According to speakers at the Boutique and Lifestyle Hotel Summit held in London yesterday, too many hotels treat their restaurants as an add-on service. “You need style, personality and focus to make a hotel restaurant successful,” said Bob Puccini, president and CEO of Puccini Group. “It’s a mistake to run your hotel restaurant as a hotel add-on. Know your customers and what they want for breakfast, lunch and dinner.”
While many hotels opt to have a celebrity chef associated with their restaurant to raise its profile, those who can’t afford to pay a big name needn’t worry – food, service and ambience can be just as effective.
You don’t need a celebrity chef. If you’re serving great food, people will come. But food is only one step, you also need to create an ambience,” said Mark Fuller, owner of Sanctum Hotels, after admitting that his hotels now make as much money on food and beverages as on rooms.
Chef John Quilter, who made a name for himself as the ‘food busker’ before featuring on Jamie Oliver’s FoodTube platform and presenting his own show on London television channel London Real, agreed. “The new generation doesn’t care about name chefs; they care about what the community says. Do something contrary, try and create something different and specialise in it. And if you can’t do it well don’t do it,” he advised delegates at the event.
Other public areas were also put in the spotlight as revenue generators. For example, WATG vice-president of strategy Muriel Muirden talked about “chameleon public areas that change ambience throughout the day”.
But this type of facility requires great technology and well-trained staff, and Markus Lehnert, vice-president of international hotel developments at Moxy Hotels, suggested they could easily become a failure if badly executed.
“Another way to maximise revenue from public areas is to compartmentalise them,” he pointed out.
But Nadler Hotels CEO Robert Nadler warned against the tendency to try to make revenue out of public areas, saying that they should remain “a place to delight customers at no extra cost”.