Beyond the Hotel Restaurant: Bringing in the Locals
By Fernando Salazar Vice President, Food & Beverage, Wyndham Hotel Group | November 13, 2011
What comes to mind when you read those two words? Perhaps you think, "Reliable." Or maybe you think "uninspired, gets-the-job-done or cookie-cutter." Many hotels in the United States build restaurants and bars with the exclusive purpose of providing meals, snacks and drinks to hotel guests. Usually, they are a convenient place to grab some breakfast or have a glass of wine.
The locations of these food and beverage establishments are also often in hidden, out-of-the-way corners of hotels. Some are housed in basements, euphemistically known in hotel parlance as the "lower level." At times, they are located on the mezzanine level or on the second floor but very seldom are they front-and-center in the lobby of the hotel.
In all of these instances, hotels miss a tremendous opportunity to generate more revenue. Why, I ask, would we choose the most hidden corner of a hotel to build a restaurant? What should be a revenue center and profit maker for a property becomes a room occasionally visited by guests. But alas, it happens. And it happens often. Think of the last five hotels you've visited and try to remember where each restaurant was located. I bet that very few were in the lobby of the hotel or had their own outside entrances.
The hotel lobby is the "Times Square" of the hotel. By that, I mean, it is the most trafficked area of the hotel -- People checking in or out, guests arriving from a shopping spree or going out on the town. Why not put your restaurant as close to the lobby as possibly? Why not do your best to capture all of that traffic?
Also, once a hotel opens or renovates its restaurant, very often no one makes any noise about it. Why invest in the restaurant or bar and spend money staffing them only to not tell guests and others in the immediate vicinity that you are open for business and that your food and beverage outlets are not "hotel guest-only" establishments? Why not employ the same strategy used to let people know about the availability of your hotel rooms? A restaurant will not do nearly as well as it can if the only customers are a percentage of the guests staying at the hotel.
A Day in the Life of a Hotel Restaurant