It’s not easy to pinpoint what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to Food and Beverage because each of us has different tastes. Hotels also have different characteristics and cater to different demographics. They may have a clear target market in mind, but F&B is probably the trickiest part of the hotel operation. In fact, I was once told the best advice you can give someone you don’t like is to tell them to open a restaurant!!!
If you’ve already opened a restaurant though, don’t worry, because Hotelintel.co has figured out some ideas for you.
Fill in the gap: the quiet hour and the cancellation
There are times when your restaurant is deathly quiet and no matter what you do, nobody comes. In Thailand, an App called ‘Eatigo’ (www.eatigo.com) has helped fill in those gaps for restaurateurs. Customers can get discounts of up to 50% if they make a booking outside of peak hours, helping restaurants to occupy tables that might otherwise remain empty.
When people book a restaurant they usually intend to show up, but every now and again, for whatever reason, they can’t make it, and don’t even have time to let you know. If your restaurant is always so busy that people kill to get a table, then it will be easy for you to fill in those last-minute cancellations. However, if your restaurant is only just ‘sort of busy’, and those cancellations are really something you could do without, maybe you should add ‘15% Discount for No Cancellation Booking’ or ‘Complimentary for Guests that Show’. It’s a nice marketing campaign to run and you don’t really lose anything.
Healthy food: eat, drink and breathe greens
‘Eat clean, eat your greens, get healthy,’ is the motto of today. Hotels are offering juice bars, organic salad bars, healthy cocktails (yes, that’s right) and healthy snacks, but the word ‘healthy’ alone is not enough to grab attention. These days you need ‘veggie’.
Veggie Yoghurt is currently hot on the other side of the world. In the Americas you will be able to find butternut squash, beet, and carrot flavors.
Apart from yoghurt, ‘veggie’ has also invaded the ice cream market. In Japan, Haagen-Dazs has two vegetable ice creams: tomato-cherry and carrot-orange.
Oh, and mineral water isn’t going to cut it anymore. You will need cucumber and coconut waters to satisfy your health conscious guests.
Back to basics
Fine dining is nice but it’s not for everyone or every day. To be honest, when hotels say they offer ‘Fine Dining’, a lot of the time it’s just a big disappointment. If you can’t master it 100% then don’t do it at all. Better to stick with something simple to make your money. Forget the flowers, china, expensive paintings and foie gras (unless you can cook it right), and focus on food that everyone eats.
I have discovered that sometimes you can find better quality food in the food courts, or even from roadside vendors. Quality may not always come cheap, even if it’s not from an up-market setting, but the food court concept is easily understood by every class within society, and this makes it accessible to everyone. In a perfect world, we might all dine in a 3-star Michelin restaurant and drink champagne before noon. In the real world, we have one-hour lunch breaks and we pay for our own meals!
Our final idea for today has more of a scientific basis, so you’ll have an opportunity to manipulate your customers’ brains – all in their own best interests of course. Do you know how your brain actually senses flavor? According to Gordon M. Shepherd, the author of Neurogastronomy: How the Brain Creates Flavor and Why It Matters, the most important component of flavor isn’t taste or the feeling in the mouth, but odor.
That means you can make your strawberry pie taste extra sweet by simply adding the scent – which means no extra calories from sugar, but the taste sensation will be just as sweet! There is even an Aroma Folk Set available for those who want celery to taste like oranges or would prefer eating kale if it could just taste more like almonds.
Although I’m not sure how I’d feel about eating one thing and being told it was another, the idea could be great fun if it’s applied with honesty, and combined with the right marketing campaign.
So there we have it – four ideas to think about if business isn’t quite booming: they’ve all worked for someone else, so why not for you?