International Airlines were the pioneers of the global hotel industry. From the late 1960’s through to the 1980’s Pan-Am and TWA used the InterContinental and Hilton brands to develop high end accommodation in the exotic locations where they flew planes.
It was an exciting time for the hotel industry, where the glitz and glamour that these hotels provided outclassed anything the local markets could offer. Food and Beverage was the shop window for hotels, and they were able to recruit highly skilled experts who created fine dining restaurants, rooftop restaurants, swish bars, buzzing coffee shops and a myriad of specialty restaurants. Occupancies boomed as InterContinental and Hilton became the places to stay and their restaurants became the places to be seen by the local communities they operated in.
However, success creates competition and by the 1980’s other chains such as Sheraton, Hyatt, Marriott, Holiday Inn, Forte and Le Meridien entered the market using the same F&B formula. Stand-alone restaurants were also becoming more popular as customers started looking for value for money.
International business and leisure travel began to boom in the 80’s and 90’s as even more brands opened in all the major cities. This rapid expansion resulted in a dearth of true talent in the industry as the supply of hotels was moving far faster than the supply of creative F&B impresarios. As hotels continued to rely on the same formula, they found themselves outpaced by a new breed of entrepreneur.
Unfortunately, this trend has continued to the present day. Hotel chains have become asset light, meaning that they do not own their hotels but merely manage them. Many of them continue to develop a large number of F&B outlets at the Owner’s expense but in truth they struggle to make them profitable. Multi-million-dollar assets are left in the hands of an inexperienced young brigade who are asked to compete with seasoned entrepreneurs for whom F&B is their core business. The glamour and glitz today is found in the professionally run stand-alone restaurant and not the hotels as was the case in the 1970’s.
The glamour and glitz today is found in the professionally run stand-alone restaurant and not the hotels as was the case in the 1970’s.
In the current environment it would be very wise for both hotel operators and owners to look at their food and beverage operation as an independent business unit with a separate business plan. Owners need to push the envelope to ensure accountability from operators in food and beverage performance and not just at a blended GOP level.
Many hotels still have excellent locations in cities across the world. However, Owners must start looking at their assets as profit centres, where they seek to maximise profitability in every square metre. This can be achieved through strategic partnership with proven market driven stand-alone brands. These carefully selected high-performance brands will add value to a hotel and more importantly add additional profit to the Owner. Such a partnership can elevate a hotels F&B offering back to shop window status and also significantly boost their room revenue.
Many hotel managers seem to think that mounting small posters in the elevator or tent cards in the room is sufficient to fill seats in their restaurants. It is not and especially in today’s online world, where the quality and dynamism of your social media presence is far more important. With more than 70% of smart phone users now viewing restaurant menus on their phones, it’s imperative to have an online presence and preferably one that updates customers on new menu items. An organised marketing effort to inspire a buzz amongst the local community is an absolute must! Its always important to remember you’re managing brand equity and the brand promise which has to be crafted and well-maintained to support the investment made. Often the reliance on location and décor is simply not enough and so social, visual assets and experiences have to be created through menu, atmosphere and communications and PR.
People have to know what makes the outlet special and delivering on a brand promise. Do this consistently over time and you will create a strong image and reputation – everything that makes a restaurant successful. This is the very simple principle that builds enduring brands.
Food and Beverage is time consuming and takes a lot of expertise. Hotels would be far better served to partner with people who do nothing else.
Food and Beverage is time consuming and takes a lot of expertise. Hotels would be far better served to partner with people who do nothing else. This is a win-win approach, where a hotel is able to offer a world class Food and Beverage offering, that will ultimately deliver higher profits to their room revenue and leave customers with a far better all-round experience.
Imagine teaming up with world class hospitality brand that can provide a unique range of branded outlets from a world-class, renowned chef who instantly creates interest and attraction to diners around the world.
Harvest Consultants has an enviable partnership and representation for the family of Marco Pierre White brands. These eight different outlet brands rival anything currently on offer in the market – from ultra-fine dining to coffee and juice bars. These brands are well-defined, menus are expertly curated under Marco’s culinary eye and all have been activated in various countries across the world.
These can be your solution and provide supremely credible restaurant brands for hotels and hospitality operators. The added advantage of the local and international support teams, flexibility to craft menus for localisation and an ability to be up and running with clear global standards and the ability to make a big market statement at this time of change and are just some reasons that association with Marco Pierre White is a major advantage.
Marco Pierre White’s family of brands provide supremely credible restaurant options for hotels and hospitality operators.
Harvest Consultants are the sole agents for Marco Pierre White across Asia and can connect you to an enviable list of MPW restaurant options from this master culinary visionary.
And with Harvest Consultants we can provide any level of service you need from a complete turnkey operation, to simple access to the brands and their associated equities and ongoing support.
As you move forward make sure you have the right team by your side. It always pays dividends.
Written by Anthony Liddiard
About the author: After spearheading the growth and transformation of IHG in the UAE & Qatar Anthony developed some of the most exciting Food and Beverage concepts in the region including Trader Vic’s Madinat, Frankie’s Dubai, Zinc Nightclub, and Wagamama. He has a profound knowledge and understanding of the regional and International hospitality scene. Anthony is also on The Board of Governors for The International Association of Hotel General Managers