From the Board: Back to Basics

The importance of revisiting foodservice fundamentals.

As hotel F&B operators, it is finally our time. For many years, F&B has been a secondary focus for the hotel industry. However, we have seen a revolution of the freestanding restaurant. F&B is finally receiving the recognition it deserves as an integral part of the hotel guest’s stay and experience. The same factors that drive you to your favorite neighborhood spot—vibe, ambiance, experience—are impacting the guest’s decision as to which hotel to book. The fact is, F&B has become a single leading factor in developing a hotel’s personality, creating a sense of arrival and destination, and differentiating truly outstanding properties.

If hotels are to be pushed to the forefront of the culinary scene, we have to get better. Going back to the basics is exactly that—making sure that our F&B standards, philosophies, and actions are in line with what is happening in the marketplace and what our guests want. It really is that simple.

At FRHI Hotels & Resorts, we have been focusing on foodservice fundamentals for the past three years. We strive to get the basics right and ensure that our venues are current and relevant to the local market. It doesn’t happen overnight but requires a constant commitment to education, communication, expectation management, and striking a balance between overseeing the small details and focusing on bigger programs, such as our coffee partnership with H.C. Valentine and the development of Fairmont’s new global cocktail program.

With the late 2015 rollout of Classics. Perfected. Fairmont returned to its roots at the heart of cocktail culture, where bartenders presiding over some of the world’s most iconic bars have been shaping cocktail trends for more than a century. We invited some of Fairmont’s top, world-class bartenders to explore fresh, modern takes on some of the most beloved classic cocktails. The result is a handcrafted menu of beautifully balanced, delicious drinks that brings the artisan cocktail spirit back to life in our bars.

We are also in the process of launching a different approach to banqueting. New setups, smaller portions, and fresher preparations all lend themselves to a higher quality, more contemporary banquet experience with a more residential or restaurant feel.

I’ll end on a key piece of advice we offer our hotel F&B teams: go out into your community and see what is happening. Ask yourself if you are delivering what everyone else is delivering. Can you see yourself having a good time in your own venues? Hotel F&B is already a tough job, but in order to do it effectively, we have to stay connected to our passion and why we entered the culinary world in the first place. If you don’t get out there to experience, enjoy, and live F&B, how can you appreciate what is happening or should be happening in your own venues?
Brett Patterson
Member, HFAB Advisory Board,
and VP of F&B, Americas,
FRHI Hotels & Resorts