Whether receiving one or 1,000 guests to a hotel restaurant, each is important and the customer experience is vital, but it is often missing and the meaning is lost. Dubai has 8,500 restaurants, with 6,000 more to open in the next five years – this represents a direct competition and challenge for any hotel operator, owner or investor.
Creating memorable customer experiences is the winning formula in today’s monotonous hospitality sector where hoteliers are taught to follow SOPs rather than delight their guests. It’s therefore time to rethink demographics, cuisine and concept and look at different opportunities – aiming to delight the customer with new, current and trendy dining experiences, relevant to the property, its guests and the market in which it operates.
Operating one or 15 restaurants in a hotel is a speciality which needs thorough research, a dedicated and experienced team and a strategic approach. Deciding on the correct restaurant concept(s) for a hotel is very often an emotional decision with many stakeholders involved, but it is critical to evaluate all options efficiently rather than making educated guesses. Exciting F&B concepts can be a hook to travel, add to the overall reputation of the hotel and influence the decision of guests to choose the hotel and its facilities. Refocusing resources in this key department presents a strong opportunity to increase its contribution to overall revenue and profitability.
As hotel restaurants are natural revenue centres, when done right, they will assist with the overall profitability of the hotel, its reputation and ROI to ownership. Closing the restaurant or changing the concept after one or two years of operation without any profit is very expensive considering the expenses for design, construction and fit-out of a restaurant. More hotel management companies are re-considering the standard approach to operate all F&B outlets themselves and start working closely together with owners, investors and independent restaurant operators to look for alternative options to ensure better results; not only offering a better choice for guests, but also operate a profitable restaurant.
At the end of the day it is about experience, and restaurants should play an ever increasing role creating places where people cannot wait to return. Taking care of the guest is true hospitality and F&B is all about that.
About the author:
Henk Bruggeman, HJA Hospitality, Executive Director
Henk Bruggeman is the entrepreneurial force behind HJA Hospitality and a key liaison between brand owners, operators, developers, franchise operations and investors, working directly with key stakeholders to align strategy programmes and is familiar with business environments in Europe, Russia, Africa, China and the Middle East region. For more information: firstname.lastname@example.org - www.hjahospitality.com