The concept of all-day dining restaurants in hotels is undergoing a revamp following challenges over creating repeat business, as well as changing behaviour of travellers.
During a panel discussion at To The Table MEA 2017 at the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, The Cutting Edge Agency business development manager Eugenie Dronneau commented that she doesn't like the term 'all-day dining', preferring to refer to the concept as the 'main restaurant'. She added: "We think about the hotel guests because it is there for them," and said that the buffet experience within these concepts is now gone. Evolution of the concept throughout the day, she said, was extremely important, and gave an example of how a restaurant could offer a relaxed, laidback breakfast and lunch during the day and evolve to offer more fine dining options in the evening.
Figjam co-founder Sanjay Murthy pointed out that the 'all-day dining' can work in its current form depending on where it's located. In a resort with limited options in the surrounding area, he said, the concept works well, but not necessarily in city centre hotels.
The challenge for hoteliers is around repeat business as well. Pure Grey vice president Guy Heksch noted: "I think the challenge was always how to bring guests back to a restaurant where they had breakfast, whether it’s a buffet or a la a carte. People don’t like to eat in the same place twice."
Echoing Dronneau's point about evolution through the day and agreeing with Murthy's point was InterContinental Hotels Group director of food & beverage concepts, AMEA Shane Giles, who said: "We now see our spaces as a lot more transitional throughout the day. Whether we call it all-day dining or three meal restaurant, we actually take the space and look at it as a speciality restaurant first. Once we know the direction we’re going with that, we overlay how we’re going to do breakfast."
In another session, Silverfox Studios partner Patrick Waring presented a case study on making all-day dining restaurants different, almost 'blending' restaurants into one another, each with their own identity.