2006-10-27 The Dorn Group Hospitality Newsletter
1. Food & Beverage -- When Did
You Last Revamp Your Menu?
2. Customer Service -- Does your
property offer the WOW factor?
3. "Hotel Interactive"
Increase Your Business 1 Neighborhood at a Time.
Food & Beverage -- When Did You Last Revamp Your
On a recent visit to a Country Club, I noticed a beautiful
menu. It was elegant, artsy and eye catching. A menu any manager
would be proud of
except it was laminated. So being
the nosy consultant I asked about it and was told member's
loved it. When asked how often it was changed, the manager
told me, "the members love it and I don't want to change
it because it was so expensive to produce." It was everything
I could do to keep my mouth shut
There is probably no more difficult task then figuring out
what your guests want to eat. A small suggestion is in order.
Start slowly. Change is hard for everyone, for your employees,
your guests and for your purveyors. So figure out where you
want to go, how long you want to take getting there and develop
your own Strategic Plan. You know your guests and your
employees. You know what they want and what they can handle.
Planning for these changes can be so gradual it is not even
noticed. If you decide the entrée portion of your menu
is outdated, begin running specials utilizing new items and
methods. As they are accepted, slowly integrate them into
your program. If your menu had a dozen entrees and you change
1 or two a week, a complete change can occur in less then
two months. The great benefit in doing it this way is the
ability to change at your pace. If an item is a dud, take
it off, if prices soar on the center-of-the-plate item, take
it off or re-price it. In this day of computers, there is
no reason to have an out of date menu.
While emphasis on food is obvious, do not forget your beverage
program. How long have you served the house wine? Do you buy
it because of price or quality? If your answer is price, you've
made a huge mistake. House wine is often the first bit of
food or beverage tasted by a guest. If the $2.00 Chateau Garbage
is how you want them to remember your establishment, so be
it. I'd rather them remember how good it is.
According to Marriott Hotels F&B executives Robin Uler,
senior vice president of food & beverage, spas and retail
services, and Brad Nelson, vice president of culinary and
corporate chef for Washington-based Marriott
International, the 10 top trends are:
- Back to basics and sized to order. Guests are looking
for great food served with friendly, professional care in
a "buzzing" contemporary environment that offers
a "sense of place.
- Breakfast is back. Diners are starting the day
off with eggs cooked to order, and healthy options that
have "good carbs" yet are low in fat and high
in both protein and nutrition.
- In good company. Communal tables continue to grow
in popularity, even going the next step to the "gathering
- Kitchen meets bar. With the advent of more premium
spirits on the market and the push for evermore creative
cocktails, the pairing of food and spirit in one will be
on the menu.
- Healthy--not diet-food. Diners are seeking healthy
options on menus.
- Soft, comfortable, hip. The pendulum will start
swinging away from the very angular, overly retro or stark
look of many dining rooms in favor of a softer and more
- There's always room for ... Strongly flavored gel
squares and desserts made with gelatin sheets and fresh
purees are popping up on menus.
- High on heritage. Foods from Scandinavia and Eastern
Europe--cured salmon, goulash, stuffed cabbage and the like--will
make an appearance but with a contemporary twist.
- Non-'engineered' product. Diners will be looking
for a more "natural" product.
- Try a taste. We taste while shopping in the market,
so why not when dining?
While you may not agree with all of the trends above, it
has to get you thinking
Food and Beverage trends are
difficult to keep up with but in an attempt to help you, we've
developed a short list of resources for you to use to see
what is going on.
Print - Magazines and Newspapers
- Art Culinaire Magazine
- Bon Appétit
- Restaurant and Institutions Magazine (Free)
- Food Arts (Free)
- Food and Wine
- Gourmet Magazine
- Restaurant Business (Free)
- Restaurant Hospitality (Free)
- Nation's Restaurant News
- Santé (Free)
- Hotel F&B Executive (Free)
- Nightclub and Bar Magazine (Free)
- All About Beer Magazine
- Wine Spectator
- The Wine Enthusiast
- Local Newspapers
Internet - By no means a complete list, but somewhere
Please feel free to pass this list on to your staff. We'd
love to make this the most comprehensive list available. Please
e-mail us, firstname.lastname@example.org,
with any resources you know and we'll add them to the list.
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Customer Service - Does your property offer the WOW factor?
In our last issue, we wrote about the changing environment
at Ritz Carlton
Hotels. Gone are the 20 "Rules" replaced by
the "12 Service Values", a less rigid set of guidelines
designed to be more appropriate for today's style of guests.
As soon as many of our readers had the opportunity to digest
the article, emails and calls came flying in. Most of the
comments were negative and thought Ritz was making a mistake.
One reader went as far so to call the change, "the Marriottization
of Ritz Carlton" It's all about staying relevant in a
space that has changed dramatically in the last 20 years,"
says Simon Cooper, Ritz's president and chief operating officer.
"Ritz-Carlton has the best and most recognized luxury
brand names in the world, and we need to focus on 'relevant
luxury.' "Only time will tell
What separates the hospitality industry from others? Danny
Meyer, restaurant extraordinaire (Union Square Café,
Blue Smoke, Gramercy Tavern, Tabla and others in New York
City) writes in his new book "Setting the Table"
about the restaurant business Meyer says, "And the purpose
of all this is a product that provides pleasure and that people
trust is safe to ingest into their bodies. Also, unlike any
other manufacturer, you are actually present while the goods
are being consumed and experienced, so that you can gauge
your customer's reactions in real time."
How many people in our business have forgotten it's still
all about the hotel room, the food quality and the service?
Are the sheets soft enough, the pillow firm enough? Is the
menu what the guests want at a price they are willing to pay?
It's time to get back to basics. Provide a quality product
at a reasonable price. If you are going to serve a prix fixe
menu, do not price it at $100 if your average diner spends
$25 for dinner. He or she will not spend the money! If the
average rate of your hotel is twice the competition's price
and you both offer the same product, you are going to lose
business to the other guy Guest's will pay for loyalty only
to a certain point.
What separates the good from the bad or the mediocre from
the outstanding? Great Service! We've all had those experiences
call it the WOW factor. We walked out saying, WOW, the experience
was amazing. After you digest the experience you go back or
tell others about it. It's the best advertising you can do,
it costs nothing extra.
Ever been to Per Se in New York? A group of five of us walked
in one night at 9:35 pm for a 9:45 pm reservation. We had
waited two months for the reservation. As soon as we walked
in, the well dressed hostess looked up, smiled and said, "You
must be my 9:45 Dorn party." She knew who was due in
and she capitalized on it. She welcomed us as if it were her
home using our name and the remainder of the evening continued
on the same level.
Does your property offer the WOW factor? Do your employees
know how far they can go to please a guest? If you are interested
in seeing what it would take to bring your property to the
next level, please contact Charles Dorn, CCM, Managing Director
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"Hotel Interactive" Increase Your Business
1 Neighborhood at a Time.
The article below shows an attempt to try and find business
from non-traditional sources. Niche marketing is not done
by many operators because of the mistaken belief it does not
pay and could be costly. With the advent of the internet and
email, the costs of this marketing attempt and others have
dropped significantly and can be tried for little upfront
money. In this particular case, hoteliers and restaurateurs
are tapping local markets and acknowledging frequent users.
Why not try it in your operation?
Increase Your Business, One Neighbor at a Time
By Francine Cohen
Billy Joel sang about folks who like to get away and take
a holiday from the neighborhood, but some big city hoteliers
are enticing their neighbors to stick close to home. Clever
hotel managers are reaching the local market with creative
brand building and loyalty programs, which are filling rooms
and restaurant seats during slow periods. These unique ideas
position the hotels as the place in town for meetings, quick
getaways and a place to stash the relatives.
Down in the nation's capital, DC residents welcome visitors
to town, but frequently have nowhere to put them. Kimpton
solves that dilemma with the "Get Out of My Apartment"
rate. In November, door hangers announcing the special pricing
will begin appearing in nearby apartment buildings, just before
relatives descend en masse. At the seven downtown Kimpton
properties, various marketing tools are used to keep the hotels
top of mind.
Paige Dunn, Regional Director of Sales & Marketing Kimpton
Hotels, East Coast notes there are plenty of opportunities
to serve locals when it comes to social events, business meetings
and more, "The biggest feeder market in DC is DC itself.
It makes sense, from a business standpoint, to support the
community and we do love our neighbors and want them to think
of us first." To make sure that happens Dunn and her
staff connect with residential and commercial building concierges
to increase awareness through special offers for residents.
These include invitations to wine hour in the lobby, test
meals at new hotel restaurants, and a special local's only
room rate discount that is cross promoted at the restaurant.
Kimpton also pairs with local charities.
Charitably sharing the local discount with the in-laws definitely
minimizes the guilt of putting them up in a hotel, not spending
the holidays in the same city might even be better! That's
the spirit that inspired Omni Hotels "Run From the Relatives"
program. At any of the five Omni Hotels in San Diego, Los
Angeles, San Francisco, Tucson and Boulder it's easy to escape
annual family drama by checking in (under an assumed name
like celebrities do) and taking advantage of the package that
includes a list of amusing excuses (Including: "They
wouldn't let me on the plane with a fruitcake", and "I
am still recovering from last year's dreidel defeat")
and a $50 American Express gift card to send to family members
to apologize for not seeing them for the holidays.
At the holidays, and year round, local incentive programs
prove successful for hotels and their restaurants that are
also eager to build repeat business. In Las Vegas, Chef Wolfgang
Puck welcomes area residents with a program he calls "Compliments
of the Chef." Locals in the know mention their residency
when making reservations at one of five Puck restaurants (Spago
,Chinois, Lupo, Postrio, and Wolfgang Puck Bar & Grill)
and are rewarded with VIP treatment and a little something
extra (usually an appetizer or dessert). Stephanie Davis,
Director of Brand Communications, Wolfgang Puck Fine Dining
Group, noted that an ad campaign for the program had been
running in local publications and said, "We've had great
success with it."
Back in Washington, DC, Paul Ohm, Director of Operations
with the Fairmont Washington D.C. was looking for a way to
capture revenue during quieter periods and launched the "Neighborhood
Card" in April. Membership is extended to individuals
who reside in the hotel's West End neighborhood; already 75
people have signed up for the program that includes a 10 %
discount on guestrooms and a 10 % discount on breakfast lunch
or dinner for four at the Juniper Restaurant, and Sunday Champagne
Brunch in the Colonnade. Members get e-mail blasts with advance
news on special holiday meals, on-going promotions and notices
of the hotel's special events, like the annual Tree Lighting
Ceremony for Toys for Tots. Ohm remarks, "We're involved
in the community. It's our opportunity to be a partner and
extend something to them."
The Carlyle, A Rosewood Hotel, has been a fixture in New
York's Upper East Side community for generations. Magical
New York experiences, like sipping cocktails while Bobby Short
played piano, is part of the fabric of this neighborhood.
To remain a neighborhood favorite the hotel offers something
for young and old. Children can bring their parents to a Madeline
High Tea at Bemelmans Bar; a tea party served on Madeline-inspired
linen and china set among the renowned Madeline murals painted
for the hotel by Ludwig Bemelman. Dining without children
is also a treat at the luxurious Café Carlyle where
a prix fixe ladies lunch is offered. Diners design their meal
from any combination of two courses from the list of Appetizers,
Entrees, Plats du Jour and Desserts. The choice is endless.
When it comes to appealing to the local market there are
endlessly creative ways to reach out and never ending opportunities
to be the kind of neighbor everyone wants to sleep with.
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About the author: Charles D. Dorn, CCM and The Dorn
Group, Ltd. aid hospitality businesses in discovering and
implementing new strategies to develop their business. Are
you looking into taking your business to the next level? Contact
The Dorn Group by calling 914-921-3150 or emailing email@example.com.
Discover and implement new avenues to help your hospitality