ihmrs, International Hotel, Motel + Restaurant Show, November 8-11, 2014 Jacob K. Javits Center, NYC

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A Great Hotel Guest Experience Includes A Thoughtful Tabletop

A Great Hotel Guest Experience Includes A Thoughtful Tabletop
May 21, 2014

It’s true that we’re enthusiastic and passionate about this segment called hospitality tabletop. After, all, it’s why we named our publication the “TabletopJournal” rather than any one of a dozen other less descriptive terms that were suggested when we started. But, it’s not simply about helping tabletop manufacturers sell more of their stuff to hotel operators or helping operators find the newest and trendiest tabletop “widget”. It’s about changing, elevating, and enhancing the guest experience for the one person we all work for….the hotel restaurant or banquet guest. After all, it’s been said that we are 11 times more likely to share an exceptionally “memorable” experience, return because of it, and to pay more with your restaurant.

Providing the best guest dining experience entails a large number, and a wide variety, of details – and, touchpoints. How the food is served and the serving pieces used to serve and eat the food, how the beverage is served and what is drunk from, the overall lighting ambiance, and even what might be used on the table for linens or napkins – are all great points of interaction with the guest that has a major influence on their overall dining experience.  Few guest touchpoints are as intimate as the things you might bring to your lips when you eat or what is on your table when you dine.

That culture of delivering the best guest experience possible means a thoughtful selection process when choosing the items you use on your tabletop. Rather than viewing tabletop as simply a P&L line item where you can look to save money, a good starting point is to view tabletop as an easy way to enhance your guests’ dining experience and reinforce your overall hotel branding. After all, few of the physical aspects to your hotel or restaurant will be utilized in such a tactile, close-up way as glassware, flatware, and the other items on your restaurant or banquet tabletop. Your tabletop should also serve as a strong brand reinforcement tool for your target overall hotel brand experience.

And, certainly within that thoughtful tabletop selection process, you can choose a cost-effective option whether its glassware, dinnerware, or other tabletop items. But, when narrowing your tabletop choices, spending more time asking yourself questions like “What effect will these forks, knives, and spoons have on my guests’ experience?”  rather than “How can we save money on flatware?” will ultimately lead to an improved guest experience. Happier guests spend more…return more often…and, provide positive referrals and reviews.

Creating a thoughtful company culture of providing the best possible guest experience is a great start on the road to long-term success in the hospitality business. Just make sure that thoughtfulness extends into the tabletop items you select and their impact on the overall guest dining experience.

Dave Turner, Editor – TabletopJournal

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