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Maximise your food sales

Maximise your food sales
The eating out market has grown significantly over the last decade from around £30bn to circa £47bn*. Hotels are ideally placed to take advantage of this increasing trend and food sales will drive additional drink sales.

Many hotel customers will have their first experience of your hotel as a guest at a function or business gathering. If they have a good experience they are likely to use the hotel again themselves with their friends or colleagues.

Experience your hotel as a customer

It’s a really good idea to ‘visit’ your hotel as a customer and experience your business just like one of your customers would. Here are some things to consider:

- How welcoming does the outside of my hotel look to passing trade and regular customers?

- How impactful is the signage? Can passing trade easily see that you sell food and at what times?

- Is it clear that you welcome non-residents?

- Once inside, is it easy to find menus and clear what menu is available in which areas of the hotel?

- Do your menus look and sound appetising?

- How enjoyable is the whole dining experience from ordering to finishing your meal and paying?

- It may be useful to create a checklist to ensure that key tasks that impact on the customer experience in public areas are checked daily.

Experience your competition

Often running a hotel is a full-time seven-day a week commitment and it’s difficult to find the time to visit other hotels in the area. However it’s a good idea to visit local hotels and conference venues and understand what the competitors are up to:

- What are their customers like?

- What times do they serve food?

- What is their food offer like?

- How do their food offer and prices compare with yours?

- Are they busier or quieter than your hotel?

- What conferencing and banqueting facilities do they have?

- What is their sales and marketing material and website like?

- Are they doing anything that you could ‘steal with pride’ for your hotel?

Some things customers are looking for from a good hotel

No two customers are the same and each will have different needs. However, in general customers are looking for a clean, welcoming environment with friendly, efficient service. Research shows that good service is as important to customers as the choice of food. Value for money is becoming increasingly important to customers in the current economic environment but this does not necessarily mean the price of the food. It is the total offering including the surroundings, service, quality of
food and so much more.

Maximise your opportunity

The best way to identify potential opportunities is to talk to your customers. Ask them what they like about your hotel and if they could change one thing what it would be. Also remember that with meetings and conferences the key
decision maker may well be a local secretary or personnel manager. Consider inviting local office workers to your hotel so they can familiarise themselves with your facilities, menus and prices.

Why not ask one of your friends to act as a ‘mystery diner’ to ensure that your customers are receiving the quality of food and level of service you demand.