The key to successful hotel catering

Great food and drink can significantly enhance a hotel stay, while the opposite can prompt bad reviews and leave customers feeling disgruntled. Eating out in UK hotels was worth £8.5billion in 2016, and industry analysts MCA predict hotel restaurant turnover will outpace growth in the total eating out market in 2018/9 as hotels improve their food and beverage offering.

With 87% of hotel guests saying that good food and drink is important to them (One Poll survey, August 2016), we examine how independent hoteliers can up their game and entice their guests – as well as outside diners – into their hotel restaurant.

Bed and breakfast Research by online booking specialists eviivo shows most guests (63%) favour the traditional Full English breakfast, but 17% said that guests in the main preferred a continental breakfast featuring croissants. 10% said that muesli was the most popular choice.

Thomas Messett, a director at eviivo, said: “What our B&Bs find is that catering for every reasonable taste is a great way of increasing bookings. Even if some of their breakfast tastes are a bit unorthodox, more and more holidaymakers are choosing the ‘Full British’ B&B experience.”

Afternoon tea Offering afternoon tea is a great way to entice people into your hotel – in a traditionally quiet day-part. 17% of consumers order cake in a hotel restaurant when they are feeling peckish. As cake is becoming part of foodie culture and with the quintessentially British afternoon tea still storming menus, snacking on sweet treats is now becoming an important part of a hotel food culture.

Your bread and butter With 52% of breakfast orders coming with a side of toast, it’s important to make sure you’re serving the right bread to stand out from the competition. Kara’s new bloomers launched earlier this year allowing vendors to offer premium toast options. The range consists of well-loved White and Malted Sliced Bloomers and two new additions featuring an on trend Sourdough Bloomer and a Multi-seeded Bloomer, containing Linseeds, Sunflower, Millet and Pumpkin seeds making for nutritious start to the day.

American breakfast dishes are gaining popularity across the UK too, with sweet breakfast waffles and stacks of American pancakes leading the charge. Many hotel guests now expect to see them on the menu as an option, alongside the traditional full English.

A la carté breakfasts Hotel breakfasts are undergoing a reinvention with the more familiar toast and toppings, cereals and bacon and eggs or the ‘all day breakfast’ buffet giving way to more sophisticated dishes on the a la carté breakfast menu.

Aine Melichar, brand manager for Kerrymaid, which makes ready-to-use Hollandaise sauce, comments: “Eggs Benedict, Florentine and other variations are becoming increasingly popular due to being both on-trend as well as offering a ‘better for you’ perception. With the rise of healthy eating trends and gluten-free diets, these dishes are incredibly versatile, and can be customised to suit guests. A Portobello mushroom and avocado, with rocket added for an extra health kick, can replace the English muffin base; or the standard ham could be replaced by spicy chorizo or BBQ pulled pork for a truly indulgent option.”

Bring a bit of Mexican spice to Eggs Benedict by using savoury Mexican chorizo, sautéed red onion, avocado and poached eggs or create a Spanish influenced dish by layering sliced red potatoes with chorizo or prosciutto, Manchego cheese, rocket, red pepper and poached eggs.

Go the extra mile Little things can mean big business for hoteliers with research revealing that 87% of consumers would return to a hotel that went the extra mile. If you exceed expectation the prospect of a repeat visit is considerable, as well as help to broaden your customer base through word-of-mouth and recommendation.

Fiona Morgan, UK & Ireland sales manager, Ferrero Foodservice, explains: “The devil’s in the detail and hotels shouldn’t let their in-room snack and chocolate offering let down the rest of their operation.”

Ideal for hotels looking to enhance their turn down service, the Ferrero Rocher two pack format allows guests to indulge in a premium treat.

Room service In an already highly competitive sector, hoteliers need to be on top of their game. In-room menu options need to reflect the quality of the restaurant; a general perception amongst guests is that room service food choices are often over-priced and of inferior quality to what’s available either at the hotel’s own restaurant or outside of the premises.

Emma Haworth, Dr Oetker Professional, says: “It’s important that guests feel that they’re still having a quality meal that offers value and most importantly they enjoy. Pizza works well as it has wide appeal with consumers, is highly versatile – lending itself to a range of toppings – and easy to eat when guests just want to relax and enjoy their room.”

Dr Oetker Professional’s new Fresh Dough Pizza Base, topped with a classic tomato passata, and Pan’Artisan’s range of wood-fired, part-baked, pre-sauced pizza bases are ideal for hotels looking to create a bespoke menu.

Grab and go options On the flip side of indulgent offerings, guests are also finding less time to sit and enjoy breakfast, especially those who are staying over for business trips.

Hotels should think about offering time-poor guests a strong, on trend breakfast to eat on-the-go to keep the establishment ahead of the competition and avoid guests going elsewhere.

Breakfast burritos, bagels and toasted sandwiches are becoming increasingly popular, as they are perfect for guests who want to eat on the move and are easy to customise to individual tastes.


It’s quite common for hotels to experience a dip in their bookings when they’ve been open for a while. Fortunately, by making a few tweaks to the way you reach potential clients, you’ll be back to filling your rooms in no time. Here are three tactics for attracting more customers that you might not have already thought of…

Encourage your guests to share their experiences online There are two main benefits of asking your customers to share their experiences online: you can use their reviews to inform how you run your hotel, and it will help to get your name out there. Ask visitors to Tweet about their stay with a hashtag of your choice to be entered into a prize draw, or ask them to leave you a review on TripAdvisor. See Alliance Online’s guide for

Social media Use social media platforms, such as Twitter and Facebook, to share photos of your best rooms or the most impressive dish on your breakfast menu — whatever you think might grab a potential customer’s attention and give them a reason to book a stay with you. Many establishments also host online competitions with a “share to enter” system. See eHotelier’s guide to using social media for more details

Promote your green policies More than three quarters of people are willing to pay more for produc ts or services that are environmentally-friendly. Inexpensive ways of making your hotel more environmentally-friendly include setting up a recycling scheme, sending communications online rather than on paper, or encouraging guests who are staying for more than one night to have their towels and sheets cleaned less frequently than every day.