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Once upon a time, planning and budgeting for food and beverage was almost an afterthought in the process of running a hotel.

But ever since the sea change brought about by boutique and luxury lifestyle hotels, on-site bars and restaurants have been linchpins of the hotel sector; and today your hotel brand could perhaps be said to live and die on the quality of its food and beverage offering.

It’s an important factor in attracting potential hotel guests, for whom the quality of these services may well be paramount; but also the increasingly large share of revenue coming from outside patrons, who may be drawn to your establishment as a destination restaurant or bar.

This increasing focus on quality food and drink is not reserved to the hotel sector alone, of course. Heightened and increasingly sophisticated tastes can be witnessed everywhere from the proliferation of cooking shows on TV, to the opening of a food theme park in Italy. FICO Eataly World in Bologna opens on 15th November and promises to “tell the story of Italian agri-food culture combining local tradition, high-quality food, and the expertise of those who have always been working in the agri-food chains”.

But of course, food and beverage is especially important in the world of hotels. Think about how a great meal can be the central moment in a precious memory of a holiday. Good boutique hotels where the flavors become integral to the experience include Tuscany’s Borgo San Pietro, where local ingredients are brought to the fore in Meo Modo Restaurant; or Alaska’s Hotel Captain Cook, where a memorable fine dining experience awaits you in the Crow’s Nest tower.

Equally important, of course, are the cocktails. Destination bars are the currency of any self-respecting boutique and luxury lifestyle hotel and the most impressive ones leave a taste long after the last gin spritzer has been polished off. Think of the decadent Elephant Bar at New York’s NoMad Hotel, or the quirky chic of QT Sydney’s Gowings Bar & Grill. Where once hotel bars were a night owl’s first or last port of call, now they are the main event and an experience to cherish.

But with so much at stake in this most complex arena, how can you ensure a perfect food and drink offering in hotel? One solution worth investigating is outsourcing.

Careful selection will be necessary to avoid roping in a one-size-fits-all service that doesn’t marry with the personality of your brand. But a great food and beverage consultant or management firm will be able to work with you to create the perfect restaurant and bar for your hotel, and be able to back this up with the resources, expertise and time required to do this project justice.

The downside of this is the added expense, but when you weight this against the transformative effect a well-designed, much-loved bar and restaurant can have on a hotel’s image and reputation, it’s an investment well worth making.

To delve into the current state of F&B in hospitality, join us at the UCLA Luskin Center October 3rd to 5th for the Stay Boutique Leadership Conference (www.stayboutiqueconference.com).

About Frances Kiradjian

Founder of the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA), Frances Kiradjian, a 25-year hospitality and travel industry seasoned professional, created BLLA to give a  voice to independent properties as well as small brands around the world, offering them the opportunity and the means to compete on a level playing field with major hotel  companies. BLLA serves more than 750 members, including hotels and the suppliers that sustain them.

Frances states why she created the BLLA. “My passion for independent boutique & lifestyle hotels are what drove me to create a place where leaders in this hotel sector can meet on common ground,” said Frances. “I wanted to institute programs for enhanced awareness to global travelers and offer vendors the opportunity to focus their marketing efforts through sponsorship of BLLA programs, events & conferences.”

Kiradjian is a graduate of the highly respected Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California (USC).

Contact: Frances Kiradjian`

francesk@blla.org / 818-264-4810

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