise industry is constantly evolving and expanding, making headlines by introducing breakthrough innovations from top-of-the-line food and beverage to leading technology and environmentally friendly practices. The operations at the very foundation of a cruise line, like Celebrity Cruises, are composed of an abundant number of 'moving parts'. As a recent transplant from NYC's restaurant scene - one of the most highly respected, cutting-edge culinary arenas in the world - cruising is unlike anything I have previously seen. Sourcing produce in the cruise industry takes on a whole new meaning. Read on...

Brian Mitchell

Any perusal of the literature will show how increasingly important Food & Beverage has become to overall hotel operations. Its influence reaches across marketing, finance, staffing priorities, guest satisfaction results, and overall positioning of a property. Yet for all its acknowledged significance the F&B function can easily fly under the radar when it comes to performance scrutiny. This series of articles examines the underlying mindsets and principles that ultimately determine F&B success - factors that won't be picked up in year on year performance measures, or even comparisons against other restaurant operations. It's entirely feasible for an F&B department to tick all the financial boxes, yet grossly underperform when measured against actual revenue opportunities available and ignored. The six articles, concluding with the accompanying one, provide a litmus test for management in evaluating the latent strength of an F&B operation. Read on...

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Coming up in March 2020...

Human Resources: Confronting a Labor Shortage

With the unemployment rate at its lowest level in decades (3.7%), what has always been a perennial problem for human resource professionals - labor shortage - is now reaching acute levels of concern. It is getting harder to find and recruit qualified applicants. Even finding candidates with the skills to succeed in entry-level positions has become an issue. In addition, employee turnover rates remain extremely high in the hotel industry. As a result of these problems, hotel HR managers are having to rethink their recruitment strategies in order to hire the right talent for the right job. First, hotels have been forced to raise their wages and offer other appealing perks, as a way to attract qualified candidates. Secondly, HR managers are reassessing their interviewing techniques, focusing less on the answers they receive to questions and more on observable behavior. Part of this process includes role-playing during the interview, so that the recruiter can gauge how a candidate works through specific problems and interacts with other team members. Additionally, some HR managers are also creating internal talent pools as a way to address labor shortages. Instead of utilizing department resources to find new hires with specific skills for needed positions, hotels are cultivating talent pools internally and preparing their employees to assume leadership roles whenever the time comes. They are also placing greater emphasis on a company culture that is more performance-based, as a way to curb employee turnover, increase employee satisfaction, and assure higher levels of customer service. Finally, recognizing the importance of employee retention as a way to lessen the impact of a tight labor market, some HR managers are instituting generous reward programs in order to retain their top performers. The March Hotel Business Review will explore what some HR professionals are doing to address these and other issues in their departments.