Hotel Food and Drink: Are You Getting Fresh?
By Andrew Freeman
We read a great article in The Washington Diplomat about hotels in DC upping the game in light of some significant competition. Of course, we love seeing past and present clients called out for being innovative (Hello Kimpton! Hello Destination Hotels!).
As competition in the hotel space increases, it’s more challenging than ever before to stand out from the crowd. As the “foodie” movement is now mainstream, today’s guests are more demanding than ever before when it comes to what – and where – they want to eat. Today’s travelers are also demanding a “local story” and an authentic local experience. For many hotels, this is a big leap from the current offerings.
Let’s face it, most hotel restaurants aren’t typically destination hot spots and in fact, many are still decorated as “garden terraces” and have the sort of vibe that is most attractive to the drowsy breakfast crowd. And these days, even the breakfast business is at risk as coffee shops and other fast casual experiences are better meeting the needs of busy travelers who don’t want to sit for breakfast. Yet, savvy restaurateurs know hotels have a real opportunity to create a destination-caliber experience, one that appeals to both guests and locals alike. These restaurateurs are bringing in consulting chefs, mixologists, public relations and branding experts and are really creating buzz with new menu concepts and innovative ways to capitalize on F&B revenues. By enticing both locals and business travelers, they are making their restaurant as sexy as a bar and lounge experience at night while by day they are capitalizing on the “third space” concept.
While the hotel restaurant has always been an amenity for your guests, the same old tides are turning. Gone are the days of the lonely hotel bar and the breakfast buffet, now guests are interested in returning to the classic hotels of the 20s and 30s, when hotels were bustling meeting places. As hotels continue to evolve their approach to F&B, look for more communal experiences to evolve, but with a focus on “local.” Visitors want to go where “locals” go – so the cookie cutter experience isn’t going to cut it anymore.