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The Future of F&B

August 2, 2015

Today, food is an experience. Food is part of the manner tourists explore a new city and how business people impress one another. Social networks are filled with pictures of where friends are eating and what they are eating. Travelers today want to feel they are experiencing a place “like the locals.” They want to hang out with a local crowd and eat where they eat, rather than enjoy timeworn “tourist traps”.

Many hotels are rising up to the challenge and have already changed their F&B strategies. Hotel dining rooms have been converted into chef restaurants, meant to strengthen the brand and draw customers. In the past, no foodie would have been caught dead in a hotel restaurant. Today, many research the trendiest, newest place and only then decide where to stay.

Bluespoon Restaurant in Andaz hotel Amsterdam

Bluespoon Restaurant in Andaz hotel Amsterdam

There are many types of culinary cooperation in hotels. Let’s list the most common:

  1. The hotel provides the space, the chef delivers the experience: Many chefs and leading restaurant brands are opening restaurants in hotels. This type of cooperation allows each side to do what it does best: the hotel provides the location and its customer base and the chef brings his or her reputation and trendiness. We see this very often in both international and local markets.
    Chef Amir Naor’s Restaurant in Alegra Hotel, Jerusalem

    Chef Amir Naor’s Restaurant in Alegra Hotel, Jerusalem

    2. Hoteliers that open restaurants in their own establishments: The concept for the restaurant comes from in-depth knowledge of the hospitality business and expected service, as well as a deep understanding of the target market.

3. Restaurateurs that expand into the hotel business: Restaurants with an established reputation sometimes expand into other businesses. In this case, the hotel is based on the branding of the restaurant, and not vice versa.

In all these types of cooperation, there is a co-dependence between restaurant and hotel. The restaurant provides service to hotel guests, and the hotel participates in marketing the restaurant. However, it is important to maintain a balance and differentiation. That is, to give guests the feeling that the restaurant and hotel are separate worlds with different “stories”. otherwise we get back to the old “dining room” concept.

What else is going on?

The end of the room service era?

Almost every restaurant today has a take-out menu allowing them to compete with the traditional room service in hotels. Many hotels have adopted an “if you can’t beat them, join them” attitude. Instead of competing, they help guests order in. They gain customer satisfaction and still enable guests to eat in their rooms whenever they choose.

Vending Machines

Today you can find a whole lot of things in vending machines, from sandwiches and snacks to the less obvious cosmetics and electronic gadgets. Hotels that place vending machines in their establishments give guests easy access to food throughout the day, without the hotel’s added cost of preparing and serving the food themselves.

Luxury vending machine in Mondrian Hotel

Luxury vending machine in Mondrian Hotel

Bar instead of restaurant

Traditionally, the lobby is where you would go into a hotel for coffee or a snack. Today, instead of the lobby restaurant, we see many hotels setting up bars where guests can purchase drinks or food and eat them in the hotel’s public space. This is the place where we see hotels being creative. I have seen coffee bars, as well as yogurt bars, chocolate bars, ice-cream bars and more. These bars are usually operated by outside vendors, and they allow hotels to give guests excellent service while enjoying the benefit of the specialization and expertise of the bars. Guests feel the hotel has provided them with the very best in a specific field. Imagine a chocolate bar operated by Godiva, or a coffee bar by Nespresso.

Anyone in the hotel business knows it is a tough business to be in. However, if you do it right, you can gain business  success while giving your guests a unique experience, atmosphere and service, that will make them remember the hotel and want to come back.

Bar in Generator Hotel

Bar in Generator Hotel

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