Take Note: These F&B Trends are Taking Hotels by Storm

EHL Editorial Team | 27 May, 2016

For decades, hotels have included restaurants as part of their overall design plan. Travelers and visitors have always enjoyed in-house restaurants, as they provide a convenient place for a warm meal. But over time, hotel guests have come to crave a different kind of food and bar experience, and those in hotel management need to adapt. With consumers predicted to spend more than $38 billion at hotel restaurants and bars in the US only, it's important to know what your guests want. Here's the F&B trends that are taking hold in hotels across the globe.

In the past, you were likely to walk into a hotel and find that the restaurant operated in a separate space entirely. By enclosing the restaurant and bar in another room, it differentiated between the hotel and dining locale. Today, restaurants and bars are more likely to share the same space as the hotel lobby and gathering space, according to the Travel Market Report. Fountains with tables surrounding them provide an outdoor-style experience. Bars near the balcony that overlook the lobby allow for open, lively and welcoming atmosphere. Leave the boundaries behind when it comes to creating a space for meals and drinks within a hotel.

People who are looking to try a new restaurant are often more interested in the overall experience. They don't want to head to any old restaurant that boasts an average menu and a typical atmosphere. If your hotel offers the same array of chicken Caesar salads, burgers, chicken fingers, steak and fish and chips, even your guests are going to skip the convenience of dining at the on-site hotel for another more flavorful option. Create a menu that appeals to a wide variety of people, including those who require specialty diets. Offer dishes that are unique and delicious, capitalizing on the local culture, the theme of the restaurant and the trending foods of today. Small plates and appetizers are big hits at hotel restaurants, where many people prefer to graze and be social.

Hotel restaurants and bars used to carry a certain stigma. It was assumed that these restaurants were sub-par, and only existed to serve the guests staying at the hotel who were looking for a quick, convenient and affordable meal. Today, hotels are defying this stereotype and attracting local food lovers who prefer to try authentic and eclectic cuisine. In a report published on Hospitality Trends, it was noted that 85 percent of diners chose to consume their meals at a restaurant. Rather than cooking a meal at home and staying in for the night, most people are heading out for dinner in town. Hotel management experts should remember this fact when they are updating their menu and adjusting their atmosphere. It should be a destination not only for your guests, but also for the people who call your city home.

Bars should not be an afterthought at your hotel. Many hotel guests prefer to grab a quick meal at a bar rather than head to the dining area because it gives them an opportunity to be more social. Business travelers, in particular, are often alone and need to grab a solo meal at the end of the work day. A bar with snack options, craft beers and specialty cocktails will be more appealing than a restaurant where they have to sit at a table alone and likely won't strike up a conversation with another person.

Instead of focusing on just one restaurant, considering creating a food hall filled with plentiful options and a luxury atmosphere. According to Hospitality Net, many of the most famous hotels in the world have had much success with this dining plan. The Plaza Hotel in New York City, for example, has a food hall in its basement. Featuring artisan food and delicious takeout options, this food hall has become a model for many hotels hoping to adopt this idea.

The hospitality industry is changing more rapidly than ever before. While it's easier for a restaurant to reinvent its brand than it is for a hotel, it's still important for those in hospitality and tourism management to adapt and adjust as necessary. In many cases, a restaurant or bar will anchor a hotel and make it a destination rather than simply an accommodation. Keep up with the latest F&B trends in order to be successful in the hospitality and tourism industry.

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