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Complete guide to hotel restaurant management

  Posted in Resources

Managing a hotel restaurant can be a complex operation, as it might mean several restaurants in a property are functioning under one system. Hotels will need to ensure restaurant operations and service is seamless across multiple areas and locations.

While there’s definitely some risks involved in such an enterprise, there’s also the opportunity for rich rewards at your hotel. This article will take you through the most essential factors to consider for successful hotel restaurant management.

Table of contents

What is hotel restaurant management?

Hotel restaurant management involves overseeing the multiple food and beverage operations within a hotel, which can be an integral component to the overarching hotel experience.

Successful hotel restaurant management requires the ability to oversee many operations at once. It is a complex role involving day-to-day administration, staff management, general operations, accounting and budgeting, fielding customer complaints and enquiries, menu engineering, and ensuring health and safety compliance. All of these need to be tackled whilst optimising business performance.

Hospitality and restaurant management within a hotel setting is about continuously evaluating performance amongst any facet of the business. Growth and development need to be at the forefront of any decision making, as this will help to enhance both hotel and external guests’ experiences.

Hotel and restaurant management work hand in hand. It can take time to adapt to the ways of working, so hiring staff that have a variety of skills, as well as specialists in hotel restaurant management, can benefit any business.

How does it differ from standalone restaurant management?

The key difference is the situation in which management and their team are working. The ability to serve guests that are seated onsite, as well as serving diners from multiple points, such as the dining room, lobby or resort pool deck is essential. Both require the same level of attention, though hotel guests seek an extra level of convenience. Charging to their room, ordering room service or enjoying their breakfast within a hotel restaurant can all contribute to the enjoyment of their stay. In some instances, such as all-inclusive resorts, these hotel restaurants have limited use to overnight guests only.

How to run a hotel restaurant

A hotel restaurant can bring great value to a hotel business. Hotel restaurant operations are critical to the overall hotel experience for guests, with some hotel restaurants gaining recognition worldwide for their gourmet indulgences.

Running a hotel restaurant will require a team who are capable of working in a fast paced environment. The ability to serve customers beyond the dining room is an important factor, as guests require convenience, and often the comfort of their hotel room.
These onsite eating establishments have become a pivotal part of a guests’ experience and running a hotel restaurant plays into the overall setting of the stay.

Hotel restaurant operations

Not only does a successful hotel restaurant have to serve and please guests at your property, it also has to stand out on its own as a dining option for anyone in the local area. This is because many guests will want to explore the city and all the options available to them.

Keeping on top of the latest food and beverage trends across the hotel industry can help your hotel restaurant management team succeed. Whether it’s increasing outdoor dining options or providing sustainable options, find out what it is that guests are looking for.

The quality of your product has to be high, and your hotel restaurant has to individualise itself and offer a comprehensive dining experience. Things to consider include:

  • Restaurant size and space
    Consider the number of potential restaurant visitors to the capacity of hotel guests. You will need to ensure a comfortable layout for guests and enough space within the restaurant to seat guests on time without long waits. Generally, a restaurant should be divided with around 60% covering the dining area and the remaining 40% covering the kitchen, cooking, prep and storage area.
  • Staffing
    Successful hotel restaurant management relies on the ability to adapt and meet challenges within a range of roles and responsibilities. Hiring talented hospitality staff and providing quality training to new starters will help with the running of your establishment. Keep in mind that your restaurant will have the complexities of a regular restaurant, plus more. You’ll need qualified staff that have worked in hospitality prior, specifically in the hotel industry.
  • Menus
    Work with your kitchen team to curate a fine-tuned menu. Consider what cuisine and menu would complement the overall ambience of the hotel. For example, a rural hotel located in the British countryside would benefit from an afternoon tea menu and dinner menu featuring local produce. Whilst a hotel situated in a metropolitan city might better suit a more international and experimental menu. Whatever menu you decide on, simplicity is key. Design a menu that is exciting and uncomplicated yet delivered exceptionally.
  • Room service extension
    Many guests indulge in room service. This is what really separates a hotel restaurant from a standalone. Offer a limited menu and opt for “delivery-friendly” dishes that will help both your team operations and maintain satisfaction for your guests. Offering room service within specific hours can help with the operations of a hotel restaurant. Ensure you have a sufficient number of carts and trays and ensure staff frequent the hallways for any used trays.
  • Offers and packages
    This is where hotel and restaurant management need to work seamlessly together. Liaise with the hotel management to agree upon unique offers and packages for your guests. As an example this could include complimentary breakfast or a discounted rate on dinner if you book two nights or more. This is part of strategy planning and marketing, and needs to be considered to help boost bookings and encourage guests to dine at your establishment.
  • Bookings
    Creating a reservation system is the best way to ensure guests can dine at your restaurant seamlessly. Not only will it help your management team to plan better and for operations to run smoothly, but creates confidence with your guests that they will be seated at a specific time. Speak with hotel management about the front desk team asking guests at check in whether they want a restaurant reservation. This will remind guests to book and will encourage dining at the hotel restaurant.

Who are your hotel restaurant guests?

Generally, a hotel restaurant will have two types of customers: hotel guests and external guests. Whilst they’re very similar and both wish to have a pleasant meal with great customer service, they both have different needs. To keep everyone happy, you’ll need to think about offering a simple but delicious menu that can be eaten in a comfortable setting and also promotes social interaction.

Hotel guests
For guests already staying at your hotel, your restaurant should be a quick and convenient place to get a meal. They may not want to spend too much money nor spend too much time waiting for food, especially if they have other plans. Since hotel guests are staying overnight, they are more likely to experience many more touchpoints with the restaurants and bars onsite. Room service, charging meals to their room and having a seamless experience across the hotel and restaurant alike.

External guests
Unless you are an all-inclusive resort, a hotel restaurant can expect to receive many external guests. Hotel restaurants make a great setting for business meetings, and can gain their own popularity separate from the hotel. Generally, outside diners only experiencing the restaurant may be expecting first-class ambience, food, and service.

Tips for managing a hotel restaurant

Hotels and restaurants both form a large part of the hospitality industry and customer service is vital to both. These businesses survive on positive customer satisfaction because of the public exposure they’re always open to. Guests are only too eager to share stories of their holiday or dining experience – both good and bad. These tips will be sure to wow your guests and boost efficiency.

  • Create a relaxing environment
  • Consider family-friendly restaurants
  • Don’t forget to appeal to locals as well as travellers
  • Treat each guest like a VIP
  • Deliver a consistent experience
  • Pay attention to guest feedback
  • Ensure every decision is driven by data

How can you ensure hotel restaurants are successful

Once you have the base of your hotel restaurant established, you need to continue to work on growth and development plans. This includes monitoring and improving internal operations as well as implementing strong marketing strategies. We’re always sharing simple food and beverage lessons for hoteliers whether that is keeping on top of trends or keeping costs low. Let’s dive into some top tips.

Give your restaurant its own website
While it should certainly be featured on your hotel website, a dedicated restaurant website can help maximise revenue and potentially drive extra traffic through to your hotel via links. Cross-referencing both lines of business will improve your SEO and help maximise conversions and direct bookings. Be sure to feature large high-resolution images and videos to showcase your food and decor.

Create a social media page for your restaurant
If your hotel restaurant has its own website it stands to reason it should have its own Instagram or Facebook page too; this is especially true if it hosts regular events. You can inform followers of live music nights, wine tasting activities, or happy hours, as well as post pictures of these experiences.

Managing and marketing your hotel’s food waste control
Do you really know how much food your hotel throws away each week? Have you worked out its monetary value? Are staff and guests aware of your efforts to be more sustainable and properly manage food waste disposal? Once you’re aware how well you’re managing in this area, you’ll be better informed and can start to align operations with your marketing.

Guests are also becoming increasingly savvy with sustainability and expect hotels to be actively reducing waste across their operations. This is a great opportunity to not only optimise your food operations but add a new angle to introduce into your marketing strategy. Studies have shown that for every $1 invested in programs to reduce kitchen food waste, hotels have saved $7 on average in operation costs. So, this not only appeals to conscious diners but improves your financial planning in the long run. There are plenty of ways to reduce food waste from enhanced menu planning to donating food surplus.

Successful hotel restaurants

Some hotel restaurants have achieved global recognition. Food, location, ambience and customer service all contribute towards the success of a hotel restaurant. Some of the world’s best hotel restaurants all see similar patterns. Customers remember the unique food options as well as how they are treated. It’s these things that stay with customers and encourage them to leave glowing reviews.

Align restaurant operations and marketing strategies

Food and hotel management go hand in hand. Within this article we’ve mentioned the importance of communicating with the hotel management team to work on marketing strategies and operation planning together. Hotel restaurant operations can thrive when aligned with the overall hotel strategy. It also allows you to discover hotel restaurant trends.

Technology to help manage your hotel’s restaurant

A reservation system is essential to the smooth running of any food and hotel management process. It will allow you to keep things streamlined and ensure guests are seated in a timely manner. Don’t forget the importance of a Customer Relationship Management System (CRM System). By having this technology in place, you’ll be able to connect hotel restaurant reservations to hotel guest bookings to deliver even better customer service. The same applies to external guests. You will be able to note customers’ regular orders and remember fine details that allows your hotel restaurant to leave a positive and memorable experience.

Hospitality is about making an impression on someone and going the extra mile to make their experience a memorable one. The interaction involved in hospitality is a genuine one and should be based on a caring attitude.

Hospitality and restaurant management is something the best restaurants do extremely well. Customers will generally be served by one waiter their entire visit and will be made to feel like close friends or family, constantly attended to and conversed with warmly. Any requests will be responded to immediately. By the end of the meal, customers will look forward to coming back and seeing their waiter again.

If hotel restaurants can replicate this attentiveness, you will have a great selling point that you can introduce into your hotel’s marketing strategies. Some things to try are to greet guests by name, get to know their interests, and don’t delay when they want attention. It’s the little things that matter, so ensure you’ve utilised these top tips in your hotel restaurant operations and begin to see your bookings flourish.

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