Celebrating its 25th year, MarkeTeam, Inc. is an award-winning agency for the hospitality industry, partnering with clients to deliver increased sales and profit by using a multi-level approach that includes strategy, solutions, and eCraft® (an online suite of technology products). MarkeTeam’s client list includes some of the best-known brands in the world, including Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, Hyatt Hotels, Royal Caribbean International, Caesars Entertainment, and several others. The agency also supports hotels with concept development and compelling design for menus, table tops, signage, and other marketing materials.
MarkeTeam, Inc. is also a Founding Sponsor of the Hotel Food and Beverage Leadership Association. Here, MarkeTeam Founder/President Glenn Schmitt and VP of Strategic Development Ken Taylor discuss what 2016 holds for the industry, handling post-recession staffing issues, and how technology is a key investment for long-term success in F&B.
Q: What are your observations about the industry for 2016?
GLENN SCHMITT: When we go back to the “bad old days” of 2009 to 2012, we had an industry that was scared to death. A lot of that fear came from cutbacks in staff. So if you were a corporate F&B person, for example, while you were happy to keep your job, you might’ve had to put on another hat because of those cutbacks. Now, everybody’s trying to catch up on programs that sat dormant over the last couple of years, but there hasn’t necessarily been this rush to fill corporate staffs in the F&B departments to meet that growth.
Today, even owners want the intimate details of food cost average, cost of purchases, and inventory; they want to talk about vendors and supplier agreements as well as many other business issues that just didn’t come up a decade ago. More money is being spent on food and beverage, but it’s a tremendous challenge for the hotels, because they have less management staff to take care of it.
What we’re seeing is that the industry is growing, it’s healthy, and hotels want to institute great F&B programs. There’s a huge desire to innovate, to reestablish excellence, and do a better job of training existing staff, especially because the headcount has not returned to pre-downturn levels. So they’re seeking outside help from companies such as MarkeTeam.
Q: What are some ways MarkeTeam helps hotels address areas that haven’t caught up since the cutbacks?
KEN TAYLOR: We created a division called eCraft®, which consists of three products that assist with training, staff motivation, and menu management. The first is HOST U®, which stands for Hospitality Online Service Training University. It’s a learning management system pre-populated with several 101- and 201-level educational training videos and quizzes.
The goal of HOST U® is for hotels to have a trackable, measurable training system for their employees. Hotels are often hiring aspiring young talent with limited F&B experience, but with a desire to learn, and HOST U® provides both basic and advanced levels of education. Beyond learning the differences between grape varietals and flavor profiles, as an example, HOST U® is also able to house custom content from the hotel.
Our second product is IncentiveContest.com®, a unique online solution that helps hotels incentivize employees. It works like this: let’s say an F&B manager wants to reward a server for selling the most steaks or to help reduce work-related injuries in their restaurant. They can issue that employee a card with a code on it, and staff can go online to their hotel’s link to IncentiveContest.com®, where they enter the code and receive a training tidbit to get a little more education and have a chance to win a prize instantly, which is sent via email. It could be a gift card, or a perk inside their own hotel, or some other kind of prize that’s delivered electronically.
Our third product is B.PRO®, which stands for Branded Program Resources Online. It’s really a repository of all food and beverage-related programs for hotels.
A hotel can select something like a happy hour menu program or a wine list that needs to be constantly updated with the correct vintage, for example, and they can customize and download to use at their property. It’s a one-stop repository for marketing material customization, ordering, and printing. Any program resource can be designed to be easily customized by employee or location, while maintaining brand standards, mandates, look and feel, or content integrity.
Q: How should hotels approach customers in 2016?
KEN TAYLOR: Providing an atypical F&B experience should be the goal of all hoteliers. Banquets, for example, have a reputation for being one-size-fits-all in many areas, and we know today that’s not going to work. Everyone wants customization.
GLENN SCHMITT: Hotels will need to put increased attention on both how they’re structured as an organization and what they are offering from an F&B perspective. The challenge is to attract their future bread and butter, the Millennials, without alienating the huge generation of Baby Boomers who have the money to spend right now. I believe that’s an immediate and ongoing opportunity for the hotel industry.
For more information, visit www.marketeaminc.com