Hotel F&B Observer Blog

Hotel food and beverage professionals share experience, skills and commentary. These hotelier blogs reflect a variety of unique career perspectives and real-life workplace stories, observations and opinions.

Accurate Beverage Management Using Technology

By Dr. Fred J. DeMicco  and Brian Liachowitz

Inventory management is an important factor in restaurants. Poorly performing inventory management often leads to inventory shrinkage and employee theft. An area that is often most susceptible to inventory shrinkage is beverage management. There are many ways that an employee can steal from a restaurant while handling alcoholic beverages. In these instances, inventory control is imperative. With emerging technologies, there are many systems that can be used to manage beverage inventory. Some of the most popular beverage management systems available to date are AccuBar, EasyBar, and Bevinco’s Bar Management Solution. These systems allow managers to holistically view the flow of inventory as it enters the restaurant up until the beverage is poured to the guest. Read more of this >>


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Tech Ideas from Students

UPDATED Creative Uses for the iWrist watch, iPhone, Google Glass, the tablet PC and iPad in Hotel F&B Operations

By Frederick J. DeMicco, Dr. Food Tech and Emmanuella Owens

Tablet PCs, including iPads are continuing to offer interesting options for our hospitality industry. About 150 million tablets are manufactured and shipped worldwide each year and this is projected to increase to at least 2017 (Statista, 2013). Now add in iWrist watches, Google Glass and we see some new opportunities in our hotel and hospitality operations.

Again we asked our capstone hospitality strategic technologies class here in the Lerner College at the University of Delaware to provide some examples of how these new technologies could be used in an F&B operation. One interesting idea that was germinated last year by the class was using the iPad as an ordering device from the table (not very new or novel these days), but the novelty was being able to view the entire preparation of your dish live via a camera in the kitchen (and see the step of the recipe in real time) from your restaurant seat as the chef prepared your menu item. We like this, as today’s consumers generally tend to be; “cuisine literate” but are “culinary illiterate” (e.g. not as “culinary savvy” in preparing menu items). So this video of the action of menu item preparation is a type of culinary education or “literacy” for the guest.

Some new visionary and creative suggestions from the UD class include the following: Read more of this >>


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Strategic Thinking for New Innovative MICE-I.T. and Implications for F & B Operations

By Frederick J. DeMicco, Dr. Food Tech and Serena Shen

Meetings, Incentive, Conventions and Expositions (MICE) provide significant revenue for the hotel, resort, and F&B operations. More and more event and conference planners are adding new technology to their venues as participants are demanding these new technological innovations for their events and venues. Previously in a past Dr. Food Tech Blog I wrote about using the Nintendo Wii for coffee breaks (the Wii break) to get attendees involved and up meeting people at the conference during a break.

I recently challenged my strategic management class here at the University of Delaware, full of “millenials,” asking what are some new innovations they would like to see in the future for MICE.  We called this hands-on team exercise in class MICE – I T.
Some suggestions from the UD strategic technologies class included the following:

Use Google Glass to translate the meeting into different languages and use facial recognition technology to connect people on LinkedIn only by looking at their faces through Google Glass. ( QinBian, Yiwen Xu, Yufei, Wang, Yunmei Bai, Nan Jiang, Teng Wang).

“Avatar Conferencing,” a completely virtual conference so that you could hold it anywhere, such as on a safari in a jungle, on top of the Empire state building, or a NYC street. Each attendee would create their own avatar. Avatars can interact with one another and attend lectures and discussions, and explore the virtual world! (Katelyn Morse, Mary Palma, Allison Hanik, Caroline Sohodski)

Mobile/Virtual kiosk ordering system that allows you to view the menu and order food from anywhere. Upon ordering, a message provides the location and time to pick-up your food. (Jessica Wincott, Schuyler Lehman, Jennifer Turowski).

GPS tracker with RFID—CRM: Attendees wear a GPS tracker that tracks what exhibits they have already attended and whether they “liked it” or not and suggests other exhibits based on the ones they have already been to. ( Rachel Borkoski, Samantha Dominguez, Stephanie Hepner, Lindsay Canell).

“MICE Trap:” Instant LinkedIn. Write a brief profile and meet other people in conferences. You can chat with them and even meet up with them. A networking opportunity while technology advances. ( Junyi Chung, Michael Diminick, Mattew Heck).

Pre-arrival: 3-D virtual tour of convention set-up and facility with information on each group sent to iPad, smart phones and emails. ( Nina Clark, Robert Serpico, Lindsay Rogers).

Audio Device and Virtual Food menu cart that plays information on a particular wine being served from the vineyard. (Alexandra Rufo, Megan Smutz, Amy Cohn, Kimberly Lindell).

Add microphones to MICE conference name badges. (Leigh Redefer, Sara Kazmierski, Jessica Rosenberg).

Virtual holograms of key note speakers available in the privacy of your home. You can also follow along with text and slides on a tablet. (Brian Prickrill, Alexander Vellios, Seth Bergman, Anne Truono).

Phone technology that allows interactive contact sharing without the use of business cards. Contact information is stored directly into your phone/tablet along with links to person’s bio/resume, business position and company’s information, automatically add them to “MICE Trap”, Facebook, Twitter, Linked-in, and all other social media connection sites. (Callie D’Ambrisi, Alexandra Giannini, Adam Cowperthwait, Stephanie Johnson).

An all-encompassing smartphone app, which can be interfaced with a phone, tablet or computer. Capabilities include:

  • Provides information on all aspects of the conference: maps, schedules, list of vendors, etc.
  • Social networking: attendees can share thoughts with one another, network, and post ideas.
  • Pre-registration and check-in.
  • Real time responses to questions during speeches.
  • All purchasing completed during conference, monitored by the App: Track trends, and order room service.

(Jean Thomae, Morgan West, Maria Trasolini, Kaitlyn Wendler).

Space Conferences: take your meeting to the moon! ( Brandon Groux, Alexander Vellions, Lauren Mitchell, Dingchao He, Julie Garafalo).

Hologram Guest Speakers: Allows having top experts and specialists and informative people speak at a lower cost. (Anam Ahmed, Justin Tansey, John Guzman).

Telecommunicator for event guests that can translate foreign languages directly into their ear bud (iPhone) or Google Glass ear piece. ( Erin Marshall, Yuchen Song, Fengming Yu, Pinyi Zhao, Nguyen Tran, Jing Zhang).

After reading these, I would enjoy hearing from you on any additions to this MICE IT list, and what you may have thought of some of the ideas above.

Thank you.  Cheers.  Fred DeMicco, Dr. Food Tech   FDeMicco@Udel.edu


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Creative Uses for the Tablet PC and iPad in Hotel F&B Operations

By Frederick J. DeMicco, Dr. Food Tech and Mike Teng

Tablet PCs, including iPads are taking our hospitality industry by storm. About 140 million tablets are manufactured and shipped worldwide each year and this is projected to increase to at least 2017 (Statista, 2013).

We recently asked our capstone hospitality strategic technologies class here in the Lerner College at the University of Delaware to provide some examples of how the tablet/iPad could be used in a F&B operation. One interesting idea that was germinated was using the iPad as an ordering device from the table (not very new or novel these days), but the novelty was being able to view the entire preparation of your dish live via a camera in the kitchen (and see the step of the recipe in real time) from your restaurant seat as the chef prepared your menu item. We like this, as today’s consumers generally tend to be “culinary literate” but not as “culinary savvy” (in preparing menu items). So this video of the action of menu item preparation is a type of culinary education for the guest. Read more of this >>


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Using Pinterest in Your Hotel F&B Operation

By Dr. Fred J. DeMicco & Mike Teng, the University of Delaware

Pinterest is a new social media tool that can be used in your F&B operation. Since it is web-based, you can engage all of your customers and far flung global hotels using this tool. You can create your own hotel “group” on Pinterest for your managers and/or associates as a training and education device. For example, you can “pin” articles from trade magazines, any guest comments, new recipes with photos, etc., to share with your staff (anywhere in the world).

Think of Pinterest as a giant bulletin board for employees (and guests) to see. We have been using this here at the University of Delaware in our classes, for students to share Wall Street Journal articles with the class. You can also engage all of your operations to share new recipes, marketing ideas, and guest comments all in a very user-friendly and fun space on the Web. Read more of this >>


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ROI or Return On Interactions: Knowing Your Guests Using Social Media for Hotel F&B Operations

In a recent email, (August 27, 2012) Paul Cerrato examined 5 Trends Will Reshape Health IT In 2013. He stated, look for growth in mobile health, telemedicine, clinical analytics, and personal health record. It is interesting to note that during our “great recession,” that healthcare and hotels/hospitality have continued solid gains in employment and profitability (two key drivers of our economy). In fact hotels and healthcare are becoming attractive partners as they hook up with Hotels Bridging Healthcare, we coined and use the term H2H. Our recent June 2012 conference in Switzerland offered solutions for these H2H “marriages” for the future, and provide opportunities for hotel F&B operations as part of H2H. Read more here on the H2H and Switzerland Model.

So let’s look more closely to healthcare and how some of these technology practices can bridge and advance hotels and hospitality (H2H). In Paul Cerrito’s article he discusses 11 Super Mobile Medical Apps Mobile Health. This segment of the industry offers the most promise. It’s no exaggeration to describe consumers’ and physicians’ embrace of mobile health apps, smartphones, and tablets as transformational. Read more of this >>


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Buzz About Hotel F&B Social Media Patterns (SMPs)

These days you have to be scanning the environment to see what guests are saying about you on social networks.

Be Proactive

You have to these days to protect your turf. There are “best practices” for Online Social Media (OSM) management being used to scan to see in real time what quests are saying about you, both positive and negative. They boil down to (1) engage with all comments, both positive and negative ones; and (2) measure aggregate positive/negative trends over time. Everybody can do this, and everybody is trying to make their solution sound unique. Good luck with that. But what if we consider said “best practices” to be a mere baseline? Is there a technology that gives this conventional wisdom a good whack in the head? I believe the answer is yes.

It’s called Pattern Based Analytics (PBA), and nobody can do it but Quantum Leap Buzz (this has something to do with patents and a bunch of DoD work over the last decade). I have been working with this University of Delaware research-based company, and it provides the best tool (in real time) to stay on top of what your guests are telling to the world. Read more of this >>


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Gourmet Coffee: What is the Cost?

Coffee, coffee everywhere and not a drop to drink. How often have you been in a rush to a meeting and plan to stop by the coffee shop in the lobby to get a coffee, and then as you approach the coffee shop, you see the line. This happens all too often now days. With specialty coffee consumption growing at 20 percent per year and the majority switching to latte, cappuccino, mocha, macchiato, or some other combination of espresso, milk, and sugar, the stop at the coffee shop is no longer a 30 seconds per customer visit.

Recently we tested a neat new equipment product here at our student run restaurant Vita Nova on the University of Delaware campus. This automated coffee making machine was easy for our students to use and make espresso and cappuccino’s all automated and of high quality and value. It hooks easily to a POS (Micros in our case here) and automatically sends a signal to grind the beans and brew and go. It can even be self-automated for lobby areas, where one can swipe a hotel room key card, or a credit card.

“What is the impact to your bottom line?” I asked Jerry Leeman, CEO, Perk Dynamics. “What is the impact to customer satisfaction?”

Many properties are in the throes of addressing this issue. With espresso based drinks offering 300 to 500 percent margin markup, it is very attractive to add espresso based drinks to a coffee shop menu offering. The issue becomes training and time to serve. Starbucks, the king of the gourmet coffee world, says the drink is all about the “experience.” If the wait for your gourmet coffee is too long, there is no chance of enjoying the “experience;” replaced by frustration. When that same coffee shop only served filter coffee, on average a customer could be served in 30 seconds—contrasted by the two minutes a cup of gourmet coffee takes to serve. With 10 people ahead of you in line the wait was five minutes and now becomes closer to a 20 minute wait. Do you really have that much time? Read more of this >>


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