Don’t fall flat on your road to revenue success at your hotel restaurant. Here are some obstacles to avoid.

The best hotel restaurants do more than turn out great food. They’re also set up for success in all facets of operations, according to operators.

“Up until 15 years ago, restaurants were looked at as a loss leader, as a necessity for hotel guests,” said Jimmy Haber, managing partner of ESquared Hospitality, which owns and operates 20-plus restaurants around the world, including 14 in hotels.

“There’s virtually no hotelier that I know of now that doesn’t look at a resultant going in there a) to be profitable and b) to increase occupancy, drive room rates,” he added.

The best intentions can fall flat without keeping a keen eye on potential speed bumps along the way. That’s why the operational details are so crucial, said a panel of hotel and restaurant operators during the recent Boutique Hotel Investment Conference, hosted by the Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association.

Leased, managed, hybrid? 

Leased, managed or some hybrid thereof—opinions varied as to the best structure for a restaurant in a hotel.

John Evans, president and CEO of the Trilogy Group of Companies, which owns and operates the OPUS Hotel in Vancouver, among others, has tried all three. Trilogy runs its own restaurants and also manages others with proven chefs. “It’s a function of who’s available in your given market,” he said.

His preferred model? Hybrid.

“The partnership offers a better alignment,” Evans said.

Haber and fellow panelist and restaurateur, John Meadow, said it’s better to go it alone.

For it to work, it has to function independently, said Meadow, who is founder and principal of LDV Hospitality, which owns and operates 24 F&B outlets, most of which are in hotels.

“We would argue a hotel should never run its own restaurant or bar,” Haber said.

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