A survey has confirmed some ideas about the food service that hotels should offer their customers in order to retain them longer. They must make a commitment to entice palates but with the minimum number of resources. Unlike restaurants, whose chefs manage them on their own, hotels are required not only to lure guests to the table, but also to meet their food needs. Here are 12 suggestions deducted after analyzing this survey.
- Jean-Pierre Etcheberrigaray, Head of Food and Beverage at the InterContinental Hotel Group Americas, argues that the hotel has a responsibility to advise clients on what to eat for a healthy diet. And it should also tell them about what they’re eating, where the food comes from, and how it is cooked. Therefore, the future of providing food in a hotel requires more information and much more authenticity about what we eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
- Chef Rocky Rocha, from the Magnolia Omaha Hotel, says that the hotel should ensure seasonal products if its strengths are in the realm of the so-called market kitchen. This is not only for health interests, but to give more variety to the dishes and encourage the guests to look forward to them each day.
- Menus should be easy to update to suit individual preferences, advocates Bob Puccini, president of the Puccini Group. That is, diners need to be able to choose what they eat.
- The only way to remain fit is by reducing the typical restaurant portion size, especially those of the tasting menus offered to attract hotel guests. For sure, the main goal of a hotel is to not only offer accommodation but also an experience. Therefore, good food is crucial, but like perfume, is best savored in small doses. Smaller portions cost less, a fact that is much appreciated by diners. Moreover, they will also like their resulting smaller waist size.
- Restaurants must create new culinary proposals, for example more innovation and research into imaginative tapas, half portions, and memorable, inspired pairings. That’s what I believe Ferran Adrià’s ElBulli restaurant accomplished.
- We have to take some risks with those new formats. For instance, we should offer half bottles of wine or a lagniappe (gift) at the end of the meal. Why not avoid waste by providing customers with a package of leftovers to go? Why have hotels done away with the old tradition of labeling the bottle of the remaining contents with the customer’s names which used to ensure the return of guests to their table the next day?
- Puccini stresses the importance of wine at a good meal. In order for that to happen, the wine is not requested, it is sold, I mean. If the hotel hires a sommelier or teaches a clever waiter for that purpose, it is obvious that its income will grow.
- Flexible meal times help to increase the loyalty of customers. How many times has a hotel let us down with its sign that breakfast stops being served at 10.30 am or the kitchen closes at 11.00 pm? The restaurant should have continuous timetables, such as cinemas do. What does a hotel do when a customer arrives at 2.00 am? More than 50% of business travelers say schedule flexibility is key in choosing the hotel.
- Dining room, restaurant, cafe… Why do we always eat in the same spaces? Experiential hotels should consider the value of providing meals at any place with the right ambiance, strange as it may be, in a space that surprises and captivates the senses, as Rocky Rocha said.
- Seventy-one percent of business travelers think that a 24-hour service is an incentive when choosing their hotel. So, hotels should offer this courtesy in the lobbies and in the rooms. Today the problem is easily solved with a coffee maker dispensing Nespresso or Senseo.
- Tysons Corner Marriott manager, Shelly Di Meglio, suggests that a good breakfast should include some dietary foods. Why not some gourmet ones, too?
- East and West. New global cuisine is fusion. But a genuine terroir cuisine raises many expectations. Cuisine du coin, say the French. It is not essential, but it adds this accent of location and uniqueness that every hotel should integrate into its business proposal.
Let’s remember these dozen suggestions and dialecticians tips that every hotelier should internalize before going to bed.