Hotel Restaurants

Hotel Restaurants: How They Differ From Independently Owned & Operated Concepts - By Dan Simons

Hotel restaurants. The mere mention conjures up images of large-scale operations that require a myriad of staff, food, and planning.

HTrends As with any restaurant or eatery, the basics – good food combined with solid, consistent service that guests can count on – are the ultimate goals. But comparatively speaking, due to the typical size and scope of running a restaurant outlet within a hotel, as opposed to independently owned, free-standing concepts, it is typically a much larger, more operationally challenging undertaking.
With that in mind, there are strategies to employ in order to succeed in a larger-scale, hotel restaurant setting with multiple day-parts, various service options, and other variable situations that can affect successful, seamless business.
Operations. The scope and depth of operational procedures are typically more involved and layered: bigger staff, hiring (and sometimes firing) of outside service staff; financial span of budgeting; P&Ls, and labor costing; developing/overseeing a streamlined, large network of purchasing procedures; managing kitchen staff; facilities and maintenance; and of course working with varied talents of a culinary team to create appetizing, appealing menus guests will love. Sure, the scope of the operations can be overwhelming, but staying focused, organized, and being surrounded by a great (and dependable) support staff is key. 
Vendor Partnerships. Maintaining great relationships with outside vendors is crucial to the success of any hotel restaurant or catering facility. This rings true for all restaurant and hospitality venues, but hotel food and beverage managers are most likely to interface regularly with a larger number of not only food suppliers, but also event planners, independent entertainment contractors, florists, lighting specialists, and the dreaded … mother of the bride. As FOH liaisons are the face and voice of your operation, make sure management has a great team in place of bright, knowledgeable, personable, and well-prepared staff to best serve, and get the best service from vendors and partners.  
Forecasting of Sales Cycles. As most hotels cater to larger affairs, such as weddings and corporate retreats, than their independently owned, free standing counterparts, the sales lead times and ability to forecast staffing and service needs tend to be longer. Since it’s standard in hospitality management to have months (even years) involved in the planning process, assuring managers and staff are on the same page, and have all relevant and updated information at their fingertips is essential. Implementing regular review meetings, while keeping a separate, detailed, and organized file containing to-do lists, timelines, specific details (from number of guests to food allergy awareness) and such, that all are privy too, are crucial to counting down to a successful event.
Cross-Promotion. The more successful the hotel is, the more successful the restaurant within that property has the opportunity to be. Creative, targeted, integrated marketing and communications tactics are indeed going to get your hotel, and hence your restaurant, noticed. Programs such as working with your hotel and restaurant association networks to generate promotional ideas en masse, reaching out to hotel guests and offering loyalty givebacks, partnering with your local chamber of commerce to get the word out to area and visiting businesses, creating an engaging, interesting, creative website and an accompanying comprehensive database of influencers will not only draw new business in, but attract new business as well. After all, it’s about getting your stay guests to be your dining guests.
About the author
Dan Simons, Principal and Co-Founder of Vucurevich Simons Advisory Group (VSAG), an international restaurant and hospitality consulting firm, is also the Managing Partner of The Farm, a restaurant management company that has developed and operates very popular Founding Farmers and Farmers Fishers Bakers restaurants in Washington, D.C.

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