Traditionally, a hotel restaurant was rarely seen as ‘the place to go’ when visiting a new town. But the industry is working had to turn this around. So do you think the local stigma surrounding a hotel restaurant is disappearing at all?
Adam Rowledge, general manager, Georgian House Hotel
Providing a hotel gives a compelling reason to visit, there has to be a pull if people are going to choose a hotel restaurant over old favourites or recognised high street brands. Some hotels have achieved this through the involvement of ‘celebrity chefs’. Other chefs and hotels with a hyperlocal focus have shown that it’s possible to put a hotel restaurant at the centre of a community and stand as a business entity in its own right. I think Project 1898 is a great example, once they have refurbished each property in their portfolio they will have put F&B at the heart of every hotel to reflect the region in which it is located.
Louise Bolton, hotel director, The Coniston Hotel
It’s true that many of our hotel guests, when faced with a choice of where to eat when they’re back at home, do choose a standalone restaurant over a hotel restaurant – but things are definitely changing, and here in North Yorkshire we can see that in the growth this year in local diners in our Huntsman’s Lounge and Macleods Restaurant, especially when we run themed evenings such as the Louis Latour event we have on this month. If you get the local dining product right and promote it well, the growth in local custom will come.
Ed Viita, director of food & beverage, Europe, The London Marriott Hotel County Hall
Hotel restaurants are gaining ground on the independents in a similar fashion to the recent rise in popularity of the hotel bar across Europe. We work closely with hotels that have the opportunity to develop destination restaurants with the opportunity to attract guests from the local community. In these cases, our operating model has adapted with a more independent approach. We create an identity distinct from the hotel brand, encourage guests from outside in through a separate restaurant entrance, attract teams from outside the hotel industry, and apply local marketing tactics distinct from the hotel marketing engine.
Colin Fox, English Lakes Hotels Resorts & Venues
We have a very loyal customer base of local residents from surrounding areas who regularly dine at The Wild Boar, especially when we include them in whisky tasting evenings and steak nights to showcase our produce. The stylish look of Waterhead and its restaurant can give an air of exclusivity, with some locals perhaps seeing the hotel as a fine dining experience preserved for residents – but we always welcome chance business.
David Petitt, group marketing manager, Elite Hotels
Our restaurants throughout the group are definitely welcoming a growing number of local diners. This is partly due to holding events, such as Ladies’ Luncheons or gourmet wine evenings and partly down to our menus offering seasonal and regionally -sourced dishes. Elite diners really appreciate being able to try the quality produce on our menus which they cannot always purchase themselves or use at home. Good supplier relationships help position hotel restaurants as experts with the local community, and as a more local entity to hotel accommodation.