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  • New Global Directors Join the 2018-2019 HFTP Board

    The HFTP 2018-2019 Global Board of Directors was installed during the association's 2018 Annual Convention and introduces new directors Toni Bau, Carson Booth, CHTP and Mark Fancourt. These extensive director profiles give insight into the distinguished professions and personal goals of HFTP's newest association leaders.

  • Members Only: 2018 HFTP Compensation and Benefits Report

    By Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA. Results to the biannual survey conducted by Hospitality Financial and Technology Professionals (HFTP). Information includes data on compensation and benefits trends for finance and technology professionals in the club and lodging industries.

  • Primary Club Metrics

    Survey results identify which metrics are most often used to determine performance. By Agnes DeFranco, Ed.D., CHAE; Tanya Venegas, MBA, MHM, CHIA; and Amanda Belarmino

  • Introducing 'Your HFTP': An Updated Online Interface for HFTP Members

    HFTP is excited to announce the newly updated “Your HFTP” online account portal. “Your HFTP” allows you to successfully manage your HFTP membership online. This refreshed online interface looks and feels just like the HFTP website and (better yet) is mobile-responsive.

Developing a concept with blood, sweat and expertise

Savvy IQ ·2h
Growing up in a family who owned and operated a fast food business, I spent most of my early years working in the family business; from weekend shifts during school term and remembering my school holidays as days in the shop rather than on the beach. Unknowingly I was learning valuable lessons in business operations and management. When completing high school, I continued to work in the family business for some time, whilst studying part time to obtain the theoretical techniques in business which I felt were missing. I finally moved away from the family business and began developing a career in the hotel industry, focusing on F&B. With the ten years of experience I gained, my life savings, and a loan from the bank which my parents were kind enough to guarantee, I decided to open my first cafe. Having a strong eagerness to succeed, an entrepreneurial approach, much motivation, lots of hard work and initiative, the small cafe business grew to a company of twelve restaurants, cafes and retail over a six year period. Three restaurants were accoladed with a one hat rating (Michelin star equivalent in Australia), which I was most proud of. In a quick paragraph, it sounds quite simple, however there were so many factors to obtaining this achievement and success; a great team, an open mindedness, many long hours and stress and most importantly, creative ideas.I later sold the company, and utilised my education, sixteen years hospitality experience and proven track record, to spend the next ten years travelling the world and working in some of the m ost amazing cities at senior level for some great company's. The past ten years has been much about advising and strategizing for companies and individuals; implementing, developing and creating cool concepts globally; and managing organisations with many talented individuals. Savvy IQ (the consulting company I founded), creates concepts and advises in operations on a regular basis to many restaurant groups, hotel chains and small and large businesses. After much advising and a long pause in self-employment, I decided to step back into ownership and implement everything I have been mentoring others. Hence the birth of Bao & Bing in Marylebone, London.I discovered an Italian deli/cafe in Marylebone that was on the market which I managed to turn it into a Taiwanese restaurant in just under ten weeks; which was a challenge to say the least. Now with three weeks of trading, we have been blessed with success and the feedback has been amazing. Everyone is rav ing about the food, the service is on par, the ambience (lighting and music) is exciting and we have created a cool, fun vibe in a neighbourhood that was crying out for something different. The systems (POS, HR, Cost control etc) all running perfectly. The social media is exciting and the reviews have been great. So why is that so? The idea, passion and hunger to succeed was there, coupled with personally touching all aspects of the concept; from design, food, uniforms, lighting, music choice, strategy, IT etc etc....... And all on a budget!Where are we now? We are developing phase two of our menu. Adding our specials that will launch in the new year; creating our secret menu dish which is revealed to guests with a code word written in Mandarin on a light-box on the wall; planning the launch of our prosecco bao brunch; And in the first quarter of 2019, we will launch our breakfast offering. Constant innovation, development and creativity.Creativity breeds excitement and innovation. Constant development and the need to keep touching the business personally. How did we create Bao & Bing?First of all was to let the creativity flow. I had to develop a concept where the gap in the market existed. The need to consider a cuisine that is well renowned for its flavours; and above all, develop a price point so that the venue could become an affordable everyday dining experience; whilst considering a simplified model for operations, cost management and scalability.Ideas were thrown around our 'Savvy IQ think tank', from Cuban, Mexican, Chinese, Italian, Indian; and then together we redefined every cuisine idea to specific localised regions of each country. But then it came to me! I travel to Taiwan regularly, I love the food, I love the culture and I am passionate about the country. Most probably heavily influenced from the beautiful Taiwanese girl I married ten years ago, who I now have two fun loving kids with. Now it was time to develop the idea further and create the concept.To begin, I considered a simple formula many of you may know and one I have lived by: Good food, good service, fun ambience all at the right price. So here are some points on how to develop and create ideas.Write ideas down straight away when they come to mind. In this day and age where we carry our smartphones everywhere, we can take pictures, write notes and record ideas. I have lost so many ideas in my time; and am reminded of them after I see it again a second time round; most times it's too late to use. I now tend to use Pinterest to grab ideas for lighting, finishes, decor, food and beverage; And I look at what attracts me to a picture and constantly update my boards. So begin the concept creation by collating as many inspirations as possible through your travels, the internet or any other form that inspires you.In Bao & Bing, we have a 'Bingo Wh eel'. When your bill arrives, the customer picks a number between 1 and 90 for the chance to have the check on the house. Was it my idea? No. I noted a similar game in an Italian concept during my travels in Beirut. The restaurant used a container with 90 balls, and the game was called tombola. The numbers were shaken in a container and you had a chance to have the meal on the house. it was all very subtle when the waiter came about and there was no real impact from this great offering. My part was document this great idea, for a potential later use. So what did we do differently? We made it a little more exciting. We invite the guests to come to the bar where the Bingo wheel is sitting in top of an old stereo and ask them to pick a number between 1 and 90. When the customer comes to the bar, we turn on the stereo to play an old Taiwanese song (quite loudly to gain attention of the other guests) and slowly spin the wheel. I have never seen so many people happy to see the bill arrive!Stop doing the same thing over and over. Focus on doing something different. Not to say you should not practice and implement everything you have learnt or been taught. However, as I previously mentioned my initiation into the hospitality industry was through my parents business. I soon realised after working in the hotel industry and studying management, that there were many ways my parents could have of improved their business model. Not to say they were not successful, but they did the same thing day in day out for so many years and could have possibly grown their business further if they perhaps made some changes. Look at the success stories in life and in business and put together a pool of items that will make your concept successful. Ideas are always recycled, amended and perfected. But there is always a starting point that sparks the idea. Use people around you to bounce ideas. At Savvy IQ, we have a regular think ta nk on ideas for different focuses. Be it concept creation, marketing, IT systems, business development or just a general catch up as to how we can do things better. In these meetings I have been the developer of many bad ideas; however, around a group of talented people, we have turned an initial not so good idea into an amazing idea. Sometimes it requires a spark to get things going. Everyone involved in generating ideas should know everything about the brief. Do not hold anything back and be transparent. Even if there's something that you think is not relevant, it still should bel included to get ideas moving.Read magazines, articles and industry news. Reading is the best way for creating new thoughts and stimulating great ideas. I constantly read and I subscribe to many publications. Even when I am time poor, I make an effort to skim through magazines or articles on the web. I have added business books to my routine over the years, which has helped me learn more and expand my way of thinking. Try and make time for reading. I am just as guilty as the next person with distraction of social media. However, put a pause on the social media an you'll find plenty of thought stimulation with a book.
Article by Kacey Bradley

How Your Hotel Can Have an Outdoor Fitness Center

The Drifter Collective ·10 December 2018
Hotels often feature indoor fitness areas, which may include a small room with treadmills or an entire facility dedicated to weights and heavy-duty equipment. However, hotels and resorts are beginning to think outside the box when it comes to exercise space.Playworld is one company that is bringing workout equipment to the outdoors, especially with their fitness playgrounds for adults and children. Exterior exercise equipment is encouraging communities and businesses to support healthy living. Hotels are joining the shift toward active lifestyles, and guests can pursue fitness during their visits.Fitness TrailsOutdoor exercise equipment can get placed in easily accessible locations so visitors can enjoy the fixtures with ease. For hotels and resorts that spread across expansive property, trails allow fitness fanatics to jog, bike or walk up to the equipment. Visitors can enhance their regular workouts with resistance training or stretching apparatuses. Instead of a simple cardio routine, they can get a full-body workout.The outdoor designs require stable foundations, so each piece needs to get installed in the ground. The equipment should get set up on a properly drained site. Installation can also happen on a new or existing cement base so that adults can put their full weight on the machinery without it budging. The equipment needs an initial grading which accounts for appropriate depth of safety surfacing.While playgrounds are a lively way to get energy out, an age-appropriate fitness area shifts the attention from entertainment to health. Playworld's fitness equipment is specifically for ages nine and up. The equipment accommodates any level of exercise, from athlete to beginner, and a variety of styles helps adults and older children stretch, body-weight train and integrate exercises.Rooftop Exercise SpacesFor hotels and resorts that prefer a rooftop exercise area, the outdoor equipment must have a stable surface which it can get properly secured to. Surface mount equipment can get attached to a concrete pad if it is deep enough to accommodate the structures. To safely install fitness equipment, consult with a local inspector and professional contractors.Rooftops present different hazards than traditional exterior fitness equipment areas, so sufficiently plan for installation and use. Transporting the fitness equipment to begin installation is also different because most hotels do not have sizable elevators or alternate means of moving it to the roof. Lifting each workout apparatus to the roof may include outside help.Multi-Age Fitness PlaygroundsHotels can also benefit from playgrounds with stations for multiple age groups that feature workout equipment. From adults to older children, outdoor fitness playgrounds can promote active lifestyles for hotel guests of several age groups. While children are playing on the playground, adults can move too.With equipment designed by fitness experts, the stations offer creative ways to tone muscles and heighten athletic ability. The safety measures are thorough, but some facilities use cushioning underneath the playground equipment to add extra support and reduce the risk of injury.Along with multiple age groups, these fitness playgrounds also allow users of different abilities that may be at your hotel to enjoy activity and play. In light of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Playworld considers unique mobility needs and different conditions for all-around inclusive fun.Static vs. Interactive EquipmentHotels can purchase interactive and static equipment to complete their outdoor fitness area. Static equipment that does not budge when guests use it such as a step exercise station provide support. Interactive equipment such as a recumbent bike move in response to users actions to offer dynamic capabilities. Also, outdoor static and interactive workout equipment are built for changing weather conditions.The equipment material is strong and can continue servicing hotel guests for years. Each is designed to withstand weathering, but shade can help keep the equipment cool and dry. Because warm climates can heat up the equipment, Playworld provides several light color options. However, the range of colors also allows for hotels to select whatever option suits the establishment's color scheme.Equip Your Hotel With Outdoor Fitness EquipmentExterior workout equipment is the next step in furnishing hotels with fun and interactive fitness options. Appeal to a wider group of people who want to work on physical fitness with fitness playgrounds or trails. Draw guests outside with a variety of outdoor workout supports to change how they think about hotel fitness areas.

Why Outsourcing Hotel Staff Doesn't Always Work

Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited · 3 December 2018
While the two abovementioned advantages of outsourcing are indeed quite lucrative and not to mention the overall decrease in risk involved with all forms of employee care the primary drawback is that service is compromised, especially in the face of the modern trend for personalization.Ultimately, a hotel is dependent on its people. Before the dawn of integrated CRMs and omniscient PMSs, this meant that your frontline workers, in tandem with your senior team, had to have the wherewithal and the passion for the job to remember all the specific preferences of habitus and to go out of their way to properly satisfy each guests requests. With all the data at our disposal nowadays, we seem to be forgetting this time-honored tradition of our industry.Guest-Staff Interactions Matter in the Information AgeYes, data can help you to personalize the guest experience and anticipate service requests, but such systems will never be fully capable of supplanting the emotionally charged, face-to-face encouragement one receives when dealing with a thoroughly knowledgeable and caring staff member.Because they are transient and because they are not solely devoted to your hotel, outsourced employees wont be able to deliver the same level of enthusiasm and exactness in any manner of tasks executed nor will they be able to master your specific SOPs because they may also be shuffled through a few other properties in the region.Add to this that outsourcing agencies have significantly higher rates of employee turnover, and it may be that a guest only encounters new faces every time he or she enters a public area. Not only does this dilute the customers personal connection to the hotel brand and thereby decreases loyalty, but it also poses a slight security risk as you wont know who all these fresh-faced staffers are nor will they be able to recognize suspicious visitors.I find this trend to be particularly concerning as service is one of the core components of all great hotel experiences. When we let it slide, all key monetary performance indicators will suffer over the long run.All the Best Properties Value Long-Serving EmployeesIndeed, all the best properties in the world the ones we all dream of staying or working at are ones where the staff are veterans of all the inner workings of that hotel as well as the local area.As we are all emotional beings, it only takes one convivial and insightful conversation with an attentive server or butler for a guest to overlook a propertys perceived deficiencies and give a five-star rating each and every time. It only takes one benevolent action from a seasoned supervisor who knows how to thoroughly coordinate an effective response in order to nullify any service error. It only takes the conversant fervor of a front desk clerk to motivate a guest to upgrade to a suite or to try out one of your amenities instead of wandering offsite.Only by knowing a property inside out which takes lots of time and onsite experience can a team member truly deliver an outstanding guest experience or feel empowered to go that extra mile and overdeliver on a specific service request. Knowing ones hotel and all manner of specific responses doesnt happen overnight; it requires mastery of ones line of work, which isnt possible via outsourcing.Effective Service is Built on TeamsWhen you contract out labor, the team dynamic fails to develop with trust within and between departments. As social animals, we need to develop some sense of regular contact with those in our tribe in order to be at our most productive and for our morale not to dip.To attain a level of autonomous execution of tasks and to thereby respond in a timely manner to service requests, teams must growth together. You must foster a great corporate culture and support all staff members with internal programs that benefit their wellbeing to instill a strong sense of camaraderie.If on the other hand you have fostered a culture of frequent turnover via outsourcing, any training investments will naturally have a lower return. This is in contrast with the contemporary and comprehensive in-house training teams at select properties whereby valuing each employee reduces turnover and in turn the sunk costs of onboarding and mentoring. In other words, training has a significant hidden expense associated with it, but this is easily recouped over the long run.So, if you have made the move to contract out a certain department, please consider the above downsides. They are subtle and wont be immediately reflected on a P&L, but they will inevitably cost you by eroding guest satisfaction and reducing the number of return visits, social media shares or word-of-mouth recommendations.In a travel landscape where loyalty is already waning by the minute because of the influences of the OTAs and alternate lodging providers, you cannot afford to give consumers any additional reason to not have a thoroughly memorable guest experience. You cannot afford to compromise service for outsourced labor as impeccable service will always be the core of an unforgettable hotel stay.(Article by Larry Mogelonsky, originally published in Hotel News Now on September 18, 2018)

New Strategies for Recapturing the Value of Hotel Food Waste

Hotel Business Review by· 2 December 2018
Food waste wastes money. In the US alone, we waste more than $160 billion worth of food each year. Reducing waste is a perfect example of how more sustainable business practices can sustain people, planet, and prosperity all at the same time. The food waste debate often focuses on how to keep waste out of landfills by diverting it to people, animals or compost (in that order). That's a worthwhile goal, but it's not the best way to save money-or the planet. Rather, preventing food waste is the most effective way to save money and the environment.

4 Things Restaurants Don't Know About Loyalty Programs

Hospitality Technology Magazine·30 November 2018
Nowadays, the restaurants do not fully understand the importance of customer relationship and loyalty for business growth. The fact is they can actually increase their sales with loyalty programs instead of spending a huge amount of money on marketing services.

How Can Restaurants Adapt to Modern Dietary Quirks

Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited ·29 November 2018
In my youth, my parents would take me to Joes Steakhouse in Montreal where we would eat massive rib steaks on wooden cutting boards with copious amounts of butter and sour cream lathered on baked potatoes. Posh dining equivalent might include a chateaubriand for two, expertly prepared tableside.While cognizant of my own rose-colored glasses, I still recall that no one back in the day seemed to have any food allergies or restrictions order what you want was the name of the game. Today, however, those who dine unrestricted are in the minority. A dinner amongst friends may include the following: vegan, vegetarian, Jain (no products that end a life cycle including root vegetables), kosher, halal, pescatarian, pollo-pescatarian, ketogenic, lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, nut allergies, no carb, shellfish allergies and so on.Everyone eats, yes, but the peculiarities of our own dietary codes have become a constant topic of conversation, as well as a consternation for audacious chefs who must know appease all parties. Nevertheless, as hoteliers who invite and accept all persons of all dispositions into our homes, we must do our best to satisfy our guests. So, what can you do?Train your waitstaff to always ask every diner about dietary restrictions and food allergies. It starts with online reservations. Often a diner with special requests will advise when prompted during the initial booking. Your team should identify these notes at the time of the diners arrival and identify the individuals who are making the special request. It is not up to us as hoteliers and restaurateurs to question why a restriction exists, no matter how unusual the situation. Servers must take particular care to advise the chef and to give the right dish to the right person, as even a minor mistake here can have disastrous consequences.Know all your ingredients. A listing of all components for each dish should be readily available including substitutions that are possible as well as those that are not. This would include soup stock (vegetable, chicken, fish or beef), frying oil (peanut, sesame, coconut or lard), garnishes and sauces. If you are using ready-made products, the ingredient listings are easily identified.Try to have at least one menu item in each category (appetizer, main, dessert) that would satisfy a vegan or strict vegetarian. Next, identify these on the menu accordingly. Similarly, having almond or soy milk on hand is an obvious way to support those who cannot have traditional dairy with their coffee. Part of the fun with all this modern dietary diversification is that it has also paved the way for a myriad of obscure substitute ingredients to now attain mass appeal. As a rather esoteric one, you might even consider carob for those with chocolate sensitivities.If a diner has a special request to modify a menu item by eliminating or replacing an ingredient, encourage your waitstaff to defer that decision to the kitchen. Often it is relatively easy, but one never knows. A chef may feel as though a specific substitution will compromise the integrity of the dish and thus not want to oblige the request. If the kitchen is unable to do so, waitstaff should be trained to respond accordingly by offering a satisfactory explanation as well as another alternative.Its our legal obligation to protect our guests from harm. Its our code as hospitality professionals to make patrons dining with us as comfortable as possible. As our patrons behaviors change, so too must we adapt to meet their expectations. That pertains to dietary habits as well as most every other aspect of operating a hotel.

7 insights for reaching Gen Z

National Restaurant Association (NRA)·28 November 2018
If you’re tired of hearing about millennials, here’s some good news: There’s a new group of consumers to study. Members of Generation Z, currently aged 13 to 22, have billions in spending power – and that doesn’t include the influence they have on what their parents buy. Some defining qualities: They have a short attention span; they’re the most likely generation to volunteer; and they’re the most likely to protest a cause they believe in.

Using F&B to Establish a Unique Character for Your Hotel

Hotel Business Review by·25 November 2018
A hotel's restaurants and bars offer one of the best opportunities for the hotel to express its unique character. Food and beverage (F&B) is nothing less than hospitality in motion, on display and interactive in a way that everyone can see. It only makes sense to use F&B to help differentiate hotel properties, now more than ever.

Putting the Magic Back Into Your Restaurant

Modern Restaurant Management·20 November 2018
When you experience a moment that is truly magical, you know it. You know it, because you feel it. I recently felt magic when visiting Disneyland. My wife, two-year-old son and I were up way past bedtime waiting in line for a ride for what felt like forever. As we approached the front of the line, exhausted, a kind ride operator asked how our visit was going. When we told him that it was our first visit ever, he smiled and told us that after we rode, we could stay on the ride for a second round.

Claremont Club & Spa Launches Food Waste Prevention Program

mycloud HOSPITALITY·18 November 2018
Claremont Club & Spa has launched a comprehensive food waste prevention program in partnership with Alameda County’s StopWaste agency and technology provider Leanpath.

The myths and realities of AI in health care

The Analytic Hospitality Executive | SAS· 2 November 2018
Health care is facing an unprecedented need to reform, drive quality and cut costs. Growth in targeted, specific treatments and diagnostic technology, coupled with a rise in people with long-term and multiple chronic conditions, is creating unsustainable demand on the system. To thrive – or even merely survive – health care organizations must adapt and find ways to deliver better, more efficient care.

Why Restaurant Systems Are Important

The Restaurant Expert· 1 November 2018
I’m the systems guy, and along with teaching systems, I teach why restaurant systems are important. Every restaurant owner, no matter how much they’re making or not making, is looking for ways to lower food and labor cost and to hold their employees/managers accountable.

My Head in the Clouds (computing): A Case Study of a Restaurant Group Embracing Off-Site Technology

mycloud HOSPITALITY·31 October 2018
I am a restaurateur. I’m behind schedule. Again. Not because I am disorganized or have too much to do, more so because I have a hierarchy of tasks that are addressed based on priority. Guest needs are my first priority, staff needs are a close second and everything else last.

Creating Community One Meal at a Time

Boston University - Boston Hospitality Review·Requires Registration ·31 October 2018
Doctors heal. Professors educate. Psychologists listen. Entertainers excite. I get to do all of the above, on stage each night, as I serve dinner. They say the best way to a man’s heart is through his stomach. I think the same is true no matter the gender; a meal shared is a memory made.

Restaurant Delivery: Are the 'ODP' the Industry's 'OTA'? Part II

Boston University - Boston Hospitality Review·Requires Registration ·31 October 2018
In Part 1 of this analysis of the restaurant delivery system we looked at the owner/operator models which still offer some measure of control over price and quality. This is fast becoming an issue with the rise of the Ghost Kitchen where the ODP is an integral part of the equation. Here we present the larger challenges from the dominant ODP control of the marketplace. It is good to remember that most of the ODPs themselves are still looking to find profits in what they do, a suggestion that those profits will need to come at the expense of the restaurant providers in one way or another.

Restaurant Delivery: Are the 'ODP' the Industry's 'OTA'? Part I

Boston University - Boston Hospitality Review·Requires Registration ·31 October 2018
The entire restaurant industry, from the simplest quick service joint to the most complex fine dining jewel, is caught in a veritable frenzy of delivery. It may be, unfortunately, a very risky path to travel for the uninitiated restaurant operation, but delivery is driving the investment community to a fever pitch. [1] We have entered into the time of the restaurant On-Line Delivery Provider (ODP) which mirrors in many ways the On-Line Travel Agent (OTA) which has so disrupted the lodging industry.

Claude Bosi's journey to becoming AA Chef's Chef of the Year 2018

mycloud HOSPITALITY·29 October 2018
We speak exclusively to Claude Bosi about the awards and get his views on attracting and retaining talent.

7 Ways Hotels Are Boosting F&B Revenues via Smartphone

mycloud HOSPITALITY·28 October 2018
A restaurant having a website is a must, but a mobile friendly website is what sets certain hotels' food and beverage operations apart from the rest. Most people look for somewhere to eat on the go, meaning googling places on their smartphone. If a restaurant's website should be mobile friendly. The customer should be able to browse their online menu with ease, and it might mean ruling said restaurant out altogether, no matter how good the food may be.

Marrying street food and travel

Click by·26 October 2018
Jonathan Downey is not afraid to take a risk. He’s CEO and Co-Founder of London Union, the company behind the capital’s five street feast markets. Here he reveals how he brought quality casual dining to London and its impact on travel.

Food innovation is happening everywhere Featured Articles·24 October 2018
Culinary innovation is no longer reserved for Paris, New York and Tokyo alone—it’s happening all over the world, and hotel restaurants can play a big part if they play their cards right.

Why Group F&B is Poised to Feed Your Bottom Line

Social Tables ·24 October 2018
When it comes to growing group revenue, hoteliers really have two options in their arsenal: book more events or increase revenue per booking.For those with the team and occupancy, the former is great. However, for those unable to provide the supply to meet demand -- or larger hotels with rapidly escalating acquisition costs -- booking more events is a less-than-viable option. This is especially true in CBRE-tracked markets (42 out of 60) where supply growth will outpace the national average.Properties who fall into this camp instead must optimize the business they're already bringing in. They need to use intelligent group segmentation to target high-value business, and focus on leveraging the meeting elements that promise the most ROI. Yet, with so many moving parts in the group business cycle, which pieces of the booking promise the most bang for the proverbial buck?As group F&B revenue continues to pace toward a 2-3% increase by the end of the year, catering might just be the secret ingredient to more lucrative bookings.The proof is in the stats.F&B represents 25% of revenue on average for full-service hotels who keep operations in-house -- an ever-growing portion that continues to make up more and more of the revenue pie. How much of that total F&B revenue is coming from groups? Typically just under 50% across the industry, but more than half at upscale and luxury properties.According to STR, catering and banquet sales in 2017 made up:57% of F&B revenue for luxury properties59% of F&B revenue for upper-upscale hotels58% of F&B revenue for upscale propertiesYou can count on these numbers getting larger according to a new Avendra trends report, with 61% of hotel GMs and F&B directors planning net growth in catering this year. These properties are capitalizing on favorable F&B margins, which CBRE reports increased from 24.9% to 29.5% between 2010 and 2016.F&B is the third most important factor in site selection.Not so surprisingly, cost and location continue to dominate the outlook on site viability for planners. Yet for planners choosing between event spaces that fit the budget, the biggest differentiator is ultimately group F&B offering.This is backed up by results from the IACC's Meeting Room of the Future survey, with F&B ranking third amongst the determining factors for venue selection.Three Ideas That Can Grow Group F&B 1. Invest in event management technology to provide better service.37% of event planners report that bad communication is the single biggest reason they choose another venue. With F&B especially, event management technology opens up huge opportunities to cut down on back-and-forth and improve communicative efficiency -- from improving guest management to equipping properties to communicate visually.With the ability to diagram F&B experiences to scale, visually manage guests by the seat, and show planners the layout to-scale, these types of technologies empower planners and properties to cut down on back and forth while improving collaboration by working together in real-time. Plus, properties are able to equip staff with the context needed to execute events seamlessly.This was all but confirmed by an STR study carried out earlier this year. When analyzing numbers over a three-year period, the study found that the 123 properties using Social Tables' Event Services Solution averaged 1.82% more F&B profit on average than the 631 properties without the platform (measured on a RevPOR basis).2. Think about how communal spaces can become F&B spaces.At the beginning of the year, AMEX Global Meetings forecasted a 3.8% increase in group demand for nontraditional venue options. Ultimately, as meetings become more and more focused on providing purposeful experiences, the traditional ballroom setting is falling out of vogue with planners. Luckily, properties with communal space have the opportunity to diversify and meet changing expectations.By using social spaces like lobbies, rooftops, and even outdoor areas (waterfronts, walking trails) as repurposed settings for F&B service, many properties are capitalizing on the need for networking spaces and serving it up with a side of F&B revenue.Take Chicago as a case-in-point. In June 2017, properties who utilized rooftops for F&B experiences saw a whopping $13 increase in revenue-per-seat to $68.20. In comparison, other properties saw an average of only $55.22.Many owners and GMs are hearing the call when it comes to new supply and dedicating more space to F&B in builds.3. Ditch set meal times for continuous refreshments.The same IACC survey that shows the importance of F&B as a differentiator also shows that a majority of planners agree that there are large upsides to continuous F&B service.Instead of being stuck in their seats waiting for set times, continuous service allows attendees an added element of personalization and freedom that many events lack. Guests can leave their seats when it feels right, and get the brain fuel they need when they need it.For hotels, this means more work monitoring and refreshing stations. However, the upsell potential of this type of experience more than makes up for the added resource allocation.Wrapping UpGroup business has seen a lot of flux in recent years: Group occupancy rates are dropping, RFPs are increasing, and events as a whole are getting shorter. Still, meeting quality is high and group daily rates are at record highs. For properties who are able to leverage F&B to drive up minimums and reel in revenue, the opportunity is there to bring in more from bookings.For fresh ideas on how to drive more F&B revenue, check out Social Tables newest tip sheet of event catering ideas as well as our guide to F&B trends.
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7 Business Plan Mistakes All Restaurants Should Avoid ·17 October 2018
Not writing one or including enough detailThe first, and easiest, hurdle to fall at it to simply not write a business plan at all. When you have a goal such as opening a restaurant It's natural to want to get started as soon as possible and it might seem as though a rough plan will be sufficient. However, the reality is that over half of all restaurants have failed within three years of opening, with 26% failing in the first year.If you're going to take a shot at your dream it's also important you go into as much detail as possible, the reality is there are multiple points at which you could fail in the early stages of opening a restaurant and not paying enough attention to the details can cause you to trip at any one of these. There will be numbers to crunch, permits to apply for and endless market research to consider and the more time spent and information gathered the better. A rich, qualitative business plan will highlight any weak spots in your business model and make for a smoother start-up period. A strong business plan can also be used to attract investors and secure funding such as loans.Not focusing on the long termAs so many restaurants fail in the first few years it is important you not only consider the start-up phase of your business but also focus on the long term. Alongside the initial push needed to launch a restaurant, any business plan you form should also include procedures to ensure the sustainability of your restaurant. It is important to consider financial returns, how you will ensure your restaurant becomes self-funding and your long term aims as a start-up and include these in your business plan.Location, Location, LocationEnsure the location of your business is highly visible to potential customers, while a premises in a less popular or frequented area may be cheaper it is simply not worth any savings you might make by compromising. "Location is everything when drawing in patrons and it's important that your restaurant is in a prime location to be spotted by hungry passers-by who could become loyal customers. While a marketing campaign is an incredibly effective way of attracting customers don't underestimate the importance of an appealing storefront in a busy area," says Bethany Barnes, a business writer from Write My X and OriginWritings.Being realistic about the costsWhen creating your business plan be as specific as possible regarding the associated costs, leaving anything vague creates room for costs to turn out higher than expected and this can cause havoc. A poorly constructed financial plan also has the potential to put potential investors off.It is vitally important to leave space in the budget for unexpected or costs as these are likely to arise in some form; ultimately the best strategy is to overestimate all costs when writing the preliminary budget. A general rule is also to set aside a contingency fund for unpredicted costs or emergencies.Not empathising your businesses competitive advantageThere are thousands of other people out there trying to make their dream restaurant a reality but the reality is not all of them will be successful in doing so. Ensure your business plan highlights what makes your restaurant stand out from the crowd and how your plan will give you the best possible chance of success. There are a variety of ways you can differentiate your restaurant from your competitors', including: location, concept, cost and menu items. Make sure you build a solid argument as to how these differences will give you an edge. Also ensure you include information regarding your experience and what makes you the ideal candidate to implement your business plan successfully, that way any potential investors reading your business plan can build confidence in the competitive advantage of both the plan and it's enactor.Not creating a marketing strategy Implementing a sound and well planned marketing strategy is the key to the success of any new business and should not be overlooked when opening a restaurant. When done correctly it will not only bring in new customers but encourage repeat customers as well, through schemes such as a loyalty program. "Other things to consider when building a marketing strategy are: your restaurants website, creating relationships with local charities and organisations, digital marketing, and social media. All of these are incredibly useful tools to encourage visitors to your new business and successful marketing might well make the difference between success and failure," says John Phillipe, a marketing manager at 1Day2Write.Not paying attention to the red tapeWhile it may not be the most exciting aspect of making your dream a reality, focusing on the 'red tape' like paperwork and permits is an integral part of making it a success. A key part of your business plan needs to focus on any permits, regulations and compliance requirements. Falling short in these areas can seriously stall your restaurant opening and incur unexpected costs, so it's important you give them the attention they need.

3 tips to save on F&B at your next hotel event

Hotel Tech Report·16 October 2018
Food and beverage options can sometimes hit your budget hard. But there are ways to reduce your spend by working with your hotel for alternate F&B options. Here are 3 tips to help you save on F&B at your next hotel event.

Unlocking hotel value on the F&B frontier Featured Articles· 9 October 2018
Most hotels leave a considerable amount of money on the table by ineffectively managing their food-and-beverage departments, which adversely affects department profitability and—as hotels are typically valued based on cash flows—hotel valuations.

Six Senses Laamu Rethinks Shrimp

green lodging news | By Glenn Hasek· 8 October 2018
Sustainable shrimp is a very elusive catch. That was a significant element of a message from Callum Roberts, Professor of Marine Conservation at the University of York, on his recent visit to Six Senses Laamu where he discussed sustainable fisheries management in Laamu Atoll.

Wow Bao's Geoff Alexander talks about tech

mycloud HOSPITALITY· 4 October 2018
The chain's President, who is speaking at our Restaurant Innovation Summit, explains why self-ordering kiosks are here to stay.


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