Archive for May 3rd, 2010

Why You Need Ten New Restaurants Next Door

“So, should you tell him, or should I”, the General Manager says to the F&B Director. This is never good. I am “him”. I’m on assignment to meet with these gents, two of the best I might add, and help them figure out how to raise revenues. I’m an expert, you see. An outside pair of eyes. An objective observer. Right.

So, the GM loses the coin-toss and says, “Well, tomorrow we’ll have ten food trucks in the lot adjacent to the hotel. I thought you should know.”

“So…your restaurants are that busy, can’t handle the overflow?” is my witty response.

Long story short the hotel participates in an association that includes several nearby hotels, and this is a promotion for them and for the association. He had the space, and the open mind, so he said “Bring ‘em to my place”.

“Oh, and by the way…” the F&B Director chimed in, “We’re going to do this every Tuesday at lunch time.”

Well, close the restaurants now, right? This hotel has a food court and full service restaurant and full service lounge serving food and beverage at lunch – do they need ten more competitors, even if just one in seven days? And while I’m whining, what is it about F&B that makes GM’s (and DOSM’s) spend significant hours pondering what the next great giveaway will be?

There are two lessons here, two that I can think of anyway.

First, this is a fabulous idea. Here’s why. It didn’t cost anything for them to bring 500-700 qualified potential customers into their back yard. Think about it. Nearly everyone walked or drove from nearby. They are all potential customers and the hotel can give flyers, post banners, dress up staff in sign boards, hire entertainers to entertain and by the way promote the hotel. How much would YOU pay to be able to get your marketing message in front of 700 nearby office and other workers. How many thousands of emails would you have to send to reach those 700. And it might be a different 700 next week. Who now all know about the hotel’s entertainment, its happy hour, its sushi bar, its coffee bar, its food court, its mother’s day brunch…and what was that cost again?

Second, why do people flock to food trucks. You may have heard about this craze by now. It’s cool. It’s trendy. And so on. But the real draw I think is the fun that comes with the variety. The experience of trying something new. The experience of having ten restaurants parked at your feet. And here’s our lesson F&B people. How do we replicate that excitement in our everyday operations. When is the last time we teased our guests with something new, interesting, intriguing, different? Korean BBQ. Gourmet Cupcakes, Mexican-Chines Tacos, Gourmet Brats, Japanese Burgers, Sushi, East Indian, Korean Tacos, Dim Sum, Wings, and on.

Learning and trying new things is fun for our guest, it creates memorable experiences.

If you are a hotel F&B you probably serve buffets. Breakfast at least. Maybe brunch. Maybe lunch. Catering almost certainly. What an incredible opportunity to introduce new cuisines, types of items, dishes, twists.

The empty buffet is your empty parking lot. Put a food truck on it and see what happens.  

These are my thoughts, let me know yours.

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