Success Through Sustainability
By Keith Halfmann Vice President of Operations, Marcus Hotels | November 06, 2011
You don't have to be in the hotel business very long to figure out that a signature restaurant can be either a financial boon or a balance sheet nightmare. While some operators view food and beverage as merely a necessary amenity, passionate owners and operators view their restaurant as an opportunity to increase the bottom line and engage the local community.
Busy hotel bars and restaurants deliver on both objectives. They draw-in out-of-town guests, enabling the hotel to drive higher ADRs and boost RevPAR, while capturing added revenues from the local community. Finding that balance of attracting local residents, while meeting the needs of hotel guests can be a challenge. But, it doesn't have to be that way.
Marcus Hotels & Resorts turned this challenge into an opportunity. We found innovative ways for our lounges, bars and restaurants to add value to all of our guests - hotel guests and local residents alike. We focus on how we can be full of activity during all hours – not just lunch and dinner, further develop and grow our brands, meet the needs of our customers and remain top-of-mind in the community.
When we're developing a new restaurant brand or concept, we focus on these four key components:
• Know your customer. Don't rush into a new concept - take the time to understand the market. In our experience, it's often the target market that helps us develop the idea. Ask your team "who are we going after?" Then create the food concept around that. Determining who your target customer is drives everything else, from concept, architecture and design to menus, preparation, staffing and entertainment. This critical step ensures that you remain true to the concept and it maintains its edge, rather than becoming the flavor of the day over time. As your market evolves, so must your concept.
• Separate restaurant management from the hotel. Hotel operators have one primary objective – heads in beds. Many operators view the restaurants and lounges as a subset of the hotel – an added value, but not the first priority. In reality, food and beverage outlets are a business of their own and should be treated as such. Many of our restaurants are separate entities from the hotel. They have their own management team, operating systems and strategies focused on running a successful and profitable restaurant or lounge.