Building the Buzz for a Hotel Restaurant
By Darin Grohs Director Food & Beverage, W Hotel New Orleans | August 05, 2012
A restaurant can be a great asset to a hotel - it presents an additional source of revenue, adds to the bottom line, and is an attractive feature for guests. Operating a restaurant from within a hotel also ensures a certain amount of business will be coming your way. Some hotel restaurants are simply an extra amenity for guests while others strive to be a part of a city's more established restaurant list. In bigger cities that are known to have a multitude of great dining options like New York, Chicago, New Orleans and San Francisco, it can be tough for hotels to break into the mix of "must tries."
Over the years, hotel restaurants have gotten a bad reputation for putting out subpar food once the opening excitement dies and the stress of running a round-the-clock operation kicks in. Success stories do exist, however, and there are several elements that can help to overcome this negative stereotype. Restaurants with a "celebrity" or well-known chef, and ones affiliated with recognizable, popular brands have a better chance of breaking through the stigma associated with being a hotel restaurant. Customer access is another key factor as exterior entrances separate from hotel lobbies help to portray the restaurant as a stand-alone entity. In the absence of these elements, a hotel restaurant can present a challenge to food and beverage directors wanting to establish their eateries on the city's top 10 list.
With the right marketing, within the hotel and outside of it, restaurateurs can influence the amount of business coming in beyond hotel guests. Depending on where you live, the opportunities to market your hotel restaurant will vary; however, there are several different methods that you can try to increase your exposure and elevate your restaurant's reputation.
Participate in Community Events
Nonprofit groups and businesses often hold benefits and galas to raise money for a cause or an organization and are in need of restaurants to donate food and labor. While these events do not directly get people in your restaurant, they can provide exposure to new audiences. Fulfilling every request that comes your way is impossible, so it is important to select the right community events. Consider the size of the event and select ones that will offer the greatest amount of exposure without getting lost in the shuffle. Events with too many vendors become cluttered and make it difficult to stand out. Put your best foot forward and serve one of your signature dishes so people will want to come into the restaurant to try other dishes on your menu.