Tips and trends from hotel food and beverage experts

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Last month around 350 boutique hoteliers, investors, and owners descended on the Florence Gould Hall in New York for the boutique hotel investment conference organised by BLLA

Attendees heard more than 50 insightful speakers including keynotes, panels, team presentations and insights into the boutique and lifestyle lodging sector

The All Star Food and Beverage panel moderated by Jody Pennette from CB5 Hospitality, featured Scott Gerber, Gerber Group; Dayna Lee, Powerstrip Design; John Meadow, LDV Hospitality; Alex Taylor, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants;  Lana Trevisan, Commune Hotels and Restaurants, and Brad Wilson, Ace Hotels:

Topic: Food and beverage typically represents a significant opportunity to enhance a hotel's profitability, value and investment returns. As food and beverage becomes a more prominent driver of revenue on property, it has attracted investment interest paving the way for entrepreneurs to jump in and build next generation brands in addition to partnerships with established brands. This panel of experts present a narrative that introduces factors such as where owners need to invest to ensure they are able to compete, and the potential impact F and B can have on ADR and RevPAR.

Takeaways:

Lee emphasised the importance of assessing the neighbourhood when deciding on your food and beverage concept, "aim to bring more to the table, and tone it down - make cuisine the surprise".

Gerber encouraged hotel restauranteurs to take advice from younger people, and "not to be trendy, but be aware of trends" with the reminder that the failure rate is high. "If someone has a bad meal in the hotel restaurant, the hotel will get the black eye," said Pennette.

Wilson agreed, "restaurants haven't changed much, hotels have - be in control of your experience, don't allow your guests to wait 45 minutes and wonder where room service is."

Gerber encouraged hotel restauranteurs to "embrace who your guests are, most important is the mindset. If you go in with the attitude that this is New York and this is how we do it, you will fail - consider what and who is your market?" Gerber says: "Social media gives us a ton of impact as to how we market, and how it markets for us."

Meadow's thoughts were "evolve or die, and provide and authentic, independent experience".

"A focus on culture and localisation is important provided it isn't artificial, and sometimes localisation can get too cliche - its' not about respect," said Wilson. "A new New Orleans creole restaurant is a so what. Get to know the restaurants around you, maybe a joint venture would be ideal - understand what works, show respect for the local market and they can champion your success."

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