It's Time to Rethink the Three-Meal Restaurant

By Elizabeth Blau Founder & CEO, Blau & Associates | August 14, 2016

This article was co-authored by Tim Martin

Co-authored by Tim Martin, Director of Strategic Development, Blau & Associates

We are living in a golden age of dining, so why are we still dealing with traditional three meal restaurants in hotels?

I think it's fair to say that dining and restaurants have firmly entrenched themselves as key players in our culture. Chefs have long established themselves as members of the celebrity class. Every major network seemingly has some sort of cooking, travel or food related show. And hundreds and thousands of blogs, yelp channels, instagram feeds, and publications are dedicated to tracking, celebrating, and recreating it all.

More important, rising costs in major cities, a sustained interest in local products, and the expanded visibility offered by social media has created an expanding roster of less traditional but still excellent dining destinations ( see Detroit, Minneapolis, Asheville, Portland, ME, the list goes on ). Even if you are not an avid follower of restaurants, knowledge of them, their chefs, what's "hot" and "trending" has all become part of a broader conversation in our current popular culture, and I think that is a great thing. However, I also think it means it is time to seriously reconsider an unfortunate staple of an era when great dining experiences weren't so readily available – the hotel three meal restaurant.

These days there are great meals to be discovered around every corner, and a glut of information and tools dedicated to helping us never go without a list of options. Travel is evolving on the leisure and business side, as is our approach to how we eat on a daily basis, and when. Why do hotels insist on forcing their signature dining restaurants to be all things to all people? Why can't we have dining that reflects our needs, routines, and wants?

Hotels have played an incredibly important role in the development of modern dining. It was at the Hotel Savoy that Auguste Escoffier first assembled the kitchen brigade, an organizational hierarchy still used today. They supported fine dining and important innovations throughout much of the twentieth century. More recently they have played an important role in expanding the reach of celebrity chefs through strategic partnerships, licensing deals, and management contracts, allowing a once locally focused profession to easily expand nationally, and even internationally.

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