The Market Place – Les Roches’ dining room – has undergone a major refurbishment. Gamal El Fakih Rodriguez, Food and Beverage and Practical Training Manager, explains what these changes are and the thinking behind it.
The food and beverage industry is all about concepts; finding the right experience for guests to satisfy their specific needs according to the meal period, their time availability, their curiosity, or just the person.
Most hotels around the world offer different restaurant concepts to resident guests who wish to enjoy a large variety of concepts during their stay.
This is particularly true in large resorts which are located in popular tourist destinations, where the average length of stay surpasses 3-4 days and where guests usually stay within the boundaries of the resort.
It is important for these guests to have different dining options every day, each one aiming to create a different “dining mood”. For city hotels, the competition is fierce when it comes to dining because of free-standing independent restaurants in the neighbourhood. The hotel’s food and beverage offer is therefore limited and usually open to outside guests as well.
It is not rare to see trendy restaurant concepts inside the hotel, but with direct entry from the street in order to attract customers and get a share of this very aggressive market.
The most common food and beverage concepts seen nowadays in the industry are:
• All-day dining restaurants: Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, they usually offer a buffet-style menu with a limited ‘à la carte’. A large variety of menu items displayed in a fashionable way, ethnic cuisines, themed nights and Sunday brunches are some of the common features regularly seen at these types of restaurants. They are open all day long (in some destinations 24 hours around the clock), and they cater for guests usually wishing to have a quick meal. It is a fast-paced, large-volume establishment.
• Fine dining restaurants: Gastronomic restaurants with top of the market menu items presented usually on an ‘à la carte’ menu. These are the top-of-the-industry restaurants with starred Michelin Chefs, the best available products, and obviously priced accordingly. Some ‘old-school’ techniques such as guéridon service, flambés or table carving are still seen in some of these type of restaurants.
• Casual dining restaurants: They have been at the top of the popularity curve for the past 10 years. It is all about the ‘casualization’ of dining. Table service, quick and friendly atmosphere; usually built around a specific theme where guests can relax, have fun and discover innovative concepts, amazing designs and ‘out of the box’ menu items.
• Fast food restaurants, lounges, bars, street food carts and many other concepts will enlarge the list of dining options for hungry customers around the world!
At Les Roches in Bluche, we recently renovated our all day dining restaurant ‘The Market Place’.
The idea was to refresh our main dining room and try to give it a more contemporary look.
Our students can now not only enjoy a food and beverage offer closer to what they will see in the industry, but those on practical training will also have the opportunity to enjoy a very distinctive learning experience in a catering and banqueting concept.
This concept is all about speed of service, efficiency, table maintenance and working in teams to deliver an outstanding guest experience.
With a budget of upward of 100,000 francs, our new Market Place has been redesigned to allow a better flow of customers (and service staff), and improve the efficiency of the operation. This 236 seats restaurant caters for an average of 700 covers for each meal period; and therefore it is crucial that the flow of service works with Swiss precision!
With the new concept, the table layout, chair designs and buffet stations help ensure that the guest should have their meal in an average of no more than 25 minutes, allowing a quicker turn around to accommodate all of our guests usually coming all at the same time.
From the academic perspective, this is also part of the experience: being able to cater so many guests in such a limited amount of time; encourage our kitchen and service students to understand the importance of an efficient mise en place and a perfect synchronization of teams in order to cope with volume of numbers.
With our new Market Place, our students and visitors have now the opportunity to enjoy their meal in a real ‘all-day dining’ restaurant reflecting the best standards of the industry!