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  • 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.

  • HFTP GDPR Guidelines: Hospitality Guest Registration Cards

    This document offers recommendations for guest information collection on the guest registration card along with consent for use. It can be used as a guideline for loyalty cards, health data, export of data outside of the EU, privacy policies and direct marketing.

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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.

How Does Your Restaurant Account for Allergies

Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited · 4 October 2018
Food allergies are not only commonplace nowadays but continue to become more prevalent, particularly in a North American context. This means that allergic considerations will only become more prevalent as millennials and post-millennials come to dominate the travel economy as well as the workforce.Those individuals who are known to have certain afflictions are well-aware of the challenges they face - the common ones being peanuts, fish, shellfish, eggs, tree nuts, dairy and soy, but can also include seemingly more innocuous examples like garlic, red meat, wheat, berries or certain species in the mustard family. These individuals take (or should take) extra care necessary to identify themselves and mitigate any risks. To do otherwise is simply foolhardy.Along with such back-of-house operations like housekeeping, foodservice is one of the most important components of any full-service property's success - at least from a guest satisfaction perspective. While the critical nature of food allergies has probably already been covered numerous times by your team leaders, it is necessary for you to bring this up continually in order to ensure that it remains top-of-mind.Personally, I somehow have a bad reaction to scallops but not any other type of shellfish. While it's not anywhere close to life-threatening, the results of its consumption are rather unpleasant for the next four to six hours.However, I once inadvertently served shellfish to a friend with a more serious allergy, as he had never previously mentioned this to me or anyone else at the dinner party. Thank goodness another one of my guests had an EpiPen, or the results might have been tragic. The point here, though, is that you are ultimately responsible for your guests' safety above all other factors. While this guest should've made his allergies known, I was in the wrong for not asking and not having any emergency treatments on hand.As such, I strongly advise that you err or the side of caution, again because of the increasing rate of food hypersensitivities in Western society. While, for most of us, peanut butter is a delightful umami flavor, it shouldn't grace the kitchen of your 'something for everyone' restaurant, lest you exclude certain guests or families with allergic kids from eating there, or, worse, provoke a medical crisis. At the same time, your suppliers need to identify any items that may contain trace peanut elements while you pay that information forward to customers.Importantly, allergic considerations may play a prominent role in influencing other members of a dining group. If one person has a particular sensitivity, it may be the deciding factor towards choosing a 'safe' place to eat. Moreover, even if these patrons choose your outlet, all the others in that group will judge how you deal with this particular member's allergy concerns, factoring it into their appraisal of your restaurant.Going one step further now, advise your staff dining in the cafeteria to avoid bringing peanut products into your facility. This may sound somewhat extreme, but some guests are so allergic that residue from a housekeeper's hands might be enough to trigger a reaction.Lastly, having a non-expired EpiPen in your restaurant and your catering office is always a good insurance policy that most of you likely already have in place. However, it's the training of managers and servers that can degrade to the point of negligence, and therefore this must be readdressed at least once a quarter so that everyone is able to quickly identify the symptoms of anaphylaxis. Part of this instruction should also include ways for servers to ask guests about their allergies and how to properly relay this information back to the kitchen.As with many situations, communication is the best form of prevention. You owe every individual who sets foot in your hotel a duty of care, and you should do your best to avert any crisis before it even has the chance of occurring.

How Does Your Restaurant Account for Allergies

Hotel Online· 3 October 2018
Food allergies are not only commonplace nowadays but continue to become more prevalent, particularly in a North American context. This means that allergic considerations will only become more prevalent as millennials and post-millennials come to dominate the travel economy as well as the workforce.

4 questions with restaurant tech investor Sam Khoury

mycloud HOSPITALITY· 3 October 2018
The restaurant finance veteran will speak at our Restaurant Innovations Summit, where he'll look at industry investments and the impact on technology.

How Companies Can Tap Into Talent Clusters

mycloud HOSPITALITY· 2 October 2018
Bill Kerr, a professor at Harvard Business School, studies the increasing importance of talent clusters in our age of rapid technological advances. He argues that while talent and industries have always had a tendency to cluster, today’s trend towards San Francisco, Boston, London and a handful of other cities is different. Companies need to react and tap into those talent pools, but moving the company to one isn’t always an option. Kerr talks about the three main ways companies can access talent.
Article by Duncan Wales

A Chef Wears Many Hats

BON Hotels · 2 October 2018
When you hear 'Executive Chef' the likes of celebrity chef Pete Goffe-Wood or the renowned Jamie Oliver spring to mind but this title, certainly at hotel level, whilst essential, is a rather unobtrusive, often thankless job that comes with very little celebrity status. This multi-layered profession is not just about creating delicious dishes and hollering on the pass, it's also about managing a kitchen, supervising staff, planning menus, sourcing ingredients, and maintaining and implementing food hygiene. It requires good leadership skills, quick thinking, a knack for problem-solving and a generous measure of patience.Hospitality continues to be the second fastest-growing industry in the world and in a recent survey by TINYpulse's whose 2015 Best Industry Ranking Report revealed the World's 10 happiest industries to work in, hospitality ranked sixth, while the position of Executive Chef came in seventh for the Top 10 careers in the hotel industry and is continuing to gain in popularity.An executive chef is very much a managerial role that involves a lot of behind-the-scenes work. Whilst not necessarily a requirement, many head chefs have some training through a culinary school, technical school or community college and many work their way up to executive chef from entry-level roles like line cooks, developing the necessary skills over time. A couple of pre-requisites also smooth the way like a display of leadership, excellent customer service, having a positive attitude, an eye for detail and, of course, creativity.The HatsThe Financier - Advocates sound financial and business decision-making, is able to juggle budgets, procure sensibly and sustainably whilst maintaining updated and accurate costings of all dishes prepared and sold in the Food and Beverage operations. Monitors and reviews weekly and monthly schedules to meet forecasts and budgets.The Hygienist - Ensures compliance with food handling and sanitation standards, correct purchasing, receiving and food storage standards, proper grooming and hygiene standards for all kitchen staff whilst also maintaining the required certifications.The Teacher - Trains, develops and motivates supervisors and culinary staff to meet and exceed food preparation standards on a continual basis whilst being sensitive to the developmental needs of kitchen staff, providing coaching, mentoring, and helping them in any way to improve their knowledge or skills.The Mentor - Demonstrates honesty, integrity and leads by example, displaying exceptional leadership by providing a positive work environment, counselling employees and displaying a dedicated and professional approach to management.The Conductor - Provides direction for all day-to-day operations in the kitchen and improves service by communicating and helping the team to understand guest needs, providing guidance, feedback, and individual coaching when needed. Teaches preparation of recipes and follows up and discusses ways of improving menus and plate presentation.The Leatherman - A 'Jack of all trades', he/she understands every position in the kitchen well enough to perform duties in an employee's absence and/or decide on the right replacement to fill gaps and is able to perform additional duties as requested by the hotel management.Duncan Wales, Executive Chef at Destiny Hotel & Convention Centre by BON Hotels, says there are a few other hats - those of scientist, student, motivational speaker and hostage negotiator - he wouldn't embellish on the latter! He adds, "This industry has also taken me to very interesting places across the globe, allowing me to taste different cuisine, learn new techniques and be privy to novel and exciting trends." Head Chef Smangele Khuluse, at BON Hotel 64 on Gordon says for her the kitchen is an energetic, forward-thinking environment where anything is possible.With the advent of reality shows like MasterChef, My Kitchen Rules and Come Dine With Me, the profession continues to gain exposure and popularity - high time too that these oft-forgotten cooks, creators and collaborators are being acknowledged for their talents and hard work.Hats off to you!
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Restaurant Expansion Recipe: Creativity, Integrity and Trust

EHL · 1 October 2018
Maintaining standards during restaurant expansionAccording to EHL associate professor Marc Stierand and senior lecturer Frank Schutzendorf, it's all about hiring the right personnel and then building trust."You have to consider your creative team," says Stierand, the director of EHL's new Institute of Business Creativity (IBC). "You have to surround yourself with people who are capable and talented enough to understand what your ideas are all about."It also involves developing systems - whether for training or an organizational structure where the next generation of talent can watch and shadow a 'famous chef' like the late Joel Robuchon and learn all about their creative signature dishes. At the same time, there needs to be an organizational environment "so these creative chefs themselves don't get bored. They also want to (develop) their own signature."So it's a balancing act between the famous figure - the reason why customers go there (to a specific restaurant) and at the same time you have to foster a creative and inspiring work climate within the organization and of course that's tricky. It's not something where you can follow ten points and say, 'Okay, this is what we do.' It involves building trust, Stierand adds.In terms of organization, Schutzendorf says, four key people may be sent to operate a restaurant overseas: an executive chef, a sous chef, a sommelier and maitre d'. A restaurant expansion strategy clearly needs to develop talent but that talent can be poached as investors internationally seek to hire up-and-coming chefs. So loyalty is an important ingredient, says Schutzendorf, along with the competency and training they've acquired. "It's a quick win for any other restaurateur, taking somebody who has been flown in by a star chef - hire them and pay them more money."However, even though the offer may be interesting, young chefs should be cautious. "The facility and resources may not be there to execute the job correctly" and it may lead to an ambitious chef becoming demotivated. "Once you're out, it's very difficult to go back because by then trust has been blemished. So you have to tread carefully," Schutzendorf says.Sustaining creativity when restaurants operate overseasStierand's research has focused on creativity as he has interviewed top chefs such as Ferran Adria. Adria, while he still had elBulli on the Costa Brava in Spain, told him he worked with three or four chefs who could all be Ferran Adrias. 'They're as talented creatively as I am,' Adria had said. But the chefs knew they were in a creative 'hotspot' and didn't want to leave, because they knew that once they did, they wouldn't be able to return."Once you can establish something like this - and this does not necessarily have to do with money, it's simply that spirit you've created can't be much better than that (elsewhere)," Stierand says.When operating overseas, it may be difficult to source the right food ingredients, although certain hubs like Hong Kong and Macau can fly in food directly from Paris. So a restaurant in Doha may have to become creative and use local ingredients such as camel meat. Schutzendorf says this can reduce the risk of spending money on ingredients that local customers may not know or want. "So you have to adapt to the local environment, except again for these hubs like Macau and Hong Kong where the priority is not about profit. It's about standing out, (being) unique. And even if you don't fill the restaurant, you have a unique positioning which will potentially draw in customers.""Just look at the world of art and paintings," says Stierand. "When famous painters traveled to the Mediterranean, suddenly the colors, the lights changed. And I think this is where true creativity can happen." As for haute cuisine, "maybe you'll find it difficult to get the usual products, (so you have) to use local ingredients and do something extraordinary from those. That's true creativity.""You still need to see the creative signature, regardless of whether you use camel meat or poulet de Bresse," he adds.Overseas investors may, from time to time, approach 'star' chefs to open restaurants in their hotel or mall but it's not always a recipe that's successful. As Schutzendorf points out, the chefs will likely want to maintain control and say 'trust us because we don't operate any other way. It's either take it or leave it.'"Sometimes these Michelin-starred chefs get too stuck on their philosophy and don't adapt to the local culture. Nobody ever wants to close a restaurant ... but nevertheless a lot of restaurants fail."He cites the example of a Ducasse restaurant at the W Hotel in St Petersburg. Ducasse refused to make changes to the decor and cuisine. "At one point, Ducasse said 'no, this is my cuisine. This is how we do it.'" The restaurant eventually closed down. "It was far too early for St Petersburg. The concept was so revolutionary. There were no other hotels then. Now you have a lot of competition coming up and there is a nice food scene happening right there although the product is very scarce. But at that point in time it was too early.""Nobody ever wants to close a restaurant."Stierand believes it's better for leading chefs to be very selective and to say 'no' more often than 'yes' to proposals from investors. The chefs should think carefully whether the restaurant expansion plan fits with their creative identity and consider whether they will remain 'authentic.'At some point, the star chefs may be tempted to cash in and use their personal branding to sell supermarket products but, says Schutzendorf, integrity is an issue. "They're selling their soul. They're really selling their soul sometimes."Summing up, Stierand says the chefs have to be "absolutely in control", even if that means tensions with investors. A sustainable restaurant expansion strategy "(...) need(s) to (make) absolutely sure that (standards are maintained) even if you are not there physically." Customers, he adds, want and expect authentic cuisine.The chefs may want control of the cuisine, the team members, and even the glassware and silverware, says Schutzendorf, "because it's their reputation." However, that may lead to conflict with the investors. "The only criticism I have is that all these points are not laid out from the get-go, to say 'this is our philosophy, this is how we operate and this is our experience based on what we've done in the past and the scenarios we've lived through, because people did not meet our expectations and at one point they wanted returns on investment that were too fast. And so it gets very ugly sometimes."

Food is Never Just Food - It Always has a Narrative.' Hospitality Community Mourns Chef Ernest D. Miller

Modern Restaurant Management·26 September 2018
Ernest D. Miller, Coast Packing Company's Corporate Chef and a popular figure on the Southern California food scene, died in his sleep on Friday, Sept. 21, in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was 51. Miller, who had been called “the Huell Howser of California food," was a chef, historian, educator, consultant and speaker.

Secrets to Table Service Restaurant Growth (Infographic)

Modern Restaurant Management·25 September 2018
Just how important is customer feedback for restaurants? The team at Thanx analyzed thousands of table service restaurant customer feedback responses over the last two years and learned some very interesting things including: Your best customers matter Every customer experience counts Replying to feedback grows sales +22 percentThat last stat is powerful as who knew that simply responding to customer feedback could have an impact on your bottom line?

Sands China Launches Green Mondays as Part of New myFITNESS Initiative

green lodging news | By Glenn Hasek·24 September 2018
Sands China Ltd. is launching myFITNESS, a new initiative aimed at encouraging good habits for team members’ health, physical fitness and well-being.

Keys to a Compelling Restaurant Floorplan

Hotel Business Review by·24 September 2018
For every restaurant, large or small, the keys to a good floorplan are based on providing on the one hand, efficient paths for the server and on the other, a rich experience for the guest. Being able to balance these needs is an art that requires an understanding of both how service works and what diners expect.

Diversity must be main course, industry leader says

National Restaurant Association (NRA)·21 September 2018
In recognition of Hispanic Heritage Month, we asked Gerry Fernandez, president and CEO of the MultiCultural Foodservice & Hospitality Alliance to talk about the influence of the Latino community on the restaurant industry.

People Always Complain About That·20 September 2018
The other day I was at my hotel waiting for my client to pick me up for a meeting, I wanted a quick breakfast, so I went to the hotel’s coffee shop to pick up some oatmeal.

Hotel Food Waste is Your Business

Hotel Business Review by·17 September 2018
When hotels adopted Energy Star technologies and implemented 'Hang Your Towel' water stewardship campaigns, they saw benefits beyond achieving environmental targets. These efforts yielded a return on investment by improving efficiency. Today, hotels are presented with a new opportunity for efficiency – food efficiency – with the potential for financial, social, and environmental benefits that far outweigh implementation costs.
Article by Stuart Pallister

The Future of Food: Transparency and Traceability Are Key

EHL ·14 September 2018
What are the main trends facing restaurateurs and the food industry currently, and where is gastronomy heading? Those are some of the questions posed during a panel session at the recent Window 2 the Future conference staged by Lausanne Hospitality Consulting at Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne.The quality of produce remains ever-important but transparency - and traceability - is critical for consumers."People want to know what they eat, where it comes from, how it was made. And with what ethics it was made," said panelist Peter Rebeiz, Chairman and CEO of Caviar House & Prunier.I think today we're more into ethics than taste. So in other words, ethics comes first, taste comes second, which is a vast difference to what it was 20 years ago.He pointed out that in major cities such as London and Paris, some 40 million meals are consumed every day. "How can that be quality?" However, he added, people tend to trust brands. "As soon as there's not a brand around they start to ask all sorts of questions about how was it made, why, where, so on and so forth.""Transparency is probably the name of the game. I also do believe that whether we're retailers or restaurateurs, I think we have quite a responsibility towards consumers today, more so than 20 years ago.""Consumers are in the driving seat.""That's a big, big change. I really do believe that the food critic, such as we've known it in the last 20-30 years, is a dying species. I think that will disappear. They will be replaced by consumer (reviews)."Last year, he said, his company provided some three million meals in total, of which 72,000 were shrimp cocktails. How do you source so many shrimps? "It's not that easy. It's very important that we, as providers, come up with the right products, with the right values."However, he said, food labeling remains a 'difficult issue', adding that consumers don't understand terms such as 'bio' or 'organic' as they tend to be "overused or misused. That's why it's important to educate consumers."Food producers are largely responsible for labeling their products, but Philipp Mosimann, Managing Director of Mosimann's London, wondered whether a 'neutral entity' would be able to "define what's good and what's not."As for the future of food, prices "will just start rocketing, especially in proteins." Consumers may have to pay 100 pounds for a steak, he said, with the result that "they'll have to change their diets.""We create the concepts, we educate the consumer. I think we've a vital part to play in that," Mosimann said, highlighting a recent Commonwealth event, where meals were prepared for 900 guests with some 140 dietary requirements. "That tells you a bit about the consumer essentially and which way it's heading."Food controls are getting stricter"I see less molecular, I see (greater efforts) to understand traceability, almost classifying farms. Through a royal warrant, we have very strict controls on all the products, allergens, traceability. We're quite blessed in the UK, a rich country with regard to produce, land, air, seasonality. For us it will continue to be more and more local."Michelin-restaurateur and Managing Director of Innovative Restaurant Concepts, Patrick Willis ,highlighted the role of local farmers in France have - and will continue to have - in providing 'incredible' produce. "You spend more money as there's a cost when you want to eat quality. There's a cost when you want good products. So you have to spend a bit more. And you have to do your research. You have to know where (to buy the produce). It does cost you more to be healthy."Some supermarkets in the US such as Whole Foods are already selling 'unbelievable products with taste," he noted.With prices of fish and meat set to soar, "there's a big push from chefs for vegetarian choices.""Running restaurants is an expensive proposal. If you play the Michelin game, you find out how expensive it is, (especially for two-star and three-star restaurants). Don't expect to be a rich man. But what I see emerging are smaller restaurants that change their menus more often and do a good job.""It's all about making it affordable, making it also so that the owners can survive. When I go to the market in southern France and I see what they want to charge for turbot or langoustines, and what you'd have to charge for that in a restaurant, you don't see these items on a lot of menus. What you see is duck, chicken and cote de boeuf, so there are a lot of changes."Willis cited the example of a large restaurant in Paris which uses a central kitchen to produce 'processed' food which had resulted in the restaurant losing its local clientele, although tourists still flock there. "They did this so they could save money on kitchen staff and food, but it's an inferior product. But it's still very busy and very successful."In response, Catalin Cighi, Managing Partner of Cain Hospitality Innovation, wondered what the point was of a superior product if the consumer couldn't tell the difference anyway."That's a subject I constantly struggle with," replied Willis. "When I was growing up, everybody knew what good food was about. All of that is changing. To have to educate people about what good food is going to be a lot of (hard) work. Because everything they think of as good is all processed.""I'm not going to eat fake meat. I'm not going to eat something that tastes like meat. I'm going to eat meat. (And I want) traceability."In the next 30 years there will another three billion people on the planet, he said. Water scarcity will be an issue, as will food shortages. Processed food will be the norm.Where to invest in food?At the end of the session, the four panelists were asked what they would invest in. Willis, true to form, said he'd invest in local farmers to make sure their products go to his restaurant. "I wouldn't be looking to do a lot of covers, 50-60 people a night would make me very happy. Serving reasonable food but watching the faces of my customers happy, knowing they got value for money, knowing they had a great time and that they'll come back. And that to me is the joy; making sure that people leave happy."Cighi somewhat cheekily suggested he'd put money into synthetic biology. (Willis responded by saying he'd need to be hypnotized to eat 'fake' meat as it would be 'hard to swallow.')Rebeiz said he'd invest in the 'service element' and over-the-counter products.The most intriguing suggestion, however, perhaps came from Philipp Mosimann. He suggested that restaurant chains could produce 'healthy fast food' in the not-too-distant future: "Very soon, in the next 10-15 years, we'll see the standardization of even very high-end levels of fine-dining cuisine, which will suddenly be able to be franchised en masse, with big corporations taking that on board."The 'Window 2 the Future' event, organized by Lausanne Hospitality Consulting, was held at EHL on 30 April 2018.

How Catering to the Constantly Connected Digital Planner Can Increase Hotel Group and Event Business

iVvy ·12 September 2018
We are living in a digital era -- a realization which directly affects the way we approach our life, work and leisure. Across generations we witness the prioritization of a digital experience, a large-scale appreciation (and in most cases, demand) for the ability to remain connected 24/7, without interruption. This expectation for a modernized, refined digital experience has evolved the way we work, and the ways in which businesses connect with consumers and third parties. Within the hospitality realm specifically, prospective travelers and agents have long-since expressed a need for a seamless, time-conscious booking process. While this solution has long existed for individual flights and hotel reservations, industry professionals have been faced with a notorious gap in the booking process for groups and events.In fact, the process of booking events and meetings is largely outdated, broken and still trapped within a manual format that creates a wealth of headaches and neglected leads for planners and hotel sales managers alike. This represents a frustrating injustice to hotels and planners now, perhaps more than ever, as we continue to shift into what could be called the "experience economy". It seems that regardless of political uncertainty, austerity and inflation, consumers are spending more on experiences rather than material items. With this interest in unique experiences and events ever-increasing in the eyes of the modern guest, hotels are faced with a unique opportunity to capitalize on an influx of small, medium and large-scale events. This is music to a hotelier's ears, as they visualize years of potential revenue through means of events and group bookings.In a digital-forward world, why has the events and group venue booking process lagged so far behind? There has traditionally been a major breakdown that happens between the demand for venue space, and the answer to that demand. Why have hotels, up until this point, been largely unable to effectively streamline and automate processes to capitalize on the group booking revenue stream? Why are both sales managers and event planners constantly stuck in limbo between emails and approvals, frustrated by a system that isn't evolving to allow them to meet and exceed expectations? So the driving question becomes: What solutions exist to remedy this long-standing roadblock, to allow hotels to (finally) truly maximize on event-based revenue potential, while catering to the modern planner? It's time to give planners what they want Nothing will negatively impact your hotel's relationship with a prospective event or group quite as much as the friction created by too many barriers between the initial RFP and the final booking confirmation. This becomes especially true in the case of digital-savvy planners trying to find options for their next event or corporate meeting. Guess what they expect? A digital-savvy hotel with a seamless, time-efficient process in place to manage RFPs and qualified leads. Hotels are currently converting online group business as low as 1-2%, despite the groups and meetings segment representing over 30% of 495 billion in hospitality revenue worldwide. Much of this can be attributed to a constant barrage of mass-distributed leads, many of which are likely unqualified, that quickly overwhelm the capacity of a hotel's sales management team. With so much time being wasted simply sorting through leads to vet those which have merit, sales managers are often unable to respond to inquiries and solidify leads at a real-time pace. In fact, 2 out of 3 requests aren't answered, and if they are answered it's often in days rather than minutes or hours. Rather than engaging in a perpetual series of delayed phone calls and emails, planners should be able to access all critical information they need at a glance (before even submitting an RFP). After all, hotels offer this upfront convenience to guests looking to book rooms online, so why is it so challenging to do the same thing for group business? By making pertinent information (hotel rules, accommodation capacity, catering options, virtual tours, availability, rates etc.) available from the beginning of the booking process, hotels are empowering planners to make educated inquiries. 81% of planners note that they want availability and rates right away -- so don't hide this information from them. Booking a venue for an event shouldn't be a shot in the dark. When the RFP process is streamlined effectively to provide qualifying information right away, hotel sales managers can truly focus on the qualified leads and fast-track the confirmation process to forge a positive, profitable relationship. It's a win, win for everyone. And what is the best means to provide the information, at a glance, to prospective planners? Online. Meet them where they are doing their business (websites, third party apps, social media). After all, we should never underestimate the power of instant gratification. Whether online shopping, booking an individual flight or hotel, searching for information on Google -- we are all used to instant connectivity, responses and confirmations. And yet, booking for groups or events has (until now) remained in the dark ages so to speak. By dark ages, we mean planners literally have to chase down prospective venue information on the phone or via email, discussing and confirming all event details in what comes to a primarily manual process. Who has time for that? Definitely not the modern-day planner. Fortunately, technology is finally nudging the events segment in the right direction, as hotels (for the first time ever) can invest in group management solutions that offer planners instant, online group and event bookings. Much like booking a flight on Expedia, hotels can now utilize an integrated booking engine that provides planners with real-time availability, 3D virtual tours, packages, booking details, applicable rules, rates and the option to easily generate eRFPs. With this information at their disposal (and an easy click of a mouse) planners can better identify suitable hotels for their event, and reserve or book instantly online. Get this -- they can even pay online. With these steps summarized visually into a digital platform, readily available 24/7, hotel sales managers are free to engage with prospective planners, provide instant quotes, contracts and streamline communications through the platform with cloud-based access. Rather than constantly playing catch-up, your sales manager will feel empowered to target and genuinely engage with planners and prospective customers.This isn't just the future of event and group bookings within hotels -- this is here and now. This is the digital booking experience for the digital-savvy planner. Fast, efficient, profitable and digitalized for the modern hospitality landscape. Would you really want to have it any other way?

RIP SlideShare, It Was Good While It Lasted

MarketingProfs·Requires Registration ·10 September 2018
In 2016, SlideShare had over 70 million unique visitors per day, and it was listed by Alexa as one of the top 100 most visited websites in the world. At its peak, it was such a powerhouse that Obama used the network to post his birth certificate. It also stood for years as a premier B2B social channel: In 2015, author and marketing expert Jay Baer referred to it as "content marketing's secret weapon."

Tackling a Kitchen Closure at the Falcon Hotel

Hotel Mogel Consulting Limited · 6 September 2018
Located on the Cornwall coast of England in the picturesque port of Bude is the quaint, 32-room Falcon Hotel which includes a single three-bedroom, self-catering apartment.To get there requires a two-hour train ride plus another hour by car from London. Similar to most other seasonal seaside resort properties, the Falcon has a short window from May through October to deliver a year's worth of profitability.The owner of this property, Rupert Brendon, is perhaps the most unlikely innkeeper you'll ever meet! Not a hotelier by education or experience.The Falcon was first established in 1798 and run by the Brendon Family for most of its over-two-centuries history. In 1979, following the death of his father, Rupert's family decided to sell the hotel while retaining the 10-bedroom inn attached to the hotel, which was renamed the Brendon Arms. Rupert was safely 'retired' from a 30-year stint as a CEO of a leading advertising agency, but always hankered to reacquire the hotel and reunite the two businesses, which he, his wife, Christine, and some family members achieved in April 2016.As Rupert puts it, "I either made the biggest mistake of my life or the best deal in the history of hoteldom, as I found myself (and my family) the fifth-generation owners of a hotel and an inn on the English Riviera."By his own admission, the property he purchased needed a hefty injection of both capital and energy. Not wasting any time, initial work focused on bringing the product up to code and safety standards. Coincidentally, new techniques were introduced to the staff who enthusiastically supported this changeover.The Falcon's business mix is and has always been heavily weighted towards food and beverage, with both restaurants and catering bearing equal importance. Accordingly, in the early part of this year, a major investment was undertaken to renovate the kitchen. Work was completed just prior to the start of what was to be a glorious summer season.Then disaster struck. After just six months of operation, the kitchen extraction system overheated, allowing fumes to seep into the rooms above. While a major fire was avoided, a redesign of the kitchen along with a rebuild of an entirely new extraction system was required. This necessitated a replacement of the canopy and fire-boarding of the ceiling, not to mention the additional cleaning and retesting. The entire process from forensic fire department analysis to installation and from safety checks to restart was optimistically estimated to take four to five weeks.Rupert had lost his kitchen during peak season, though. With F&B representing 75% of the Falcon's business, offering no onsite food was not an option. It would spell both disaster for the bottom line as well as for long-term guest retention.During the first week of this snafu, the hotel provided its overnight guests with a buffet breakfast, but no daytime or evening meals, which forced these patrons to eat offsite. The Falcon's insurance adjusters wanted the kitchen back up and running as soon as possible, though, in order to reduce its claim for business losses. As such, they suggested a temporary kitchen in a marquee."We had many upcoming functions booked including three local high school proms, which once cancelled may never have returned," added Rupert. During this panic, the Falcon's senior team searched and found kitchens in trailers that were originally developed and shipped overseas during the war in Bosnia. Peter Gorton (, chef consultant to the Falcon, remarked that, "The trailer solution was made possible because the Falcon's dry goods store, walk-in fridge/freezer and a small prep area were all intact and still usable."Two days after delivery, the Falcon's F&B was operational with till register orders being printed in the kitchen. Head Chef Aaron Vanstone chimed in that, "With a kitchen half the size, we had to pare back the menu and eliminate items that were too time consuming to prepare".With an estimated downturn in F&B revenues of only 25%-35%, the sales from reduced menu still more than compensate for the rental fee of nearly PS300 per day."While less than perfect, it's impressive to see how fast we adapted," Rupert added. "We believe the costs of the mobile kitchen are fully covered by our loss of earnings insurance. A case of Murphy's Law, I guess, as we had just launched our new upscale brasserie-style menu two days earlier."While it's still too early to say for certain what the long-term impact will be, most comments from the guests have been thoroughly positive as the hotel has gone out of its way to ensure that their experience isn't compromised. One of the only issues has been that the Falcon had to place the mobile kitchen near the front entrance and not completely out of sight so that it could stay relatively close to all the other F&B operations for proper food preparation.At one point, Rupert was considering a second mobile kitchen, but the hotel lacked the space to park a second one out front, lest guests be unable to maneuver their cars, not to mention the galling sight of two trailers juxtaposed against a grand countryside hotel facade.A quick search on Google revealed numerous temporary kitchen rentals, so there is a good chance that there is a local supplier near you just in case you also find yourself in a prickly situation. But don't wait for the unthinkable to happen! Scout out what you might need, who can deliver it and how you could implement this program. You want to be prepared for any eventuality and the closure of a kitchen is definitely a crippling scenario that needs to be mapped out in advance.

How owners can optimize F&B outlet profitability Featured Articles· 4 September 2018
Use these key considerations for analyzing the true profitability of a hotel’s food-and-beverage outlet.

Do Fine Wines Still Have Their Place in Restaurant Wine Lists?

EHL · 3 September 2018
'Upscale' or gastronomic restaurants have seen many changes over the past 20 years as we have experienced the influence of social media, the globalization of cuisines, and the role of wine in the cellars and menus of restaurants. Several experts came together at Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne recently to discuss the latter issue in a roundtable session.Restaurant wine list management: four major trendsIn our view, there are four major trends that call into question the traditional way of managing a restaurant's cellar and wine list:The wine industry is becoming more and more complex and dynamic.While in the past, Bordeaux held the lion's share, it is now just one of many wine regions both in historically wine-producing countries and in the new world.Thus, Burgundy, but also Tuscany, Piedmont, Priorat, California, Mendoza, and even the Valais (and more generally Switzerland), now attract the interest of wine experts, amateurs and enthusiasts, collectors and increasingly also investors.Consumers, in general, are becoming more demanding and better informed.As Bordeaux University professor and wine economist Jean-Marie Cardebat stated during the roundtable session, they know where to get information and this in real time thanks to the many smartphone applications.They are also becoming more and more versatile in their preferences, resulting in sometimes abrupt changes in the demand and price of fine wines.Fine wines, especially the most famous ones, have appreciated at a rate well above inflation since 2000.Thus, the first growth wines from Bordeaux have gone from prices of between 80 and 200 CHF a bottle 15 years ago to a range of 400 to more than 1,000 CHF today.This trend has also resulted in price increases in wines that were once the preserve of amateurs and connoisseurs.In 2000, the Grange des Peres red (Languedoc-Roussillon), the cuvee of the Bourg de Clos Rougeard (Loire), or Chardonnay of Gantenbein (Grisons) all cost less than 50 CHF per bottle.Since then, their prices have risen by multiples of three to five.Financial pressure on restaurantsThe financial pressure on restaurants to improve their bottom line has greatly increased even though, paradoxically, this objective has become notoriously more difficult to achieve than in the past due to competition getting stronger.As one model disappears ...If we add stricter regulations on alcohol consumption and blood alcohol levels to this complex situation, it is clear that the business model that prevailed in the most prestigious restaurants of western Europe these last decades is dead.It is no longer possible (with rare exceptions) to maintain a large wine cellar with great wines and sell them with a margin of four, five or even six times the purchase price.In this context, it is therefore not surprising to find that more and more restaurants are working without a dedicated sommelier, with a short wine list in close collaboration with wine merchants, and a steady stream of varying references - often as part of 'wine of the month' offerings. As wine is a key element of the customer's experience in an upmarket restaurant, it is obvious that such solutions fail to deal with the issues.... A new model appears.Another solution is emerging, however. It is still in its infancy and has its share of practical difficulties. This is similar to the 'asset-light' approach which has driven the hotel sector since 1990. In the hotel industry, this approach has resulted in the disinvestment of historic hotel groups from their properties, which are now managed by independent entities specializing in hotel real estate, with a new-found focus on the management of hotels and its related services.In the world of restaurants, we are seeing the emergence of services which allow restaurants to operate with reduced cellars, while still offering wine lists likely to appeal to a range of consumer profiles.During the roundtable session, Vino e Finanza wine consultant Christian Roger outlined the development of sales depots, often managed by winemakers, which offer restaurateurs access to a vast stock of wines, or the role of investment funds that "can bring wines to their perfect maturity", thus allowing restaurant owners to avoid tying up considerable amounts of money, while letting them buy vintage premier cru or first growth wines at market prices.The benefits of these innovative asset-light approaches are obvious.First, less capital is tied up in the cellar.In addition to reducing financial risks, EHL senior lecturer Rene Roger observed that it allows restaurateurs to operate with lower margins and potentially be able to sell more bottles."For restaurateurs, the wine list is the last of their worries," he told the session. "It's very easy to select the wine and it's very easy to use a markup. Take any wine list, you'll notice that most of the sommeliers are using a markup of three." This margin can be broken down into three components: the initial cost of purchasing a bottle; overheads such as storage, insurance, service, etc.; and net profit margin. "This is wrong. We should pay attention to how much the client expects to pay in a restaurant," he added.In addition, these approaches allow restaurants to maintain a wide selection of wines so that wine lists can vary according to consumer preferences. Professor Cardebat also notes that these approaches can coexist with the traditional approach, as they can narrow the gap between more established restaurants, which have witnessed the golden years, and newcomers.Of course, these approaches also have disadvantages. Outsourcing an important task such as cellar management is not trivial. According to agency theory, this amounts to introducing an agent to whom the principal (the owner/manager of the restaurant) delegates certain tasks, which can lead to conflicts of interest and costs.The main obstacle, however, is probably the sharing of margins between restaurant owners and the companies to which the management of the winery is subcontracted.In addition, the role of the sommelier remains unresolved: Rene Roger emphasizes the importance of offering real added-value to consumers, something that French chef Bernard Loiseau understood perfectly well, as he had both very fine wines on his wine list and unique wines from unknown small producers.A new business opportunity?The advantages of outsourcing part of the cellar management then could be curtailed somewhat due to practical difficulties. Here again, the evolution of the hotel industry could point to a potential solution as the focus on the core business of hotel groups has been accompanied by the creation of a new business, the 'hotel asset manager' whose role is to align the interests of hotel owners and operators.In the context of the restaurant industry, it is possible to imagine the emergence of a 'wine cellar manager' with the triple role of adviser (especially for the creation of the wine list), educator (for the sommelier) and manager of the relationship between restaurant owners and their wine subcontractors.The roundtable discussion on Managing Restaurant Wine Lists and Cellars in 2018 was held at EHL in Switzerland on May 14th, 2018 as part of the 2nd Wine & Hospitality Management Workshop.

Celebrity Chefs: Are They Worth It?

EHL · 3 September 2018
Celebrity chefs are 'very expensive' but they can bring instant brand recognition to your hotel restaurant. That was the general consensus among panelists at the F&B breakout session at the International Hotel Investment Forum held recently in Berlin.Celebrity chefs: a recipe for success?Moderator Sophie Perret , director of HVS in London, raised the issue of celebrity chefs during the session, saying that some in the industry still feel it's a 'recipe for success'. Jon Yantin , Managing Partner - EMEA of F&B advisory firm Hospitality House, said the chef is not irrelevant but "if anyone thinks Gordon Ramsey cooked their steak, he wasn't there."It's naive to believe Gordon Ramsey is cooking your food ... but the chef has become the brand. That's the really important piece.Yantin stressed that the hotel owner or operator's vision of how to use a particular space is more important than the concept. But he said, he was agnostic as to whether a celebrity chef should be brought in or the restaurant should serve pizzas.Singling out another celebrity chef, Yantin said Jason Atherton had taken a 'portfolio approach' with his teams. "Again, most people don't expect Jason Atherton is grilling their seabream, so it has moved on correctly where it's not about the chefs themselves, it's about the concept around that chef, the vision that the chef brings."Is it right to say no celebrity chefs? I don't agree with that. There are good examples in the marketplace now, where it's not about the person, it's about the vision they've created and the style they bring.Hoteliers have the opportunity to create their own celebrity chefsAnother panelist, restaurant designer and operator Bob Puccini, CEO of The Puccini Group, spoke about how he opened Wolfgang Puck's first restaurants in Los Angeles and San Francisco in 1989. "We did about 12 million dollars a year which was a lot of money in those days - and it's not so bad even today. When that restaurant dropped to about eight or nine million, which it started to do in the mid-90s, it would almost get to the point of losing money because it's very expensive to work with celebrity chefs."He added that his group has converted many restaurants that have failed and he advocated that hoteliers should create their own celebrity chef through marketing.It takes a little bit of time but you can create your own brand around a chef with personality who cooks well. The mistake hoteliers make is thinking about the restaurant as the hub of the hotel. Think of them as the hub of the community because if they're not that, they'll never ever be successful."There's one hotel here in town that we've talked to about renovating because they were losing a million euros a year with a two-star Michelin restaurant. That's a lot of money to pay for the privilege of having somebody cook food that's just an exposition of technique. So my feeling is you're much better off doing an upper-middle class restaurant that's popular, that people will come in, and serve your community as well as the guests in your hotel."Accor is a major proponent of the hotel as a community hub and its group CEO of F&B, Amir Nahai, told the IHIF breakout session that hoteliers should think and invest like restaurateurs when thinking about the community at large.Watch the video: What Does Innovation Mean in Food and Beverage?AccorHotels' CEO of Global F&B, Amir Nahai told a recent panel discussion at Ecole hoteliere de Lausanne that, for the hotel group, innovation is all about getting closer to their customers.Creating strategic alliances with celebrity chefsA fourth panelist, Mps Puri, the chief executive of Nira Hotels and Resorts, said it's sometimes easier to bring in a celebrity chef as hotels could form "a strategic brand alliance."You're aligning yourself with somebody else that's a brand so it lends value to your brand or to what you're doing. Secondly, you don't have to worry about it because they'll bring the team and put the thing together."But when you do it yourself, you really need to have very strong food, bar, wine, and service cultures, and if you've got entertainment, a sincere entertainment culture. And oftentimes that's where things don't go perfectly but that's what needs to happen." He added that he himself is involved with an independent restaurant in London that does half a million pounds a week. "But it has a very strong culture and that's what is required in order to do it successfully."The session came in the wake of the news that celebrity TV chef Jamie Oliver had had to close down some of his Italian restaurants. "I feel for anyone that's struggling with a business," Yantin told Hospitality Insights, "but if you look at the fallout in the UK, it's not just Jamie Oliver, it's Prezzo and Byron."Italian-themed restaurant chain Prezzo and burger chain Byron are closing a third of their outlets, the Financial Times has reported, while Jamie's Italian has announced it is closing 12 of its restaurants under a company voluntary agreement or CVA."Is Jamie's Italian as relevant as it could or should be? Is the price point correct? Is the wider experience strong? You've got to be on point because there's so much competition coming through and consumers aren't stupid."The cost of working with celebrity chefsAlso on the sidelines of the IHIF, Puccini told Hospitality Insights that although it may make sense to bring in a celebrity chef initially to attract customers on the strength of their personal branding, investors pay a premium for their personal branding and the extra costs in terms of labor to maintain their reputation can be high."That's great for the start but it really can dwindle off relatively quickly because they're hardly ever there. So their visibility is low. And if the restaurant, for whatever reason, doesn't come together properly, they're going to fail just about as quickly as anybody else."His advice?Find chefs that have personality and promote them because, within a small trade area, it's relatively easy to create a reputation around a chef if he's willing to be out there in front of the public and become a personality himself.

Profitable Ploys for Impressing Group Event Planners

mycloud HOSPITALITY· 2 September 2018
If you’re like me, you’ve witnessed the decline of the banquet and catering business in the last several years. Companies have either tightened up their belts or found new, innovative ways to educate, strategize, and celebrate with their associates in-house or remotely via advancing technology. This, of course, is bad news for hospitality venues who charge a premium for meals, breaks, and room rentals, not to mention the service charges and event fees.


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