What's Hot, What's Not 2010
We recently received a note from Nathan Tanner, VP of Restaurants with Larkspur Hotels & Restaurants (www.larkspurhotels.com), a boutique hotel company based in Larkspur, California. He shared with us some upcoming hotel F&B trends for 2010 and also reflected back on “what worked and what didn’t” for 2009. Here’s his take on what’s out and in for 2010.OUT for 2010:
- Chefs who care more about their next cookbook, next reality TV show, next kitchen, next job, and PR than they do about the guests dining in their restaurants.
- Food Critics. Everyone is a critic—just look at Yelp, Facebook, Twitter, Tripadvisor, etc. The days of the single food critic making or breaking a restaurant are over. They can give them lifts or dips, but they no longer control a restaurant’s destiny.
- Tasting menus, degustation menus, and prix fixe menus. There is room in the country for about a dozen of these, and, thankfully, French Laundry, Plumed Horse, and Manresa are nearby.
- (ironic) Public relations agencies for restaurants. With the emphasis being local the use of Facebook, Twitter, enhanced websites, mobile websites, Yelp, Open Table, etc., the owner has the opportunity to tell their story in their own words. Great PR agencies will need to start showing their new value in this changing world.
- Downsizing. If chefs and owners previously had three restaurants that did okay, they will downsize to focus on just one that they can do extremely well.
- Pushback. Owners and operators need to pushback more on social media and to use it to their advantage. For the past year, we have been on the receiving end of comments and it’s time to return the serve.
- Simplicity. Simplify everything. If you had 100 wines on the list, go down to 50. Simplify menus. All terminology needs to be understood by everyone, not just the food elite.
- Owners will be working the floor. It is time that the ownership of restaurants gets back on the floor. This is a necessity with the slowing of the economy.
We at Hotel F&B agree with Nathan’s list and would like to add a few of our own:OUT:
- Vegas-style nightclub concepts in places like Cincinnati.
- Bad coffee. U.S. consumers won’t stand for it now that McDonald;s and Dunkin’ Donuts are in the premium coffee game (some would argue that).
- The “hotel gouge,” as Steve Kilroy at Davidson Hotels Group calls it. At Davidson’s Radisson Los Angeles Westside Culver City, California, new restaurant Share is the most successful lounge retooling in the Davidson portfolio. “Our capture is unbelievable [there],” he says. “We’re up 35 to 40 percent in the last year. The menu is priced very smartly; we’re not doing the hotel gouge,” he says…read more here.
- Eateries that add individuality to their hotel’s ambiance and memorability to the guest experience. This will become a key function for F&B in hotels in the coming years. Among leisure travelers, the preference for branded hotels—offering standardized experiences—appears to be declining, as only 80 percent prefer branded hotels to independent hotels, down from 84 percent last year, according to the Ypartnership/Yankelovich 2009 National Travel Monitor study.
- Restaurants that showcase the uniqueness of their region’s culinary bounty. Illinois sweet corn and soy in Chicago, Michigan cherries and local wines in Traverse City, Wisconsin artisan cheeses in Milwaukee, Hudson Valley Dairy products in New York, etc.
- Chefs who aren’t too proud to present their culinary creations as a “value add” as a competitive advantage for the hotel overall in tough times.
We would enjoy hearing some of your “ins” and “outs.” Email them to email@example.com.