Here is the eighth installment of HKS Hill Glazier Studio's blog "Top 10 Design Tips to Dazzle Your Guests." This month, the focus is on hotel F&B design, with thoughts from Ray Neal and Melissa Voelker.
Like an intricately flavored sauce, designing food and beverage (F&B) space in hotels is a complex task that must meet the multifaceted needs of many users—chefs, kitchen and wait staff, hotel guests, discerning locals, meeting and event planners, and more. Because F&B is expected to generate a hefty portion of the property’s total revenue, design—location, space planning, efficiency and ambiance—plays a big part in F&B success. Want design that delivers?
- Room with a View. For restaurants, orientate the longer width toward the view. Indoor and outdoor layering is key: exterior terrace and covered terrace, interior dining, and private dining.
- Light My Fire. Lighting animates the mood and attitude of the bar and restaurant. Decorative fixtures, wall washing lights, and changes in light levels provide the magic, both day and night.
- Foodie Haven. Chef’s tables and display kitchens are c’est en vogue, but they go well beyond delivering an unforgettable meal. They present opportunities to connect, creating a unique bond between diners, the chef, staff, hotel—and brand. Emphasizing high-quality, local food is a draw to residents, too, helping attract homegrown traffic as well as meetings or special functions that may have booked elsewhere.
- Kitchen Aide. Centralizing kitchen support spaces such as dry food, refrigerated and beverage storage, bakery, and room service around the main kitchen will save area and create timely delivery of food to the many F&B outlets.
- Into the Great Wide Open. Large, open floorplans are of the past. These spaces feel empty and uninviting when there are only a few diners. Restaurants thrive as a series of spaces with multiple rooms or alcoves; it’s much easier to make smaller rooms look and feel lively.
- Drop the Divide. More causal, flexible spaces in which there are no visible divisions between lobby and lounge, pub, or wine bar create social gathering spots for hotel guests as well as locals. Appetizers and small plates mix easily with libations and good company, and present an inviting alternative to more formal dining spaces.
- Different Strokes. In a hotel or resort with multiple F&B outlets, create each space with a signature style. Providing different experiences serves groups and guests with varying preferences and helps to retain revenue that may drift to neighboring dining establishments and bars. Use views and locations to your advantage to make each dining spot its own.
- Get the Skinny. During planning, ask the client about the restaurant’s culinary direction. Besides the hotel’s setting or cultural context, having a sense of the menu provides focus for the design theme.
- Connectivity. Flow is critical to any operation and no more so than food service. Whether delivering a hamburger to the sun deck or filet mignon to an in-suite diner, service connectivity that provides uninterrupted flow, both horizontally and vertically, is essential.
- Check, Please. From the first drink order to dessert to the final tab, the point of sales (POS) stations need to be central and convenient for wait staff, yet obscured from the guest’s dining experience.