Create a tasteful and practical F&B program that your guests will crave and will leave them with a lasting brand impression! As you develop your new concept or place updates to an existing concept, there are some key points to consider:
1. Choose A Concept That Compliments Your Hotel.
Because the needs of a full-service restaurant with room service and to-go options are very different from those programs with a more bistro or café dining experience, Account Director Linda Anderson notes that it’s important to understand the F&B program’s ultimate goal within the brand, and then from there, the use of the program’s items. For example, a café may need to grab the attention of guests on-the-go, so packaging and consumables need to use the accent colors and clever messaging that reinforces the brand values and connects even a bottle of water to the hotel. A full service restaurant, on the other hand, can use more subtle connections to the hotel. Diners have time to gather experiences so even subtle branding, like a thicker napkin, or magnetic check holder can form valuable brand associations.
“Dining is one the few times that all of your senses can be engaged,” says Kelly O’Dwyer, director of market development. “Your concept should really showcase your brand because it’s an experience that totally immerses your guest.”
2. Be Mindful Of Your Local Customers And Competition.
When occupancy is low, local traffic can help your revenue. Choose a concept that is unique enough to spark the interests of local diners by creating a dining experience and a menu that locals will enjoy just as much as your guests. With this in mind, prepare for a variety of diners–local and visiting, families and professionals. “There will be children at some point,” O’Dwyer says. “If you don’t plan for them, it could be off-putting for families.” Simply having activities and food options can help accommodate, while more thoughtful amenities, like branded cups and straws or child-appropriate tableware, may also be considered, depending on the targeted demographic.
3. Stay Within Budget.
After furniture and equipment, menu covers can eat much of an F&B budget. Because menus are intimate to the dining experience, Anderson recommends budgeting about $50 per menu, keeping in mind that because the menu often doesn’t stay at the table during the dining experience, restaurants can often have enough menus for 60 percent of their tables.
Since menu covers can be costly, Anderson says it’s important to consider the restaurant’s environment — how much wear and use they will get from customers and wait-staff — when choosing the design.
“This could cause an affordable menu to become expensive because it will have to be replaced frequently,” Anderson says.
To lessen future costs restaurants increasingly choose to print menus on-site with covers that simplify changing out lunch and dinner menus. Another way to manage costs of a new or updated program is to roll long-term menu expenses into capital expenditures – you don’t have to pay for new menus all at once. Your hospitality printer can make additional material and production recommendations to support your program concept and keep your expenses in check.
4. Keep A Consistent Concept.
From menu covers and menu papers to table settings and consumables, it’s important to choose materials and finishes that match your overall concept.To do so, contemplate what items will be needed. In the restaurant itself, menus, check holders, and paper consumables, all present opportunities to create tactile and visual experiences.
“Keeping your concept consistent throughout all touch-points, from seating to check presentation, helps to ensure your F&B program is a collection of unified pieces that compliment one another and support the overall brand experience,” O’Dwyer says.
In-room dining menus, breakfast door hangers, posters, window clings, and food packaging may be seen as a stand-alone item, but should still visually connect with the restaurant’s concept to help improve guests’ awareness of your food offerings. Involving a hospitality partner experienced in the development of F&B programs can help to ensure that your concept is carried out through all aspects of the program. The consistency achieved with a well planned program will build brand equity by making the property’s restaurant(s) and cafe(s) instantly recognizable.
5. Brand Beyond Your Logo.
While consumables such as to-go cups or coffee cup sleeves can wield your logo and carry your brand behind the property, other items used on-site may represent your brand more tastefully without the logo. Use the brand’s color scheme or patterns to guide paper selection and décor to reinforce the brand’s image without overusing the logo, Anderson suggests. Even just improving an item’s quality can represent a brand just as well, and in some cases better, than a logo. Selective merchandise, such as a popular herb or drink mix used in the hotel restaurant, can also support the F&B program and overall brand.
“Tie the merchandise back to the concept of your restaurant as much as possible,” O’Dwyer recommends.