Does your hospitality properties have a great hotel restaurant? You might think you have a great restaurant but without good local patronage how do you know for sure.
Welcome to another addition of hospitality property school. Today’s question is “Is your hotel restaurant meeting its potential?”
If you have a restaurant and you’re only catering to your hotel guests, then you’re leaving money on the table.
You might believe you have a very good hotel restaurant, in fact, you might believe you have a great restaurant but without good local patronage how would you know for sure.
Hotel restaurants are normally not on the radar of potential customers were looking for a place to eat. Traditionally, hotel restaurants have a difficult time attracting locals. So what can you do to improve your chances?
I’m going to share some ideas that have worked with many hospitality properties.
- Consider trying a new name, identity and theme for your restaurant, and promote it to the local market separately from the hotel.
- Use social media and the local press to market your restaurant. You can contact journalists from local publications and invite them for a meal on the house in return for a review.
- Set up a competition in the local press and online, with a prize of a meal for four with wine. The contest will cost very little and if done right can be very effective.
- Offer a choice of menus; for families and vegetarian options.
- Highlight what makes you stand apart from you competitors, other restaurants. (Is it better service, bar and lounge areas to relax before and after a meal, space for kids to run around, easy parking, a rural getaway).
- Create a separate website for your restaurant.
- Be sure your restaurant is listed in the local tourist & travel guides.
- A great way to keep both your staff and customers excited is to offer menus that are seasonal and that are changed regularly.
- Use local suppliers and declare this in detail on your menu, your website and any marketing you do. Local suppliers will support you by advertising you verbally.
- Make sure all local hotels have your menus and it would also be very useful to invite the head concierge or front desk receptionists for a free meal. We talked about cross-promoting earlier and know they will be more likely to recommend your restaurant to their hotel guests if they can talk from a first-hand experience.
- Get your local businesses involved. Contact and invite the local business associations in for a familiarisation dinner. Offer a time-limited discounts to two or three of the largest nearby employers. This could be a 20% discount to their employees, which they could promote in-house and by putting a time limit on the discount, you encourage people to use it sooner rather than later.
- You could offer theme nights, music events, wine weekends and private special events.
- Make sure each guest receives a warm welcome and that you and your employees go the extra mile to make it a great experience.
- Ask for your customer’s opinions. Talk with them and make feedback cards available.
- Make sure to incorporate a method to gather all new customer data information such as e-mail addresses and add them to your newsletter list. Newsletters could be a monthly news/recipe/events letter.
- Market your restaurant as a destination and attract foodies who are looking for a weekend away and offer reduced room rates for diners who stay over.
- Offer gift certificates to local charities, school or social events. This can work well for your branding.
- Make your restaurant is easy to find. Good well-illuminated signage and easy to find parking is important if you don’t want your potential customers to get lost or frustrated and find one of your competitors instead.
- Make sure you have an organisational strategy in place and that everyone knows exactly what their duties are.
You have to live up to your promise – there is no sense in trying any of the strategies I have mentioned if the quality or service is going to be subpar. I had mentioned before that a restaurant inspector I know told me the first two things he looks for is whether the toilet is clean and the lettuce is fresh.
Last word of advice:
Don’t try to be everything to everyone, find what you’re great at and do it to the best of your ability.
Whenever I see a hospitality property restaurant or dining area and hear it is empty most of the day, I see revenue floating out the window.
Making your hospitality property restaurant accessible to the local market is a wonderful way to garner an additional revenue stream but a way to offset profit losses during the low season.
I know I am leaving you with lots to digest.
If you have any interesting stories about your hotel restaurant and would like to share or have any questions or feedback you can leave them in the comments section of the show notes at.
That’s it for this session of hospitality property school.
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So, as always, let’s work together to put heads in your beds.
Until next time, have a fun day.
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