AS we emerge from a tumultuous year of lockdowns and traveller uncertainty, hotels have, in many ways, been given carte blanche to re-launch their rooms, restaurants, spas and any other revenue-generating services. To focus solely on F&B, a minimalist approach will ultimately be profitable as guests continue to re-align their shopping habits.
One of our key mantras at Hotel Mogel has always been, “It’s better to do one thing great than a bunch only good.” The bottom line is, you want to be memorable and this can only happen if you stand out.
Customers are saturated with digital advertisements, so you have to create unique ways to stand apart from the comp set. From a marketing perspective, having an incredible in-house restaurant cuts through the noise and helps to produce a ‘halo’ effect back onto your room reservations. The best way to boost the prestige of your restaurant is not by throwing everything on the menu and seeing what sticks, but in offering a highly selective shortlist that focuses the guest’s attention on only the best representations of your culinary team.
This may require you to rein in your executive chef. As extremely creative individuals, your senior F&B team may have the natural inclination to experiment, often resulting in a hemorrhaging of the menu with an increasingly eclectic variety. Aside from mounting ingredient and storage costs, a key problem is that such a boundless approach dilutes the theme of the restaurant, which then decreases memorability and word of mouth.
Instead, suppose you challenged your chefs to limit the full menu to a total of a dozen items. This would force the team to choose only their finest creations, perhaps merging in elements from other runners up. Furthermore, this resolves the issue of ‘shopper’s paralysis’ where, in the case of food outlets, patrons become psychologically overwhelmed by the multiplicity of options, leading to increased average time per cover and decreased meal satisfaction.
Having fewer items on the menu means you have to concurrently think about what your restaurant wants to be — its theme or genre of cuisine and how this is reflected in the FF&E along with all other aspects of the presentation.
Being definitive in this regard gives the narrative extra strength in that it will be easier for the guest to recall as well as find in any online or app search. To speak to the latter, with customer behaviour all but permanently re-oriented around delivery apps and curbside pickup, special consideration must always be given to how diners will find, then select, your F&B over the slew of competition. Having a simple and digestible theme — with a menu that doesn’t induce decision fatigue — will greatly enhance sales via these blooming channels.
While it is impossible to draft an entire F&B strategy in a single editorial, especially without factoring in specific geographic concerns, with so much rapid re-direction of customer habits over the past year-and-a-half, you have to cut through the noise. Once you have adopted a pseudo-minimalist approach for your signature restaurant, you can then look at how this model can be applied to your catering, room service, sundry and other foodservice amenities.
Guests are going to continue to re-emerge from their various lockdowns and you must be fully prepared to welcome them with something truly worth leaving the house for. In this sense, less is more can also be adapted for other operations as a means to achieving a profitable hotel by end of year.
Written by Larry and Adam Mogelonsky