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Food and beverage in the hospitality industry

  Posted in Resources  Last updated 23/05/2024

What is the role of food and beverage in the hospitality industry?

The food and beverage (F&B) sector is a powerhouse within the hospitality industry, playing a critical role in employment and revenue generation.

Almost 7% of Australian workers are in Accommodation and Food Services.

Meanwhile, in the United States, Accommodation and Food Services businesses have grown 2.3% year-on-year for the past five years.

The F&B experience can greatly influence a guest’s overall satisfaction and the likelihood of repeat visits, making it a key element in the hospitality industry’s success.

This blog will cover everything you need to know about food and beverage, and how to improve service at your hospitality business.

Table of contents

The importance of hospitality food and beverage

The hospitality food and beverage sector holds immense importance, significantly contributing to a property’s financial success and to the guest’s overall experience. For many hotels and resorts that manage their F&B operations in-house, a quarter of their total revenue is generated from these services. This substantial share highlights just how much value guests place on dining experiences during their stays.

Social media plays a pivotal role in amplifying this value. With 64% of leisure travellers actively sharing their dining experiences on platforms like Instagram and Facebook, F&B not only satisfies palates but also serves as a form of social currency. These shares and posts become personal endorsements, influencing the choices of potential guests and extending the reach of the hotel’s brand.

Furthermore, the F&B experience has a lasting impact on travel decisions, with 86% of travellers stating that positive dining experiences are a key factor in their intention to revisit a destination. This underlines the F&B sector’s role in driving repeat business and fostering guest loyalty, making it clear that exceptional food and drink offerings are both amenities as well as a crucial aspect of the hospitality experience.

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4 food and beverage learning experiences to boost customer satisfaction

For most hotels the quality of food and beverage, and the service that comes with it, has a huge impact on the success of the business. One of the biggest aspects of a holiday is the wonderful food and drink guests hope to enjoy. Your hotel cannot afford to provide a subpar experience in this regard, given it’s often something customers are most passionate about.

Here are four tips for getting your food and beverage service right and enhancing guest experience:

1. Be aware of changing consumer trends

People are becoming increasingly curious and concerned about where their food comes from and how it arrives on their plate.

As travellers start to focus more on health, they’re turning towards local, homegrown food options. This is particularly prevalent in Asia where 48% of Chinese consumers say they prefer to cook at home for health reasons.

Social media is another big influence. While it’s always important for food to look appetising, social media makes it even more important – 62% of 

Chinese consumers say they post about their food experiences on social media at least once a month; the same figure is 42% in Korea, 40% in Singapore, and 29% in Australia.

The takeaway here is that your hotel’s food should always be restaurant quality, with a focus on local produce and an aesthetic that will appeal to the masses on Facebook and Instagram.

Think of it as a bonus for you; the better your food looks the more free marketing you will get from consumers posting photos and tagging your business.

2. Don’t be afraid to be a little ‘different’ with your menu

Ultimately people travel to experience new things and create lasting memories. Food can be strongly linked to both. If travellers are in a destination they’ve never been to before, chances are they’ll be wanting to experience the tastes of local culture.

People are also more prone to being impulsive and experimental while on holiday, so the more opportunities your menu gives them, the better.

Two things you can do at your hotel restaurant is employ a chef who can experiment with flavours and textures, and maintain close ties with local farmers and producers to ensure the authenticity of your meals. But the best tip: don’t be boring!

3. Treat your guests like family coming over for dinner

Terrific customer service is half the battle at your hotel restaurant and/or bar. It’s essential that you be as warm and welcoming as possible to travellers who sit down for a meal or a drink. This is a simple measure to take, but not one that is always followed by hotel staff.

All guests should be treated equally. Don’t let appearances or attire lead you to prioritise certain customers over others. You never know who your biggest spender will be.

It’s also important to tune into the body language of diners. Just because they haven’t asked for anything yet doesn’t mean they don’t need something.

The way they’re sitting, looking at their glass, or touching their cutlery could suggest you need to check on them and offer assistance.

Here are some things to remember:

Respect your customer

Make your guest feel important and do it sincerely. They deserve your full attention and for you to be polite and friendly

Be honest

No one likes their trust to be taken for granted so don’t overcommit or break promises. Customers usually prefer honesty.

Take responsibility

If something goes wrong, own it. Even if you don’t see an issue but a customer does, you need to take responsibility for the situation and do everything you can to resolve their issue, rather than taking the attitude of “it’s their problem”.

4. Treat your hotel restaurant as a unique business

Your hotel restaurant should be compatible and reflect the rest of your property but it should also be able to operate as a separate entity, to maximise business.

Obviously, it’s hard for a hotelier to possess the same nuance and attention to detail that dedicated restaurateurs have. But today’s consumer can find out a restaurant’s limitations online in a matter of seconds, and can easily avoid a mediocre dining experience.

A simple tactic you can use is to give every restaurant and bar in your hotel its own name and social media pages, where guests and locals alike can enjoy activities separate to what is happening in the rest of the hotel.

Think about the spaces in your hotel and see if you can repurpose any for the benefit of your food and beverage service.

You should also try to make your prices as reasonable as possible. Lower prices make the public and social areas of the hotel more of a versatile meeting space and destination for locals.

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Important changes within the food and beverage sector in the hospitality industry

The food and beverage sector is experiencing pivotal changes within the hospitality industry, especially around the issue of food waste, which has come into sharp focus. 

Statistics reveal that the hospitality sector is losing over $100 billion each year due to food waste, a staggering figure that’s prompting action. Traditionally, hotel kitchens have allocated 3-5% of their food purchasing costs to waste, yet actual waste can range from 5% to 15% of the food purchased. 

This not only represents a significant financial loss but also has a profound environmental impact, with food waste contributing enormously to carbon dioxide emissions, trailing just behind global giants like China and the USA.

Leaders in the industry are setting ambitious goals to tackle this issue. Accor Hotels has aimed to cut food waste by 30% by 2020 across all its properties, while Marriott International is striving for a 50% reduction by 2025. These targets are not only environmentally responsible but also financially savvy, as studies indicate that for every dollar spent on reducing food waste, hotels can save an average of seven dollars in operating costs. 

Furthermore, efforts to reduce food waste have proven effective, with hotels seeing a 21% reduction within the first year and 95% of them recouping their investment within two years. The cost of implementing these waste reduction programs is relatively low, with 90% of hotels maintaining their total investment below $20,000, less than 1% of average sales. 

These figures underline a growing recognition within the hospitality industry that responsible food and beverage management is crucial, both for sustainability and for the bottom line.

By Dean Elphick

Dean is the Senior Content Marketing Specialist of SiteMinder, the leading technology provider delivering hoteliers unbeatable revenue results. Dean has made writing and creating content his passion for the entirety of his professional life, which includes more than six years at SiteMinder. Through content, Dean aims to provide education, inspiration, assistance and value for accommodation businesses looking to improve the way they run their operations achieve their goals.

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