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Hotel Restaurants: Let Me Upgrade You

MPI Toronto On October 31, 2016

by: â€‹Ioanna Antonopoulos, Group Sales Manager,, Instagram: giannaki88, Facebook: Ioanna Antonopoulos

Working in the hospitality and meetings industry, we can all agree that the guest room or banquet space is usually your first priority when booking a hotel. The hotel restaurant generally falls somewhere down the list of nice-to-haves and is often not even visited during one’s stay.

Over the years, hotel restaurants have gotten the bad rap of being tagged as “overpriced,” “underwhelming” and “without life.” This has developed a preconceived notion for hotel guests to avoid the on-site restaurant. I was guilty of regularly passing over the hotel restaurant in search of “hotter” restaurants in the cities I visited. But this is all changing! Hotels across the country have brought restaurants to the forefront of their guest experience, creating unique dining experiences that rival the top restaurants in town.

Here are some of the key elements in creating a successful “hotel restaurant” used by many hotels today to fight this perception:

1.    Attract the Locals:
The restaurant business is definitely not an easy one. Due to extreme competition, the introduction of tech-driven food delivery and the increasing health-conscious tendency to avoid eating out altogether, restaurant owners face some scary stats right off the bat: Around 60 percent of new restaurants fail within the first year. And nearly 80 percent shut before their fifth anniversary. Whoa. Though hotel restaurants have the advantage of location, they too have no choice but to compete in order to survive. Therefore, they have to attract locals and not simply rely on seasonal hotel clientele. Creating a local hotspot will create buzz and in turn attract even more hotel guests.

2.    Create “Accessible Fine Dining”: 
The restaurant scene has changed. Restaurants that only cater to special occasions and very fine dining often fail to stay competitive. Tablecloths are out and herb walls are in! The same restaurant must cater to: a business dinner, your father’s 60th birthday and a girls’ night out.

Herb Wall at Maggie Oakes, restaurant at the new Hotel William Gray, featuring Chef Derek Bocking, former Top Chef Canada contestant.

3.    Concept. Concept. Concept.
Food is not the only factor in a successful restaurant anymore. Ambience, décor, music, and the “Instagramableness” of a restaurant are now also key elements. And then there is of course the chef.  Chefs are now celebrities. They are an integral part to any new concept and restaurant owners want dynamic, passionate and creative chefs to add to their team.

To be successful in 2016, hotels have to ensure their on-site restaurant is on trend and ready to compete.

Bon Appétit!   



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