Faced with rigid competition from fancy standalone restaurants, five-star hotels are overhauling their food & beverage (F&B) units to stay in the game. With celebrity chefs increasingly launching their own ventures, more foreign upmarket brands exploring tie-ups and restaurateurs expanding their labels in hip areas, five-star hotels have to get innovative too.Historically, room tariffs drove the revenues of five-star hotels, but times have changed. F&B’s contribution has risen significantly, and for some luxurious brands, it almost equals the room earnings.
Chain hotels have realised that though occupied rooms boost F&B revenues with guests ordering meals in rooms, grabbing a drink in the bar or attending the banquet on the final night of a convention, more income could be generated through walk-in guests at their glamorous restaurants. “With growing F&B market and guest demands there is huge supply of restaurant chains coming up which are competing with the fine dining restaurants which are in-house in a star category hotel. As a chef, I feel the restaurants which are in the hotels have an edge above the standalone restaurants,” shared Tanuj Nayyar, Executive Chef, Jaypee Residency Manor, Mussoorie.
On the other hand expert also feels that getting a quality learning and work atmosphere in terms of food is a challenge for the standalone restaurants. “Most of the people prefer working in a hotel where they get a better exposure and quality learning,” he added.
Although the hotel F&B has the best resources available for them ranging from HR to housekeeping, engineering, purchasing, etc. and still they find it challenging to bring business while on the other hand the restaurateurs are responsible for everything from ordering to receiving, making monthly press releases, marketing, etc. and they are thriving mostly if not all.
According to Celebrity Chef Harpal Singh Sokhi, “Star hotel restaurants always have an advantage of captive audience within the hotel; they can up the price of menu items, carry manpower advantages. They also have the advantages of getting international support from other hotels in terms of manpower and knowledge exchange.”
Also, nowadays there is a sudden shift of eating preferences that can be noticed in the middle-class. With the increase in the disposable income, the tendency to move out and spend more is increasing among the middle-class group. Throwing some more light on it, Sujeet Singh, Executive Chef, Radisson Noida sector 55 said, “Nowadays even middle class families have started going to five star hotels for their meals. With so many online deals available, these meals do not seem as expensive as they are otherwise. Also due to competition among food joints, the rates of star hotels are not that exorbitant.”
“There is no doubt that with F&B outlets opening day by day in the outer market there is competition, but simultaneously it is an opportunity for us to maintain our quality, and if we maintain our quality, we can retain our guest. Also when there is competition you have to be on your toes and be ready for changes with due course of time,” adds Singh.
To play around with the concepts and innovations, five Star hotels can gain a lot from standalone restaurants. Though five stars do have some advantages, but they will have to create an atmosphere where talent is allowed to thrive. In conclusion, people want good food with innovation and affordability. The line between the standalone and hotel restaurants is thus getting thinner and thinner. It should be Good Food!! All that matters today.