The Integrated Use of Technology in Food & Beverage

By Cornelius Gallagher Associate Vice President, Food & Beverage Operations, Celebrity Cruises | August 19, 2018

Incorporating technology into the Food & Beverage guest experience has become an important focus for Celebrity Cruises. One new concept that incorporates this approach is our newly enhanced Qsine restaurant featuring "Le Petit Chef", created by the world famous animators at Skullmapping in Belgium, presented by Tablemation.  

Le Petit Chef

This one of a kind dining adventure utilizes three-dimensional projection mapping to create an overall experience that is a perfect blend of technology, entertainment and culinary art. As the guests enter the venue, they are seated in a dining room containing dozens of 4K three dimensional cameras mounted within the ceiling. Each guest's dinner is comprised of four courses. A miniature "Petit Chef" appears on the guest's table to prepare an animated version of each dish before it is served. It is something truly unique, fun for ages 8 through 80, and available exclusively on Celebrity Cruises. This newly refreshed version of Qsine is currently available on select ships and will be rolled out to the entire fleet within the next 18 months.

In addition, we brought the Skullmapping animators and the owner of Tablemation to Miami to collaborate with our F&B team, with a goal to create 4 unique custom animations that will be introduced on our newest ship, Edge, in October 2018. We spent 3 days brainstorming and ideating on what the animations would be. We decided to create 3 new mini chef characters from different parts of the world to accompany the original "Le Petit Chef" on his adventures. The idea is that all four chefs would take part in a culinary competition against one another. The cast of characters will include chefs from Spain, Japan, Italy and France. Each chef will create a dish that is inspired by their country. At the end of the meal, guests will vote which country wins. It will be something truly fun and entertaining for all of our guests.

The Celebrity Cruises Application

Yet another way that we are infusing technology into Food and Beverage is through the creation of the Celebrity Cruises application, found on the App store. The app will have a myriad of functionalities embedded within it. Some of those functionalities include the ability of our guests to review information about all of our restaurants and bars, including location, hours of operation, a description of the concept, the menu offering, the pricing of the venues, plus photos of the venue and photography of the food and drinks. In time, the app will also give guests the ability to book their restaurant reservations onboard.

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Social Media: Getting Personal

There Social media platforms have revolutionized the hotel industry. Popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and Tumblr now account for 2.3 billion active users, and this phenomenon has forever transformed how businesses interact with consumers. Given that social media allows for two-way communication between businesses and consumers, the emphasis of any marketing strategy must be to positively and personally engage the customer, and there are innumerable ways to accomplish that goal. One popular strategy is to encourage hotel guests to create their own personal content - typically videos and photos -which can be shared via their personal social media networks, reaching a sizeable audience. In addition, geo-locational tags and brand hashtags can be embedded in such posts which allow them to be found via metadata searches, substantially enlarging their scope. Influencer marketing is another prevalent social media strategy. Some hotels are paying popular social media stars and bloggers to endorse their brand on social media platforms. These kinds of endorsements generally elicit a strong response because the influencers are perceived as being trustworthy by their followers, and because an influencer's followers are likely to share similar psychographic and demographic traits. Travel review sites have also become vitally important in reputation management. Travelers consistently use social media to express pleasure or frustration about their guest experiences, so it is essential that every review be attended to personally. Assuming the responsibility to address and correct customer service concerns quickly is a way to mitigate complaints and to build brand loyalty. Plus, whether reviews are favorable or unfavorable, they are a vital source of information to managers about a hotel's operational performance.  The February Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to effectively incorporate social media strategies into their businesses.