The Challenge: With the decline of hotel room service and "cliche hotel sit-down restaurants," hotel groups & brands are quickly developing unique hybrid food concepts to meet a variety of guest needs with a centralized retail operation. These beautifully designed off-lobby eateries, markets and cafes often feature a combination of packaged retail snacks and beverages, take-away packaged salads & sandwiches, 0and quickly assembled made to order (M-T-O) food offerings. Despite this logical approach, many evolutionary market concepts fail to achieve optimal sales results. Why?
In reality, these sites feature inefficient use of space, weak visual merchandising strategies, and disjointed and out-of-touch packaged food items. From our perspective, the root cause is actually quite simple. For centuries hotel guests have expected nothing more than in-room dining and a trip to the traditional lobby bar / restaurant. As a result, food & beverage degree programs, and job descriptions have not historically required retail skillset training. From hourly employees to executives hospitality groups need focused strategic advisory, training, merchandising tool-kits, and technology solutions already driving modern food retailing. Retail best practices must infuse the industry from the marketplace design process through the day to day market operational procedures.
The hospitality industry must begin to bolster employee skill sets in the following areas to improve financial results and guest satisfaction while operating on-property food markets:
- PMix selection, Merchandising, and Inventory Management of brand aligned food projects
- Effective Grab & Go Packaging
- House-made Item Product / Menu Development
- Signage & Labeling Design & Management
- Vendor Sourcing for Local Products, Packaged Snacks, Sundries, & Gifts
This select short list is only a small perspective on many factors others impacting strong retail operations. Gaining insights at the corporate brand level and developing management skillsets in these areas will uncover opportunities today and support the evolution of a design process for the hotel retail food outlets of the future. Don't miss the opportunities likely abounding in your hotel, resort, or timeshare food market.
Merchandise Food: Partner, Retail Strategy & Food Merchandising Advisor