Published on 5 March 2012

F&B for Boutique and Independent Hotels

Hotels are “upping their game” when it comes to F&B,and hoteliers in the boutique and independent sectors have realised that the quality of their F&B operation can make or break the business. Indeed, 80% of newcomers to this year’s Harden’s list of the top 40 restaurants that diners are talking about were hotel restaurants. Phil Benson digests the issue.

The positive customer impact that can be created by a hotel’s F&B operation is sometimes referred to as the ‘halo effect’. This is an important area for any business because F&B can influence how guests perceive a hotel’s market position … either positively or negatively.

Unfortunately, some hoteliers consider the F&B process as a ‘necessary evil’ because in smaller operations it can yield less revenue than other areas. However, the negative impact that a poor F&B operation can have to the reputation of a hotel should not be underestimated.

Boutique and Independent Hotels: F&B Essential

With more independent and boutique hotels popping up in cities across the UK, one of the most critical elements that needs to be considered is planning the best way to make the most of the retail bar and restaurant.

Developing a restaurant model to ensure it provides a positive impact to guests is crucial for any hotel, but it also allows managers to reinforce a hotel’s place in the market as an authentic, independent, boutique hotel.

Hotel La Tour

Getting advice from professionals within the F&B industry can be of paramount importance and this is evident from the decision made by the new £24 million Hotel La Tour to appoint Michelin-starred chef Marcus Wareing in a consulting role.

The 174-bedroom hotel, which is due to open in Birmingham later this month, has asked Wareing to devise the menus and assist in the recruitment process of a 12-strong team for its 80-seat Aalto restaurant, bar and coffee shop. The restaurant will be brasserie-style and serve classic English dishes with a modern twist.

Hotel La Tour’s new head chef will be Alex Penhaligon, who spent seventeen-years with Marriott Hotels and was recently executive head chef at the Waltham Abbey Marriott. He will take up his post at the new four-star hotel, which will be situated in the City Park Gate district of Birmingham.

The food that is set to be served in the hotel’s new restaurant will be similar to that served by Marcus Wareing at The Gilbert Scott, which he opened in 2011, rather than The Berkley where he is Chef Patron.

Hotel La Tour’s managing director, Jane Schofield is delighted to have Wareing on board, describing him as the ‘perfect partner’. She said, “We’re very proud that one of the brightest stars in British cooking has chosen to work with us. Marcus is well known for his dedicated and perfectionist approach to cooking and hospitality”.

A hotel does not have to be 4-star or have extravagant items on a menu for hotelier’s to understand how an F&B operation can either enhance or damage the reputation and market standing of a business. It is not only overnight guests that will use the facility, but developing an effective, efficient and unique food and beverage outlet will also help to make it become a destination that will attract the local market too.

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