There is a long list of international hotel chains that focus their attention and effort on the F&B department. Day by day food and drink seem to play a greater role in the lodging industry and have become of vital importance in the creation of amazing experiences for guests. Buffet has no longer the mere purpose of satisfying customers’ palate, but it aims to provoke wellness sensations and to contribute to the creation of the “WOW experience”. Contemporary chefs often resort to other disciplines to improve the aesthetic of presentations and create real masterpieces.
The WOW experience can be built through different technique and using diversified strategies: improving the welcome sensation, caring about guests and anticipating their needs, providing entertainment during service, boosting the satisfaction with a simple but appealing cuisine. Let’s see how we can create an unforgettable experience for the guest.
This is the golden rule of the industry. This welcoming attitude is so basic and expected that some professionals (too many!) working in hospitality have totally forgotten about it. Our main duty can be summed up with three words: welcome, serve and say goodbye. The whole process has to be permeated with care, attention to details and anticipation of needs. A really high quality service can really help you to compensate other aspects of your hotel which are not excellent. I once worked for a hotel belonging to an international chain that really focuses on great service. Despite the building and the facilities – which seriously needed to be updated – I can assure you that the hotel was always over 87% of occupancy with a big segment of repeating customers coming back for the kindness and the hospitality of the staff.
- Constant change
The continuous transformation of spaces and presentations is one of the key elements to engage clients and keep their satisfaction high. You can play with colors, with food display or with levels. By doing so you will be able to avoid one of guests’ most common complaints – boring buffets and lack of variety. Creativity and innovation are your best tools in this case. Some companies asks for the professional help of food designers and window dressing experts with the aim of realizing presentations and settings able to astonish the guest.
Salad Buffet, Hyatt Regency Atlanta
Clients love to see how their food is prepared and how ingredients are mixed and combined to please their palates. Small food tracks, show cooking or open kitchens, previously only used by restaurants, are great options and are becoming very popular in several hotels and international chains. Guests have the chance to watch the staff in action, to see the raw material and its quality and to appreciate the skills of chefs and cooks. Show cooking and open kitchens engage the client, bringing them behind the scene and creating a closer bond with your business.
Open Kitchen, Pullman Bangkok Hotel
- Concept nights
Up until now hotels have often offered themed menus, with Mexican, Italian and Chinese among the most common options. The problem is that these special menus are no longer special! Guests have experienced themed nights, wearing Mexican sombreros, listening to Italian music and tasting typical cuisine, way too many times and the WOW effect has long gone. If you want to surprise your guest forget the theme pattern and try to offer more innovative concept nights – Street Food Night or Gourmet Night – where buffet does not play the main role, but become part of a more complex and total experience.
Cheese sculpture, Pfister Hotel in Downtown Milwakee
- Tasty and appealing cuisine
Whatever you are going to offer to your customers, be that traditional, innovative or ethnic cuisine, be sure that is amazing. Food must be tasty, balanced, with the healthy twist that clients require nowadays. Do not settle for less than perfection when it comes to food! Your guests have to go back home and dream about what they have eaten while they were at your place.
Chocolate Buffet, Manfdarin Oriental Kuala Lumpur
Putting into practice all these strategies and actually manage to create the WOW experience is not a simple task. It requires a carefully organized plan which takes into consideration different factors, like type of guests, needs and expectations – so that you can exceed them – and what your competitors already offer. In case you fail in creating this unique experience, the only sensation you are going to evoke in you guest is indifference or even discomfort. Remember that your final aim is to evoke wellness sensations, so whatever action plan you decide to adopt, be sure to organize it and carry it out perfectly.