Many hotel restaurants struggle to keep up with catering to tourists and appealing to locals. They unintentionally become a tourist spot or just a convenient place for your guests to dine.
With a winning concept and some excellent planning, you can manage to bring in both travelers and locals. Take your hotel restaurant far past traditional hospitality food and beverage expectations, and create a thriving profit generator.
Design a winning hotel restaurant concept
One area where many hotel restaurants falter is concept design. You want to create something that could stand independently of your hotel, which means creating a new design from scratch.
The restaurant should not be so reliant upon hotel traffic that it could not operate on its own. You must design a concept that cultivates independence while keeping the hotel and restaurant compatible and complementary.
With food and beverage in hospitality, there are a few dos when it comes to concepts:
Have a small hotel restaurant menu that showcases local cuisine
Keep it tourist-friendly
Make your restaurant feel separate from your hotel
Use the restaurant to help travelers understand local customs
Create two entrances, one through the hotel and one from the street.
Establish an outdoor dining area
Finally, don't forget to consider the hotel restaurant design when crafting your concept. A hotel restaurant is perfect for celebrating anniversaries, milestone events, or for marriage proposals. That is where design and concept come together.
Two great examples of winning concepts that accomplish many of the aspects mentioned here are Lantern in Singapore and Baba Nest in Thailand. Lantern, attached to the Fullerton Bay Hotel, has seaside dining and a rooftop bar, and they have done a great job of spreading the word about their exceptional mixologists, who create signature cocktails for guests.
Baba Nest in Phuket created a winning concept through design. This rooftop bar atop of Sri Panwa Phuket hotel has a 360-degree view of Cape Panwa. It’s reservation only, with its bar enclosed in an edge infinity-pool. Baba Nest, although connected to the hotel, could stand as a bar independently. They market themselves separately and even have different social media pages.
Market your hotel restaurant as an independent brand
If you’re going to give your hotel restaurant a chance to have its own concept, then you need to market it as a separate brand. Don’t account for the traffic you’ll likely receive from hotel guests. Don’t count on your hotel’s marketing either.
About 42% of customers reported using Google to find restaurants. Your restaurant needs to be easy to find online.
Market your hotel restaurant as you would any other business:
Create a standalone website and social media pages
Schedule a press release
Announce your launch events (invite hotel guests and locals)
Host events according to the season and activities that bring in tourists.
Celebrate with the locals, accommodate the region’s holidays and festivals.
Through marketing, you can address different food and beverage trends in the hospitality industry. Showcase where your menu aligns with recent health trends and other trends as they appear.
Remember that you’re competing with other hot spots in your area, not other hotel restaurants. To stand out, you need to market your hotel restaurant as an extraordinary dining experience.
The Red Rooster Shoreditch in London took this approach and has seen resounding success. Initially, they grabbed a ton of attention by announcing their famous chef who would deliver an upscale American menu. Then, they marketed themselves through various media outlets, including traditional food and beverage magazines and food blogger reviews.
Integrate your hotel and restaurant management system
Your hotel restaurant management system should do much more than process payments. Your restaurant POS should work with your PMS and offer a wide range of functions that make your guest’s experience exceptional. This is how, for example, Cloudbeds & Poster POS work together.
Manage your menus
Planning to set up hotel food and beverage options that go beyond room service? After integrating your hotel operating software and your restaurant's POS, you can give your guests more than just one menu. Use your restaurant's POS and hotel's operating system to manage multiple menus. It's common for hotels to have banquet menus, room service menus, and the independent restaurant menu. With different menus and menu management you can keep up with hotel restaurant trends easily.
Handle payments quickly and easily
Managing payments for your walk-in or local guests is one thing. However, assigning payments to rooms is quite another. You need for your restaurant's POS to quickly identify and assign an outstanding bill to a room and that room's account. With the right technology in place, handling payments can take minimal effort from your staff.
73% of diners report that technology improved their dining experience, not including table-side tablets.
A Cloudbeds and Poster combination is one example of how two systems can come together to deliver easy management and outstanding guest experiences. Coordinate hotel food and beverage amenities and allow guests to have more payment options. When dining, guests can send their bill over to their room, rather than sit around and wait to close out their tab. POS systems that accommodate this aspect of food and beverage in a hotel can provide value to more than just your restaurant.
Set reservations with confidence
Hospitality food and beverage trends are always changing. Finally, the “no reservations” trend is dying down. Happily accept reservations for your guests. To avoid losing space to 'no-shows' set aside room for walk-ins. Additionally, set a timer on how long you will hold a table. Create accountability for the guests that make reservations.
Don’t keep your guests waiting. Allow guests access to make their plans ahead of time and get to their table right away. A POS can help you map out your reservations. For example, with, you can add the date, time, estimated duration, guest count, and additional comments. Staff can include small but meaningful aspects of service in the comments such as which groups need highchairs, or if they are celebrating an event. After your staff member has all the information, they select a table right on the floor plan, and it locks that reservation into place.
With Poster, you can run your hotel souvenir shop as well. Using one system for multiple facets of your hotel can make training and tech use easier across the board.
Optimize your hotel food and beverage services for a healthy profit
Managing food and beverage revenue in a hotel requires you to have the right people and systems in place. Unfortunately, hoteliers don't often make good restaurateurs. Hire professionals who know how to run restaurants efficiently and have experience with restaurant technology.
About 95% of restaurant owners state that technology helps improve daily operations. Make sure that you use the technology you have to your advantage.
Technology can play a crucial role in optimizing your hotel’s food and beverage services. Although the restaurant should be as separate from the hotel as possible, management between the two will still need to collaborate. Technology can make it easier for your hotel management to understand the hotel restaurant’s operations. Your restaurant management software should function as an all-in-one system to make it easier to manage inventory, staff, wages, your menu, and more. Bring together technology, skilled staff, and exceptional management to optimize your profits. Then focus on sustaining those healthy profit margins!
Best practices for healthy and sustainable profit margins
With a restaurant, increasing profit margins isn't enough. You need to optimize your operations and maintain the aspects which impact your profit margins. When first learning how to run a successful hotel restaurant, you will probably realize how many moving parts are present in this one business. Hotel food and beverage operation management requires a relentless focus on food costs, labor, and waste.
Control your food costs
Hotel food and beverage operations have a lot of control over the primary source of profit issues. Food costs are everything that your restaurant spends on food materials. This expense is unavoidable and food costs often skyrocket when management becomes complacent.
Food costs go up when:
Guests send back low-quality dishes
Food goes bad in storage
Food was held or stored improperly causing it to expire
With proper control over your food costs, your profit margins should thrive. As a rule of thumb, if your food cost expenses go above 28% to 32% of your revenue, you should consider adopting a new strategy to control your food cost expenses.
Control your food costs with these quick tips:
Choose locally sourced ingredients so produce spends less time traveling.
Build a seasonal menu to ensure peak freshness of all ingredients.
Employ an expediter to monitor food quality before food leaves the kitchen.
Have your kitchen manager create easy-to-follow food handling and storage rotation procedures.
Negotiate with your suppliers
Use your negotiation skills to get the best possible price from each supplier. Not just with your food vendors, but consider your linens vendors, soft drink, and alcoholic beverage vendors as well.
Supplier representatives often have a bit of room to accommodate their clients, and you're a big client. If you obtain reasonable terms, then you can take another route. Choose to work with farmers directly, or purchase from local sources. Cutting out the middleman can save you a substantial amount of money, and you can advertise that your restaurant sources its ingredients locally.
Reduce employee turnover and training expenses
Your food and beverage department in a hotel will no doubt fill up quickly with able and energetic staff. However, the restaurant industry is notorious for having a high turnover rate.
The National Restaurant Association reported that America’s restaurant employee turnover rate was 74.9% in 2018.
Turnover rate creates profit issues, mainly because of training. Every time an employee leaves, you must spend time hiring and training someone new. Reduce employee turnover by implementing these measures:
Train your staff well and set clear expectations from the time of hiring.
Hire staff who have experience and remarkable enthusiasm.
Communicate with your staff about their skills, and where they could do their best work.
Build job satisfaction through praise and recognition for work done well.
Keeping your team happy could lead to reduced turnover, better-trained staff, and happier guests. When your staff members are happy, your guests will notice.
You can cut waste in many ways, but even better you can do it in ways that boost sales. Use nightly specials to work through ingredients that will lose their quality soon. Or plan out a hotel food and beverage promotion to fill seats on slow nights.
Finally, rely on your POS for recipe management and inventory. Track where your waste is happening and use it as a training opportunity with your staff. In some cases, closely tracking your inventory can even help you identify theft too.
Avoid cutting off lines of profit
Food and beverage service in a hotel doesn’t stop at providing meals to your guests. If anything, marketing yourself as a tourist destination can leave your restaurant empty throughout various times of the year.
It’s ideal for restaurants to be tourist-friendly and accommodating, while popular among the locals as well.
If you're looking for other ways to boost your profits, consider training your staff on upselling beverages, desserts, souvenirs, or even take-home treats. Your restaurant should function fully without your hotel branding, relying on hotel guests, or even on your hotel's marketing.
To get started, you need a business plan. Work out how you’ll market your new hotel, what your concept is, and how you will pull people in through the street entrance as well as through the hotel. Hire restaurant managers and chefs who can run the front and back of your restaurant with precision. Then ensure that your guests have every convenience possible available to them. Use technology, and excellent staff to help your hotel guests have a stress-free dining experience.