Finding Revenue Concepts from F&B

By Sharmila Chand

Ask hoteliers in the Indian hospitality industry that which departments in the hotel generates maximum revenues and most likely they will cite that rooms and food and beverage departments are the major revenue earners for the hotel.

They say these two are the major revenue as well as profit contributors of hotel operations in India and profit and loss statement of the hotels across the country also proves these experts’ opinion, by and large.

Though in general rooms earn more revenues than food & beverage operations, but food & beverage also contributes significantly towards hotels’ revenues. Here we discuss revenue and  profit flow through food & beverage department, in the context of the Indian hospitality industry. 

 “The hospitality industry is very dynamic where constant innovation is required to drive revenues. Especially for food and beverage outlets at the hotels, the guest expectations have gone higher,” stated Yogesh Bhatt, Food & Beverage Manager, Grand Mercure Mysuru.

“Authentic cuisines as well as international cuisine festivals are a new trend now. At the Grand Mercure Mysuru, we have special offers & promotions on F&B service for the guests. To promote the food in-house and to create a buzz, we do special events that revolve around food. Our hotel also takes extra effort to cater to kids and families; thus, we see to it that the little ones are given special care even while dining,” he elaborated.

“In Grand Mercure Mysuru we get a mix of Indian as well as international guests. Our F&B concepts are designed keeping both the target groups in mind. We do events that revolve around a certain festival; we also have special set ups done for our in-house guests who might be celebrating either their birthdays or honeymoon in our hotel. Where in fine dining gives an upscale status to the hotel, all day dinning provides several options that are liked by guests staying for multiple nights,” informed Bhatt.

Some Savvy Measures

He also talked about some of the strategies that Grand Mercure Mysuru implement on a regular basis to garner impressive F&B revenues. “They are live food counters which entail less cost and tend to make food wastage negligible; the seasonal food festivals which help to create a buzz around, and the variety of food choices offered to the guests at seasonal food festivals encourage them to visit the restaurant again; and creating gastronomic menus involving high-end exquisite ingredients, which can enhance guest experience,” he elaborated.

 Ashutosh Garg, F&B Manager, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Pune-Chinchwad also points out three smart ways, which according to him can generate impressive revenues from hotel’s restaurants. “Loyalty program is one of the smartest ways to bring repeat business for food & beverage outlets. Use of social media in recent years has grown massively hence it could be used as a tool for food and beverage promotions. Online food ordering portals is another smart way to generate restaurants’ revenues. We have a wide variety of customers and lots of them want to fine dine from the comfort of their home. This is where online food ordering portals are very useful for consumers,” elaborated Garg.   

“Personalisation of service is the key to create a sense of loyalty among guests. Keep the themes changing and engage the guests through social media. These concepts are practiced in our award winning specialty restaurant Miyuki, 3 Spices and Level 12 – the rooftop lounge & bar,” opined Garg.

Appealing to Millennials

Furthermore, F&B concepts appealing to millennials and generation X is a good idea for hotels to generate revenues. Yogesh Bhatt said, “Millennials in our country are more adventurous in their food & beverage choices now than they were ever before. Due to the growing exposure to the international cultures and lifestyles, the Indian population has started developing global tastes and is reaching out to restaurants which offer different cuisines and styles.” 

“Guests, especially Gen X these days, don’t just look out for food when they step out to dine. They look forward to a dining experience. As there is a preference and openness to try new things, we have seen a lot of innovation in culinary arts during the last decade. The food festivals from different regions offering topical cuisines along with some special menus are another way to tap this segment of the market. We at Grand Mercure Mysuru hold multiple food festivals and promotional offers on beverages that are designed keeping in mind the taste and demand of the millennials segment,” explained Bhatt. 

Involving Chefs

Umesh Dalal, Food & Beverage Director, Eros Hotel New Delhi, Nehru Place, also gave three useful tips towards garnering impressive revenues from restaurants.

 “Involve your Chefs, for when it comes to food concepts no one else other than your Chefs can do complete justice to it. Discuss with your Chefs what is it that you want to do, give them a broad framework and let them do research on that. Get involved in the research process and have discussions around your concept. Establish your concept and then work backwards,” averred Dalal.

 “For example, we did Dhaba promotion early this year and went on a road trip to Amritsar to carry our research with our kitchen team. We could have done it without our trip too, but the excitement that builds by the pre-work reflects in your execution,” he explained further.

Authenticity is the Key  

Dalal also talked about focusing on the authenticity of cuisine. “When you bring authentic cuisine to the table, those who know will become your loyal customers, because it is difficult to find original these days,” he suggested confidently. At the same time, he emphasised on being honest to the customers. “Tell them if you have not been able to follow authenticity due to any challenges.”

“If you have not followed the authentic method in preparation, do not call a dish what it would have been called if it were prepared authentically; otherwise this may lead to a mismatch in guests’ expectation,” he pointed out further.

Marketing the Concept

Dalal also talked about the crucial role of marketing the F&B concept/s. “You may have a great concept, a very hard working team and world class food but until and unless you have reached out to the right market, it is of little use. Food & beverage heads in restaurants/hotels must get themselves involved with their marketing team and take the ownership to market their concept/s. I personally believe that you should start your marketing exercise before your concept comes to life. Set the ground right and then come up with your concept. Make sure you talk about it and focus to the right clientele. Take the concept to a peak and then stop; leaving people hungry for more. This sets the tone for the upcoming activities,” analysed Dalal.

The HR Factor

The hotel’s restaurant business should not only tap the opportunities but should also be equipped to tackle the multiple challenges associated with it. One of the biggest challenges these days in the Indian hospitality industry is to find talented restaurant and bar professionals and retain them.

 “In a busy and burgeoning hospitality industry like that of India it is very difficult to retain good talent. Continuous growth, training and engagement are certain initiatives which are required to be addressed on a larger scale to facilitate employee satisfaction. Then only we can meet this human resource challenge,” observed Bhatt.

“Yes I agree,” said Garg. “Finding talented professionals in the Indian hospitality industry is difficult. Working hours, wages, motivation, etc. are the factors influencing iteration of talented professionals in this industry,” he added further. 

Hotel Lobbies for Revenues 

“Hoteliers in India are bringing back the concept of lobby bars to enhance their beverage revenues. Long treated as dead spaces that hotel guests raced through on the way to the elevator, lobbies are being transformed into places for work, to surf the web or to meet friends for a drink. At Grand Mercure Mysuru, we have the Silk Bar at the lobby level. This upscale bar adjacent to the lobby serves a heady mix of single malts, cocktails, mocktails, and wines,” elaborated Bhatt. 

 “Nowadays hotel lobbies and bars are important hubs for socialising, where one can have small business meetings and sometimes network over a drink. The buzzing effect of lobby creates enough space for revenues. However, I really think that more than a revenue earning platform, hotel lobbies are more related to guest experience and their satisfaction,” offered Garg.

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