This (shortened piece) from Beth Kormanik at HotelInteractive.com interested me, click the link for the whole article. I’ve commented below each paragraph in bold italics on how I think the piece reflects our situation at Chanters Lodge, Livingstone.
“During a recession, as the truism goes, bar sales go up. But could a properly priced beer, drive room sales at full-service hotels, too? That’s the belief of Michael George, president and CEO Crescent Hotels & Resorts, which owns, operates and manages hotels for institutional investors. In his experience, bar business is up “substantially,” especially at full-service hotels that also have a nice atmosphere and an attractive staff.”
We have a nice atmosphere, reasonably priced beer and attractive staff but our bar sales are static. Would we be more profitable if we just offered bed and breakfast? I often ask myself, and how would that effect our Guests.
“One of the simplest things we did to drive cash flow was to properly set our beer prices,” he said. “Properly priced Bud moves rooms.”
We are about to ‘adjust’ all our food and beverage prices in view of increased costs. What constitutes ‘properly priced’? I wonder.
Thomas Edward Middleton, Jr., a senior vice president at Hilton Hotels Corporation, said guests are eating more meals outside their hotels and that the F&B spend across the Hilton brand is down as much as 50 percent. Hilton’s ideas to recapture guest F&B spend include bringing in celebrity chefs, well-known concepts and menus that feature fresh, simple and healthy foods. They also are outsourcing. “It’s always amazed me, in the hotel business all companies struggle with F&B,” he said. “The best thing we’ve come up with is third-party leases. It’s very difficult to lose with third-party leases.”
Now where would we find celebrity chefs and/or a third party lease in Livingstone….? We do offer fresh, simple and fairly healthy foods but have to accept that lots of tourists want to experience the restaurants that Livingstone has to offer. Attracting outsiders to eat here seems more and more difficult.
But George argued that food and beverage outlets should not be considered an “evil necessity” to outsource. He said Crescent operates all of its own F&B outlets and they add a crucial edge over select-service hotels. “From a food component, the point of being full service is to be convenient at a good price,” he said. “Put the focus on it. The guests are looking for it.”
Sometimes our bar and restaurant seem to be an ‘evil necessity’ at other times great fun and good earners! It largely depends on the Guests we have staying.
“Wyndham Hotels and Resorts President Jeff Wagoner said the key is to be flexible and match the right food concept for every hotel. One hotel recently was asked to implement a “grab and go” feature, which normally is the hallmark of select-service properties. This particular hotel was not in a commercial area that would attract walk-by traffic from the neighborhood and its restaurant was suffering. “You don’t want to force it and have restaurant where you’re not going to have profit,” Wagoner said.”
Our menu evolves to reflect local cuisine and the most popular of our dishes on offer with timely innovation too.
“The old full service generic hotel direction is a wave of the past, like Top 40 radio,” she said. “We’re in the iPod generation. Everything is customized and focused on the future. We have to be in tune with our consumer and how they’re changing. The chains that understand that and innovate as times change are the ones that will succeed.”
Radio’s still popular in these parts (thank goodness), but in my car? Mp3!
The picture’s of part of our restaurant at Chanters Lodge.