August - Food & Beverage: Going Casual
According to industry tracker PKF Hospitality Research, food and beverage sales represent the second- largest source of revenue for full-service hotels behind rooms. Given its financial importance, hotel operators are constantly adapting and evolving their F&B operations in order to remain current with industry trends and to meet (and exceed) guest expectations. Recent food developments which continue to proliferate include the farm-to-table movement; customized menus for those who are vegan, vegetarian, paleo or gluten-free; the appearance of smaller dishes on tasting menus; and creatively- prepared comfort foods served in more casual settings. In fact, there is a growing emphasis in the entire industry on more casual food operations. Customers are eschewing the typical breakfast-lunch- dinner/appetizer-entrée-dessert model in favor of "fast-casual" menus and service (think Panera, Chipotle or Cosi as examples). Even better if these menus are also available throughout the property, especially in social-gathering areas like the lobby, pool or bar. Some hotels are also experimenting with "pop-up" restaurants - a temporary dining option with edgy menus and design served in unexpected locations (like rooftops or lobbies) - as a way to keep things energetic and fresh. Another trend which applies to both food and wine is the option to purchase food and beverages in multiple sizes. Some operations are giving their customers the opportunity to choose - a three ounce pour of wine or a nine-ounce pour; a six-ounce filet or a twelve-ounce - the customers decide their portion size and pay accordingly. The August issue of the Hotel Business Review will document all these trends and challenges in the food and beverage sector, and report on what some leading hotels are doing to enhance this area of their business. Need to subscribe? Click here!
Erik Wolf

Food is always an important consideration for travelers, for some more so than others. The food tourism industry is almost 15 years old and in this time, we’ve been able to identify changes in consumer behavior when it comes to food and travel. Some of these changes are driven by health concerns or religion, while others are driven by consumers’ obsession with food and drink. Still, there are some basic tenets of behavior when it comes to foodies and their purchasing decisions. There are actually 13 different types of foodies, and knowing which foodie(s) you’re targeting can make or break your marketing plan – and your bottom line. READ MORE

Andrew M. Sims

Recent research shows that more and more travelers, especially among younger generations, are forgoing familiar but often cookie-cutter hotel brands in favor of boutique properties that promise unique, authentic local experiences that connect guests to the destinations they visit. This trend dovetails with the recent growth of culinary tourism – in which guests make travel decisions based on available culinary options – to put significant pressure on hotel food and beverage operations, which represent the second largest source of revenue for full-service hotels according to PKF Hospitality Research, to shift strategic focus toward culturally relevant, experiential offerings that resonate with today’s modern traveler. READ MORE

Jonathan Wilson

Consumer dining preferences are shifting and becoming much more casual at hotels across all segments of the industry, from grab-and-go and in-restaurant offerings at suite brands to fine dining options at luxury properties. This change has created a void in the hotel industry for welcoming, casual dining experiences. You might think a large property that offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and room service has everything covered. But the new reality is that many guests now prefer to eat with friends and family in a more casual, social environment. In addition, independent travelers – who typically want to eat by themselves –also want to be surrounded by other people. READ MORE

Robert  Gerstenecker

These are the facts; Facebook currently has 1.65 billion monthly active users. The microblogging website Twitter has 320 million monthly active users. Instagram has more than 400 million monthly active users and Pinterest has over 100 million monthly active users. Social media has helped shape the consciousness of the new millennials who actively participate in sharing every aspect of their daily lives. The world has shrunk to the size of a smartphone and we are now part of a global community that influences and is influenced by what we think, read, visit and eat. READ MORE

Elizabeth  Blau

We are living in a golden age of dining, so why are we still dealing with traditional three meal restaurants in hotels? In 2016, 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, READ MORE

William D. Kohl

Food Takes Center Stage Food and beverage is a hot topic. The success of the Food Network has elevated the profession of Chef to near cult status. Guests are more excited and knowledgeable about food and beverage than ever. They are dining out frequently and sharing their experience with others. In fact, sixty percent of postings on Instagram are about food and beverage. It is not enough to be good anymore. You have to be great. Your food has to be fresh, relevant and compelling or you will be out of business. READ MORE

Laurence Bernstein

At the end of the day there are three main areas in which the hotel has an opportunity to trigger meaningful and memorable brand experience; service (especially the arrival/departure experience), physicality (especially the guest room experience) or tactile (especially the food and beverage experience). Yet many hotels pay little or no attention to the F&B operation as a brand amplifier. In fact, increasingly hotels are giving up on F&B and outsourcing the foodservice operation in one way or another. This article discusses how to develop experiential operationalization programs for F&B that leverage and amplify the brand at the same time. READ MORE

David Wolf

Regardless of the reason, customers are becoming savvy to the age old phrase adopted back in the 1970’s “have it your way” in almost any dinning atmosphere across the continental United States. As an empowered hotel guest, one opens a menu at a restaurant and entertains the opportunity to choose their ingredients. Whether it be to lose weight, help fight off disease, or the presence of food allergies, this allows the diner to take ownership of what they are putting into tier bodies. Many of these are considered preference diets. Many can be more than a request for a vegetarian or vegan menu. READ MORE

Mathias Gervais

Sometimes new is old, and old is new. In time for the 2015/2016 Miami Beach season we, together with our new Ownership, launched Jaya, a modern Asian cuisine restaurant whose concept was made to be a true departure from a traditional luxury hotel restaurant. Jaya, which means 'victory' in Sanskrit, was chosen by our team to honor The Setai Miami Beach’s renowned interior designer Jaya Ibrahim and the hotel's first decade of successful Asian-inspired hospitality. My sous chef, Vijay Veena, and I collaborated to create dishes that much like the Hotel, did not focus on just one Asian country but featured cuisine from a number of Asian regions. READ MORE

Jonathan M. Raz

When it comes to dining at hotels, guests immediately consider their restaurant, bar and in-room dining options, but there is a new movement taking hold in the hospitality industry: fast casual dining. This trend presents hotels with an opportunity to engage with guests and staff while creating added value, providing guests with an abundance of dishes to explore without leaving the property. Internally, these menus encourage team members to experiment with new cuisine and showcase their culinary talents. Ultimately, fast casual dining allows guests to rediscover food as a social experience, where they interact with staff and other guests while sampling dishes rarely seen on sit-down menus. Hotels can take advantage of the fast casual trend in countless ways. READ MORE

Thomas  McKeown

Faced with new, demanding guests, hotel restaurants are relying on local sourcing, quality ingredients and authentic experiences to return to the glory days of hotel dining. Not all that long ago, the best dining you could find in any city in America was in a hotel. In cities like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, even in my city of Atlanta, grand hotels offered acclaimed restaurants known for their fine cuisine and memorable experiences. People got dressed up to enjoy steak and lobster, oysters and fine wine. For their discriminating guests, chefs served surprises like shrimp cocktail, baked Alaska and smart cocktails. READ MORE

Jim Stormont

In the restaurant industry, good isn’t good enough. People no longer seek out the best ingredients, menus and experiences; they expect them. There’s a reason why Panera Bread has vowed to remove artificial ingredients from its food by the end of the year, and it’s no surprise that Darden Restaurants – which owns Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse and, until recently, Red Lobster – is floundering. People are asking: “Why overpay for a mass-produced pasta dinner with processed meats and cheeses that’s also available at over 800 identical restaurants around the country?” The so-called “foodie revolution” is in full swing, with burger lovers choosing Shake Shack over Big Macs READ MORE

Larry Steinberg

Food and beverage sales represent a huge source of revenue for full-service resorts and hotels. As a result, many properties spend a great deal of time and money refining food preparation techniques, menu selection, and even restaurant decor. Yet, these same hotels often ignore the area that can have the biggest bottom-line impact on F&B delivery — technology. Today’s best-in-class F&B software systems address every aspect of operations — from online reservations and mobile ordering, to point-of-sale and payment. So, whether you’re a small boutique hotel or a large resort property, consider these five technology solutions when planning your restaurant upgrades. READ MORE

Ron Pohl

It’s no secret that one of the most important aspects of any hospitality company is how it develops and manages its food and beverage program. Oftentimes, a business or leisure traveler will make his or her decision on the next vacation or property based on the offerings in this category. At Best Western® Hotels & Resorts, we have an understanding of just how important it is for us to differentiate our product from our competitors and constantly rethink and reinvent our offerings to exceed consumer expectations. Through guest feedback, research and analysis, we’ve uncovered that a quality breakfast is a significant driver of guest satisfaction in both the business and leisure travel segments. READ MORE

Brian Bullock

In today’s environment, hotel owners and operators must find or create a food and beverage (F&B) concept that is accessible, inviting and relevant to the market. It’s important to create an atmosphere that entices hotel guests out of their rooms and into the greater scene, as having an alluring, busy restaurant enhances the hotel guest experience. However, to create a sustainable and profitable F&B offering, the hotel must attract local customers as well. To achieve this, the menu must be crafted around an unfulfilled need in the market and deliver on the service promise of the hotel brand. READ MORE

Coming Up In The October Online Hotel Business Review




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Feature Focus
Revenue Management: Technology and Big Data
Like most businesses, hotels are relying on technology and data to drive almost every area of their operations, but perhaps this is especially true for hotel Revenue Managers. There has been an explosion of technology tools which generate a mountain of data – all in an effort to generate profitable pricing strategies. It falls to Revenue Managers to determine which tools best support their operations and then to integrate them efficiently into their existing systems. Customer Relationship Management, Enterprise Resource Planning, and Online Reputation Management software are basic tools; others include channel managers, benchmark reports, rate shopping tools and review systems, to name a few. The benefits of technology tools which automate large segments of a Revenue Manager’s business are enormous. Freed from the time-consuming process of manual data entry, and having more accurate data available, allows Revenue Managers to focus on analysis, strategies and longer-term decision-making. Still, for most hotels, the amount of data that these tools generate can be overwhelming and so another challenge is to figure out how to effectively utilize it. Not surprisingly, there are some new tech tools that can help to do exactly that. There are cloud-based analytics tools that provide a comprehensive overview of hotel data on powerful, intuitive dashboards. The goal is to generate a clear picture, at any moment in time, of where your hotel is at in terms of the essentials – from benchmarking to pricing to performance – bringing all the disparate streams of data into one collated dashboard. Another goal is to eliminate any data discrepancies between finance systems, PMS, CRM and forecasting systems. The October issue of the Hotel Business Review will address all these important developments and document how some leading hotels are executing their revenue management strategies.