Tuesday, 7 May 2013

What's Our Next Big Thing in Food and Beverage?

Food and Beverage is a large business segment for our company. Many of our hotels enjoy almost 50 per cent of total revenue streaming from this division.

So when I ask myself what is the secret of successful restaurants and bars, I find that it usually boils down to a simple formula:

Be very good at one or two things. 
In other words, have focus.

Don’t try to be all things to all people.
A business will never get a great name unless it specializes in something. That specialization will create talk and chatter, and that will in turn rebound in business.

An excellent example in our company of this focus is Melba at The Langham, Melbourne.
This restaurant turns over AUD1 million per month and is the best performing restaurant in our group. What is their speciality, you might ask?

Simple – Its vision is to be the very best interactive, high-end buffet restaurant in Australia. This is clear and the customers understand that perfectly.
The team in Melbourne continually challenge each other about what can be the next "big thing" on their interactive displays.  Recently, they added a “seafood altar” that’s a roaring success. Now they are changing part of the hot section to provide Asian noodles cooking a la minute.  They prepare fantastic fresh naan bread and Tandoor in front of you, and the desserts and cheeses are as high-end as any a la carte restaurant.

Their secret?

Not wavering from the single idea that this is their core mission, that their buffet has to be better than any Sunday brunch, anywhere – and to consistently deliver at that high level seven days a week.

Another restaurant I can remember that is both unique and a great success story is Henne in Berlin. 

This restaurant, located right beside the former Berlin wall, and tucked away in the city suburbs serves just one thing – chicken.

Actually, there are only two items on the menu: chicken with potato salad and chicken with coleslaw.

That’s it.

It is packed every night and has been for 100 years! This is extreme, I know, but it underlines my point - you don’t have to be all things to all people to be successful in this sector. 

I truly believe that Food and Beverage has to be run with our hearts and only then will our customers feel this passion; best of all, it will give them something worthy to talk about.
So what I ask all of us to do is question ourselves:
What are we famous for?

What do we do better than anybody else in our communities?

Are we consistent with this?

Does the entire team know and focus on this?

Is our messaging unwavering?

Now, I am sure you can also think of other restaurants that serve the best something.

You rave about them to your friends, you recommend them to strangers, you think of special dishes with great affection, and these are the businesses that will continue to not only survive but prosper, and for some, achieve legendary status.

I'd like to hear from you on this blog about these restaurants that are close to your heart and why you think they are so special.  Hopefully, that way, we can share our experiences and work collectively to find our next "big thing" in our company.