Make no mistake, food matters and it matters big time; your hotel food and beverage strategy needs to be thoughtful, flexible, and innovative, but with a handful of pixie dust mixed in. Even before the critical roller coaster ride of 2020, resort F&B was experiencing important changes. It is no longer about oversized all-day dining establishments plus a couple of specialty restaurants. Now food and beverage facilities need to be chameleon-like in their design, themes, menus, and even chefs, as consumer tastes and preferences shift.
Your resort hotel food and beverage offer needs to pack a punch in terms of its quality and diversity. Your overall strategy can’t be merely to provide your guests with sustenance. You need to give them an experience or, preferably, multiple distinct experiences.
Offering healthy and/or organic menus – whether as a complement to other food or as an overall hotel food and beverage philosophy – is now almost expected. And the hyper-localisation trend means boasting about your backyard larder and local supplier base will win you fans. But it’s not just a hotel marketing plan or ploy. Sustainable practices in all your operating departments is increasingly expected by your client base.
It cannot be denied that 2020 was an extreme year throughout the resort world, but Covid had an especially harsh impact on hotel food and beverage operations. Hoteliers followed the rules with social distancing, struggling to create atmosphere even as covers were radically reduced. Menus were truncated to control costs as levels of demand became harder to predict. Even the most renowned venues struggled to keep their magic in place while grappling with rules, regulations, hand sanitizer, and masks.
But as we emerge out of Covid in 2021, it’s time to recapture the magic. Take this as an opportunity to reinvent your resort or hotel food and beverage offer and refocus on what your customers want from their resort meal experiences. Existing resorts needs to look at their current spaces with a critical eye, and new hotel development needs to introduce innovative concepts anchored by a healthy lifestyle, but with adaptability and a lot of wow factor.
Muriel Muirden is the former Head of Strategy at design firm WATG. She has now returned to Scotland, but remains active in the boutique resort sector.