What does this mean for the future of F&B? Jean-Michel Dixte, global vice president, food and beveralgge, Dusit International lists below Listed below a few of the challenges, trends and key industry movements I expect to see following this unprecedented global crisis.
Changing tastes in focus
Following the pandemic, I believe the wellness dining market will definitely keep rising. Eating and living with a conscience is going to become a strong part of the ethos of the food industry, and more businesses will take a greener and more sustainable approach to their operations.
The impact of tech on service
Technology has infiltrated almost every aspect of our lives. Hardly a day goes by without a new gizmo or gadget arriving on the market with the promise to deliver even greater levels comfort, convenience, control and connection. And it has changed the dining scene dramatically.
Social and economic factors affecting business
As business leaders pursue more cost-effective models, hotel companies will subsequently invest less in F&B operations and related manpower, and F&B programming may be massively reduced overall. Quick Service Restaurants and Fast Casuals will take over the standalone market, each featuring minimum layers of staff – and requiring minimal skills – but still providing decent dining experiences in their related segments.
How can hotel restaurants respond?
Having developed hundreds of concepts – and operated quite a few – throughout my career, I clearly see the need for a bar-dining concept that’s focused on local street food and crafted drinks. I greatly believe that F&B in hotels will start becoming more connected to local communities, especially street food culture, giving guests the opportunity to enjoy a genuine taste of each respective destination.
This will certainly be the case at ASAI Hotels, Dusit’s new lifestyle brand for millennial-minded travellers, which is designed to connect guests with immersive local experiences in vibrant destinations. The first property under the brand is slated to open this September in Bangkok’s renowned Chinatown district.
It is important to remember we are now living in an experience-driven market in which people buy products or services to feel a certain way.
Providing them with high quality guest rooms, food, and drinks is no longer enough. Customers want to live emotions; they crave experiences – especially personalised ones that will transport their senses to those different dimensions of happiness where indelible memories are made.
While technology is a great enabler of this personalisation, it can never replace the human touch which delivers the authenticity, warmth and genuine care that truly resonates with guests. Post COVID-19, this kind of service will become a real luxury, and I believe we will be looking for more of it to truly feel alive.
I also firmly believe that the true nature of success in the hospitality industry will be defined by our intentions. And in a world where extremes are prevalent, the victors will be those who always put genuine empathy, thoughtfulness, and emotional intelligence first.