Capitalizing on Dining Trends in Hotel Renovation and Design
By Eric Rahe Principal, BLT Architects | October 05, 2014
It is no secret that how, where, and what people are eating is changing. The dining experience matters more than ever before as evidenced by the range of custom designed signature chef restaurants being created in multiple markets. The environment in which people eat, from lighting to carpet to wall coverings to proximity to other people, sets the context for the meal that either helps it sing or just satisfy.
Food itself is also being redefined. From locally-sourced ingredients to gluten-free options to vegan tasting menus, what people eat now demands simultaneous flexibility and restrictions. Menus are merely suggestions for most diners who expect that all their individual needs are exceeded.
So how can hotel owners and operators meet the demands of simultaneous and sometimes conflicting dining needs of their customers? Smart design can go a long way, and each restaurant will need to be fine tuned for the market, likely by demographic and price point. Four trends to consider when designing or renovating space for restaurants provided by limited service to luxury brands include:
In the past, most hotels had one or more hotel-run restaurants that served meals to guests and provided room service. There may have been a breakfast room with a buffet or light table service open early to mid-morning. There may have also been a separate restaurant for evening meals, open mid-afternoon through evening. A third space, likely a bar or lounge, would have more extended hours serving sandwiches and beverages from midday to late night. Today, this concept is being re-thought as space and energy efficiency take center stage throughout the hotel.
Reginald Archambault, General Manager of Philadelphia-based The Rittenhouse advises that, "The layout shouldn't be too trendy. It needs to be flexible, adaptable and malleable." At Lacroix, brunch stations are hosted in the kitchen by the cooks who prepared the dishes or diners can reserve a private table in the kitchen attended by the Executive Chef who customizes the menu based on the diners' individual preferences.