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Virtual roundtable: How F&B hospitality is evolving in 2021 & beyond

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Virtual roundtable: How F&B hospitality is evolving in 2021 & beyond

For all brands working in hospitality, shutting up shop due to Covid-19 was a hard pill to swallow. But could F&B hospitality emerge from this crisis evolved and better shaped for the new demand of modern travellers and locals alike? Editor Hamish Kilburn, in association with LUQEL, gathers some of the UK’s leading figures in the industry to find out…

After months of forced closure after Covid-19 brought the UK hospitality scene to its knees more than a year ago, F&B spaces recently took on a new role as the industry showed signs of recovery. With the aim to reconnect, following a brutal recharge, hotels up and down the country re-emerged with purpose, amplifying new trends and sheltering new concepts, to ultimately confront a new chapter in the industry.

Brands of all shapes and sizes did what was necessary in order to innovatively convert their outdoor spaces into exceptional dining experiences. In this exclusive and time-appropriate roundtable, in collaboration with LUQEL, which provides hospitality businesses with state-of-the-art water solutions, we have brought together a handful of the industry’s finest in order to explore how the challenges of today are forcing brand’s to bring to the chef’s table new F&B models, which will essentially help tomorrow’s thriving F&B hospitality landscape.

Meet the panel:

Hamish Kilburn: UK hospitality has been open now for a few weeks, what’s the mood been like in your establishments?

Mario Perera: For us at The Dorchester, we didn’t stop during the pandemic– we were running the hotel with residents living here and when were able to inviting certain people to come and stay. What made the pandemic particularly challenging was that we are currently celebrating our 90th anniversary, so we wanted to make a statement. We decided to open the roof terrace – we are following all the guidelines and doing everything we can to make each guests’ experience memorable – which is something completely new for The Dorchester.

The Dorchester rooftop terrace

During the easing of lockdown measures in the UK, The Dorchester utlised its outdoor space and opened its rooftop as an F&B outlet for the first time in its nine-decade history.

Marco Palazzo: The Kingston 1 and its Solo restaurant have just opened, and it’s been undoubtedly a slow start. While government’s restrictions still in place don’t help us, we’ve been getting a great response from our first guests, which is a reassuring signal for what’s to come that keeps us optimistic for the future.

Conor O’Leary: Touch wood, we have been fortunate with very high demand here at Gleneagles. People tend to come and stay with us in order to escape the city. Over half term, we were running at 95 per cent capacity and we are looking forward to a busy summer. There are restrictions, of course, which we are managing and people are booking less impulsively, but guests do, in general, understand.

Also, this situation has allowed our team to think more creatively. We have installed pop-up bars and ice-cream shacks, for example, in order to encourage guests to be outdoors, which has allowed us to also offer something different and unique for our locals too.

“I think Covid-19 has given more of a thirst for interesting experiences, and to be more mindful as to how and where they will spend their money.” – Josed Youssef, Founder, Kitchen Theory.

James Green: You mentioned the offering increase, have there been areas where the offiering has changed?

COL: We have had to change a few things. We were very well-known for our breakfast buffet before Covid-19 and for the time being that has had to stop. Instead, we are serving 400 a la carte breakfasts a day, which as you can imagine is a challenge in itself. Strathearn restaurant, a classical Franco-Scottish fine dining restaurant, is well known for its table work and trolleys which we have had to limit somewhat but we have compensated with other offerings. With large restaurants, however, we are able to adhere to those restrictions. I have also noticed that interior designers are not just designing F&B spaces that look good anymore, but they are really designing experience concepts and developing from the ground up.

Jozef Youssef: I’d say, now more than ever, we are in this experience economy – I think Covid-19 has given more of a thirst for interesting experiences, and to be more mindful as to how and where they will spend their money. We were moving in this direction anyway, but I see more experimental themes coming out of this. Of course, this is largely driven by social media. There are a lot of hotels and restaurants in London, but I do wonder how many of them are a great once-in-a-lifetime experience – and I think consumers will be demanding that in the near future.

Ivaylo Lefterov: SVART is very unique and F&B plays a massive role in our guest journey experience. We are trying to keep this as bespoke as possible. There are certain challenges that come with that aspiration– for example, we are looking to introduce individual menus for our guests in order to monitor their nutrition from check in to check out. The menu will be based on how their nutrition is changing from a day-to-day basis.

HK: Does everyone see personalised menus being a reality in the future? 

JY: From the research we carry out, I don’t think it’s a question of reality, I think it’s going to become a demand – and kitchens will have to adapt. You can see it happening already. Small personalisations, such a allergens and dietary requirements, that didn’t really come into conversation 15 or 20 years ago, are now an unavoidable reality. Also, back then, chefs were less sympathetic to it. Operations are going to have to adapt to be more flexible to this consumer behaviour.

“The reason why hotels have evolved from simply sheltering the steakhouse or Italian restaurant is that you don’t just have that option on the high street anymore.” – Conor O’Leary, Joint Managing Director, Gleneagles.

HK: So much effort and resources go into pairing food with the best compliment such as wine – it can really enhance your experience, is this still important? Do you see a market for a healthier alternative?

COL: When we re-opened the hotel, Scotland’s regulations prevented us from offering alcohol. The sale of non-alcoholic beverages, on top of water, was vast. Nearly every table ordered non-alcoholic beers, wines or the cocktails we had created. We therefore definitely feel as if there is a need for healthier alternatives to alcohol.

HK: Also, it’s important to remember, with a rise in hotel development outside the city, more customers will be driving to these venues and therefore will be restricted on how much alcohol they consume anyway.

Mario P: For those who want an experience and education in wine, we now offer a very exclusive package for guests. We allow a select few down to the dine in the wine vault and the chef’s table. We also do masterclasses – and this is something we introduced and has been very successful.

JY: Water is the healthiest drink that you can consume and surely there is a way to make that market more premium to those who are going out and experiencing a luxury meal. There should be more of a ritual around water and water choices.

The slick water station by LUQEL is particularly suitable for the hospitality industry and offers users 30 different recipes with individual mineralisation.

The slick water station by LUQEL is particularly suitable for the hospitality industry and offers users 30 different recipes with individual mineralisation.

HK: Conor, you obviously worked in a number of establishments in London before heading up to Gleneagles. What have been the major changes since then and now?  

COL: The overall answer is that the audience is more aware – they go out more than they did before and there’s a lot more understanding around food in general. The reason why hotels have evolved from simply sheltering the steakhouse or Italian restaurant is that you don’t just have that option on the high street anymore. The dining experiences are curated and easily available. Hotels slowly caught up to this. Good businesses are offering something unique – and the dining experiences are different from other areas, such as the lobby, of the hotel. Personalisation is a tricky space, because the best dining experiences are in the hands of the restauranteur – many guests don’t want to think in order to enjoy their dining experience. And that’s before even considering that your guests are international. We have to be relevant nowadays.

Our guests are also changing. We spent a lot of time softening our reputation, and the experience is on their terms.

“Being an architect myself, we tend to be quite arrogant to the usage of the spaces.” – Ivaylo Lefterov, Development Direcotr, Miris

HK: Do you think it’s important for chefs to have exposure of the design plans before their completed?

Marco P: A restaurant represents the personality and style of a chef; I am very lucky to have started at Solo restaurant before it opened as it gave me the opportunity to have a voice in contributing to the creation of the venue’s identity, based on what my vision was. Today, we have a relaxed yet elegant dining venue which is unique in its area, and offers locals a high-quality neighbourhood restaurant with a fine-dining touch.

JY: Traditionally, chefs would work in a private space away from the guests and all the theatre would be performed on the restaurant floor. But then something interesting happened. Restaurants started to open up the kitchens, which became part of the whole aesthetic. Now, for many businesses, chefs are integral to the overall brand and concept. So, moving forward, I do think that chefs should have exposure of the design – certainly the layout of the Kitchen – because it has to be operational. I predict that there will be more collaborations between chefs and designers and other experts in order to create new experiences.

COL: I think we all bring work and life experience into our roles. I think it’s only relevant to bring in chefs into the design stages if they have experience in that area.  It’s important that the design process matches the concept.

IL: Chefs are vital. Being an architect myself, we tend to be quite arrogant to the usage of the spaces. Genius architects in the past have completely ignored functional areas, especially the kitchen and back-of-house spaces. Therefore, you do require knowledge in that area and everyone has to thinking in the same language. For SVART, I chose to bring everyone to the table before the architect in order for us to discuss exactly what we want from a functional element.

Mario P: I agree. Designers are integral but if you can’t get the food right then you have a big problem. In a branded property, everyone is important and everyone should be working together.

“Five years ago, we had signs saying ‘keep off the grass’ and now we have 100 dining tables, chairs and seafood shack on the lawn.” – Conor O’Leary, Joint Managing Director, Gleneagles.

HK: In between lockdowns one and two in the UK, there were less covers in restaurants, due to social distancing, but many reported that average spend per table increased. Could this be a solution in the future?

Mario P: People are happy to pay if their experience is matched. I think a lot has changed, and we too have softened our image. For example, I am more than happy to be out on the floor to pour wine and interact with guests and I think people love that. There’s also more of a dialogue between the consumer and the waiter/waitress. People are asking questions about the menus and just enjoying being out again.

COL: The hardship we have been in has forced that creativity. Five years ago, we had signs saying ‘keep off the grass’ and now we have 100 dining tables, chairs and seafood shack on the lawn We have also seen an increase in average spend per table. I don’t think there is a link between space and spend – I think people are just desperate to enjoy hospitality again.

HK: We have seen a big shift when it comes to sustainability and reduction of carbon emissions, there have been many changes with government legislations around single use plastics, what are your plans to meet the ongoing legislations going forward?

COL: We were sourcing locally anyway, but [during Covid] we were able to really focus heavily in this area. We are opening a small townhouse in Edinburgh later this year and huge part of that concept will be around how we engage and source locally. Everything is looking inwardly and instead of price first, it is community first.

Mario P: I have been practicing this for a while and it something I am very passionate about. It’s really important for me for us to use local farmers where we can.

IL: As you know, the concept for SVART is to offer a personalised menu for our guests around their nutrition but everything we do will be limited to what we can source locally. Part of our concept is to produce a lot of the goods ourselves. We already have a fish farm and we will also have a green farm that will be powered by the waste and energy that we will produce. This is all part of the holistic process.

Also, as we design SVART, we are looking at the source of the material of each and every product that we specify in the hotel – that is very important for this meaningful development.

HK: In other areas of hotel design, the sensory experience is being explored as a meaningful way to shelter a deeper experience. Can you see this working in F&B hospitality?

JY: Undoubtedly. A lot of research we have done over the last few years, that we published recently, the sensory touchpoints are being explored far deeper than ever before on the influence they are having. Your senses are constantly ticking away, helping you to structure your surroundings or the experience you are in. What’s interesting from our research is that there are strong correlations with how sound effects the environment. If you are in a restaurant, for example, and the sound level is above 70 – 80 decibels, the noise level physiologically suppresses your ability to taste sweetness. What we are trying to understand is how colour, shape and sound can help to enhance the experience that guests are having.

IL: With our development, we are engaging with all these senses, subconsciously, to create a meaningful hospitality experience.

HK: Are there any F&B eras you hope don’t re-emerge as trends? 

IL: All-inclusive hotels, globally!

Marco P: Rediscovering simple ingredients and flavours that are good to the soul and bring people together, which is what we try to do at Solo.

JY: It comes back to personalisation. In august of last year public health England announced an obesity crisis. Over the next 10 – 20 years, the population will become even more health aware. I’m of a generation when James Bond smoked, but you wouldn’t think of that in movies released today. Maybe in the future, James Bond will have a lighter drink – or LUQEL water even – at the bar. I think, personally, there will be much more education on healthier alternatives in regards to ingredients.

COL: I think there’s going to be a slight move back towards sophisticated dining. We would have to pay a bit more but I think customers will accept that. And the dining experience would link in to a more meaningful and thoughtful journey.

IL: In comparison to Europe, hospitality brands operating in Bulgaria already offer a vast choice of waters and brands for guests to select from. I can see there being a demand for more interesting water flavours in the future, and I do see that becoming a demand from guests.

Since you’re here, why not read our feature on personalised water for all?

Clearly, this is just the start of the conversation around how F&B will evolve in 2021 & beyond. Hotel Designs will be putting particular emphasis on this topic over the next few months, and may even make a stage appearance at a show or two with hand-picked guests in order to explore the future of F&B in more delicious detail. Stay tuned…

image of restaurant with parquet wooden flooring

How designers can create comfort through flooring

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
How designers can create comfort through flooring

“For hotel interiors, the Covid-19 pandemic will leave a lasting impression on design, as specifiers look to surfaces and flooring to create a comfortable, safe space for guests,” says Sarah Thorpe, Amtico’s hotel specialist…

image of restaurant with parquet wooden flooring

When you walk into a hotel, your eyes are quickly drawn to the different design elements; a contemporary piece of art, ornate chandeliers, or even an impressive staircase. But it’s what is under your feet that plays an important role in hospitality interiors.

Flooring has a multitude of roles to fulfil in a hotel, from guiding guests to the reception and creating the base element for the interior design, to providing a relaxing and comfortable environment in the bedrooms. As hospitality venues re-open and we begin to travel again, hotels will want to make their guests feel as relaxed and content as possible when they stay. We’re already seeing interior design evolve from simply creating extravagant aesthetics, to also actively contributing to positive wellbeing and an improved experience.

While the flooring design enhances the overall aesthetics and mood, resilience is the fundamental quality to ensure the surface can stand up to heavy footfall. It also needs to simultaneously resist scratches, stains or scuffs from heels and suitcases. For these reasons, one of the most popular types of commercial flooring is Luxury Vinyl Tile (LVT). Indeed, this is one of the most versatile, durable and hardwearing products available and it offers complete design freedom – presenting a commercially attractive alternative to other flooring materials, especially natural wood, stone, sheet vinyl and laminates.

LVT is also acoustically superior and offers sound reduction benefits, which helps create a peaceful and quiet atmosphere so that guests can relax. Indeed, the acoustics of an environment can have just as much an impact on a guest’s stay than the hardness of a mattress. At Amtico, we understand the need to reduce noise without compromising design aesthetics; we developed Amtico Acoustic, an enhanced 1mm PVC foam backing layer that works across standard planks and tiles in our Signature, Form and Spacia collections; it enhances the LVT to reduce sound transmission by up to 19dB. This layer also helps to provide enhanced comfort for guests by reducing sound transmission to rooms below, while minimising noise from passing footsteps in a hotel corridor.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also affected how we view the cleanliness of the environments around us. Even when restrictions are lifted and hotels re-open to the public, concerns about infection will remain indefinitely and there will be an even greater need to reassure guests of their safety. Certainly, the concept of promoting positive wellbeing has extended beyond peaceful and calming aesthetics, and LVT safety flooring complements this on a practical level.

The control of bacteria is increasingly important, as is reducing the risk of slips and falls. Our safety flooring LVT products – from the Signature 36+ and Spacia 36+ collections – encompass antimicrobial technology, in addition to near invisible particles that increase friction levels between feet and the surface. As a result, it can offer exceptional levels of slip resistance and prevent the growth of potentially harmful bacteria and fungus while adhering to specific design scheme requirements.

Of course, safety flooring and interior design are not always considered together, with many product specifications focused solely on one element or the other. Part of the design limitations in recent years have been linked to the proliferation of sheet vinyl safety flooring, which is often one-dimensional and lacks natural details. In hotel bars and restaurants, there is growing demand for safety floors with more design variety and a higher quality finish. To offer specifiers greater design scope, our Signature 36+ and Spacia 36+ collections are available in 37 Woods, 12 Stones and three Abstract designs across 11 plank and tile sizes, plus the classic Parquet laying pattern.

The design of a space makes it possible to evoke an emotional response in an individual, which can range from a sense of excitement seeing the room for the first time, through to making them feel relaxed and comfortable in the restaurant. While comfortable upholstered furniture and ambient lighting are naturally considered the first factors to evoke such a response, flooring is also integral to this, as it can convey to occupants how an area should be used. However, the right choice of floor product – provided with a generous commercial warranty – goes a long way in terms of meeting the practical needs of the hotel and its guests, while ensuring durability, long-lasting performance and, importantly, comfort.

Amtico is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Black Friday Deal. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.

Main image caption: Image credit: Amtico

Alfresco dining overlooking the coast

Industry insight: Why alfresco dining is the new normal

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Industry insight: Why alfresco dining is the new normal

Alfresco dining has become more important and popular than ever. See how hotels can tap into this to serve more customers in every season. Canopies UK explores…

Alfresco dining overlooking the coast

When bars and restaurants reopened their doors last July, people flocked to enjoy the summer sunshine in beer gardens and outdoor terraces.

Alfresco dining has long been a desirable experience. Many of us can picture walking along the promenades or cobbled streets of holiday destinations looking for the perfect spot for lunch or an evening cocktail. While this isn’t possible all year round in many countries, particularly the UK, the enthusiasm is certainly there. At the first sight of blue skies, Brits can be seen headed outdoors to eat and drink.

Since the onset of the pandemic, alfresco dining has become necessary. We know it’s much safer to socialise in groups sitting outdoors, and when it’s possible to, many people prefer to do so now.

An outdoor alfresco dining experience

Image credit: Canopies UK

Adapting to the new normal

It’s been suggested we will be living with the threat or presence of pandemics forever. While this idea is a hard pill to swallow, it means societies will find new ways of operating. The way we socialise being one of the main priorities.

It follows that hotels, bars, and restaurants are turning to underused outdoor space to create seating and event space. Designing an outdoor seating area that’s comfortable, appealing, and sheltered, is a way to expand your offering and differentiate from the competition.

Removing weather as an obstacle

We might have the best intentions to enjoy breakfast outdoors or share an evening drink under the stars. But not every destination can rely on warm, dry weather all year round. The solution is to treat the outdoor area as you would an indoor space.

With a bespoke canopy system, you control the climate of your outdoor area. The retractable sides and roof offer flexible shelter and you can heat, light, and ventilate your space to exactly how you want it. Your outdoor area becomes profitable no matter what the weather is doing.

Transforming spaces for the future

Seamlessly blending outdoor and indoor areas is the future of hotel design. Multipurpose terraces, balconies, and rooftops are features guests will look for, particularly when hosting events.

The Savage Garden rooftop canopy installed 12 storeys high on the DoubleTree by Hilton at the Tower of London has become an important function space. Bernadette Gilligan, General Manager of the hotel, explains: “Come rain or shine, guests can enjoy everything from drinks to private events in the space. The retractable canopy – designed and built as bespoke for Savage Garden – means that the terrace can be cosy and covered during winter, and the perfect sun trap come summer.”

Building: Hilton Double TreeLocation: LondonClient: Canopies UK

Image credit: Hilton Double Tree

Hotels that can make their venues as versatile as possible are the businesses that stand the best chance of welcoming more guests in the future. Embracing outdoor dining and the alfresco experience is a promising move in the right direction.

Canopies UK which designs, manufactures, and installs bespoke dining canopies for hospitality venues, most notably the Skyroof and Cantabria systems, is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Canopies UK

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: F&B Design changes post-pandemic

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: F&B Design changes post-pandemic

Now that hospitality is beginning to open its doors once more, we asked Federico Schilling from Flair Studio to explore the challenges of designing F&B areas in the post-pandemic world…

With restaurants and pubs in UK set to reopen before the end of June/beginning of July, there is still a great deal of uncertainty about the measures and trends to be followed to provide a safe, yet engaging experience.

Everybody knows the Coronavirus outbreak is going to change the way we eat in restaurants but, while some of these changes will be short-lived, others will probably endure by becoming either a necessity or just good habits; In this short article I am about to explore how these challenges can change the restaurant design as well as how this can become an opportunity to generate new creative ideas through good design.

In the very short term, for those who have an outdoor space this will be highly valuable but also for those who haven’t, special initiatives so the business can spread outdoors can become very helpful.  In this direction, the temporary pedestrianisation of high streets or neighbourhoods can be seen as an occasion to enable people to socialise again while keeping safety measures into place. The Soho Summer Street Festival can be a great example. It was announced last week by Soho Estates with the aim to ban cars from entering key streets of the area and to request a relaxation from Westminster Council for the licensing of the public highways.

Now l would like to shortly explore what are the restaurant design changes which are probably here to stay by looking into space planning, technology and trends.

It is common sense that initially, the internal layout of medium to large size Restaurants will be revised by reducing the number of tables and by promoting smaller tables, which can be more easily distanced and are more flexible than large banquettes or communal tables. But it is also likely that from early 2021 the layout density will slowly revert back to the pre-lockdown arrangements level with minor changes aimed to provide a safer experience.

On the other hand, costumers will want to avoid touching things which are seen as un-necessary for a longer time: things such as menus, salt and peppers and other shared items will probably disappear and costumers will especially be reluctant to enter toilets unless these haven’t been equipped with adequate measures. If contactless solutions as well as anti-microbial materials can be easily implemented, it is desirable that human interaction with the staff will slowly come back to normal after an initial reduction. Open buffets and food sharing concepts will probably suffer the most and for a longer term, with hotels being the most affected with their large venues for breakfast and business lunches. Also, materials and finishes will change in direction to easily washable, anti-microbial surfaces, sometimes muted from the cruise ship fit-out industry, sometimes from the outdoor furniture collections.

Whether the above will become game changers or not, I believe that we as designers have a duty of care to the end user so that these measures can be implemented without compromising on the quality of the overall guest experience and the design outcome. If safety and well-being are paramount, we also shouldn’t forget that an essential part of eating out is about sharing that experience with the other dining guests, including the importance of the spaces and the atmosphere we share with them. Differentiation through design will then become even more important and this can ultimately help generate new creative ideas.

Flair Studio is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here.

Main image credit: Pixabay

5 Minutes With: F&B talk with Mark Bithrey, Founder & Creative Director, B3 Designers

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
5 Minutes With: F&B talk with Mark Bithrey, Founder & Creative Director, B3 Designers

There is a serious question being put to the industry on whether public areas will ever be the same again. In an exclusive interview with Hotel Designs, Mark Bithrey, the Founder and Creative Director of B3 Designers sits down virtually with editor Hamish Kilburn to discuss F&B design in a post-pandemic world…

In just a few days time, Hotel Designs will go live to the world with its debut virtual conference. The topics we will explore during Hotel Designs LIVE will include technology, sleep, wellness and whether public areas will ever be the same again. In order to understand the role of F&B areas, while also getting an access-all-areas deeper look into the inner workings of the studio, I caught up with Mark Bithrey, the Founder and Creative Director of B3 Designers. The award-winning studio has transformed many F&B hospitality projects, such as The Prince Akatoki, Marriott Hotel Budapest and Ritz-Carlton Geneva among many others.

Hamish Kilburn: Thanks for joining me, Mark. How are you feeling right now as a hospitality interior designer?

Mark Bithrey: The world has been through really tough times, but this one has definitely knocked the hospitality industry for a six. I have always believed in 2 things: that hospitality will forever have a strong place in the world in some form or other, and two, that design plays a pivotal role in shaping a changing world. So I’m feeling a mix of anxious and eager.

HK: When restaurants do eventually open up, we are still looking at reduced covers and therefore revenue. What are your thoughts there?

MB: We have been helping clients redesign their restaurants for social distancing, with beautiful screens and additional features like plants and cushions. But you are right, it can mean reduced revenue. Some of our clients have been really creative and opened up whole new streams of revenue.

Image caption: Design in F&B has spilled into the marketing and packaging of products with a rise in demand for deliver/takeaway service. | Image credit: B3 Designers

HK: There is obviously a lot of focus on takeaways at the moment. How can F&B businesses be more creative when adapting to the times?

MB: Quick service has immense potential. Think about kiosks where you are able to churn out dishes quickly. Our clients at Mei Mei are doing just that, with Michelin star winning Chef Elizabeth Haigh at its helm. Also consider Itsu/Pret style shops, with impactful branding and graphics on the floor. You can look into takeaway/delivery-only kitchens with creative food packaging. Extra brownie points for eco-friendly packing! We are working with a Vietnamese restaurant in London at the moment to use clever packaging to build out loyalty, repeat orders, and engagement.

Image caption: Mei Mei has adapted its offer during the pandemic to focus on takeaway service | Image credit: B3 Designers

HK: Speaking of food delivery, it does mean that restaurants are reliant on the large delivery services that eat into their revenue considerably. How can they move away from using the shared delivery systems?

MB: Yes, indeed! Have you heard of Mumbai’s dabbawalas? It’s an incredible concept. Think localised kitchens, subscription meals, and your own fleet of delivery folk racing food on bicycles. Typically, a kitchen will cook a few hundred meals a day. The subscription lunch will include food that can be batch cooked – so a lentil dish, a curry, rice, and perhaps some bread. This is then packed into stainless steel “tiffin” boxes, and delivered quickly, while the food is still hot. Because the kitchens are localised, nobody is travelling more than a couple of kilometers and they are often the service teams themselves. The previous day’s box is picked up and brought back – no packaging waste!

Food trucks are another way to circumvent delivery commissions. With all the right permissions, you could set up in a park/outdoor space and serve up anything you want to, really. Think also about drive-throughs or walk-past counters for food pick up. You can even offer an interesting experience (graphics/games) while they wait in line.

Image caption: Gourmet takeaway food truck | Image credit: B3 Designers

Image caption: Gourmet takeaway food truck | Image credit: B3 Designers

HK: What about fine dining, how can businesses integrate social distancing into this concept?

MB: Without a doubt, fine dining is going to change for a while. Restaurants that get very crowded are going to have to give customers more room – which can be quite cool if you think about it.

Smaller restaurants however, are quite fortunate and can use their spaces to offer truly caring experiences. We have worked with Michelin star winning Chef Tom Aikens in the past, whose restaurant Muse spans 950 sq ft. “Muse is very unique in that it is for guests not only looking for great food in a very special restaurant, but welcomes them as if they were in their own home. Guests will always get special care and now more than ever, of being looked after and pampered,” said Aikens.

If you have outdoor space, however small, milk it. Erect pods or beautiful temporary structures. Adapt for weather changes with fans and space heaters. You could also think about bringing your restaurant completely outside – are you on a street that could be pedestrianised, or do you have parking space that could be converted?

For indoor spaces, think gorgeous on-brand free standing folding screens. In hotels, use your banquet rooms as restaurants so you can offer more space between tables.

If you want to be really creative, as the rules relax more, consider catering services for small gatherings, or even a fine dining experience that you can take to people’s homes. We may follow off where you mention that Muse is small, and say that it is massive in experience.

HK: Is there a way for F&B professionals to go where customers already are?

MB: Supermarkets and the internet! This is a great time to consider creating your own line of sauces/pastas/food kits. Paired with solid branding and graphics, it could open up a whole new stream of revenue. Could you create barbecue kits for example, with recipes and ingredients?

We are spending a ridiculous amount of time on the internet now. Host cooking lessons and sell kits after. And remember to up your digital presence – it is the only way people will learn of your restaurant/hotel’s F&B offerings.

Main image credit: B3 Designers

INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Visualising the future of F&B spaces in hotel design

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
INDUSTRY INSIGHT: Visualising the future of F&B spaces in hotel design

Hospitality will awake from the pandemic to face new challenges when it comes to designing F&B spaces. Hotel Designs turns to the CGI experts at North Made Studio to try and visualise the future of these public-facing outlets…

With the industry on a hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, there will be some important future choices to make for hoteliers.

These choices will need to be made in all areas, but may become most stark within the F&B spaces of their hotels.

Until government guidelines are released, exactly how this sector of the hotel industry will proceed is a mystery. Dictating dates for reopening and the easing of certain measures will be crucial to define how the industry needs to adapt.

Should measures not be eased enough and distancing remain in place for the foreseeable future, questions will need to asked about profitably for certain spaces in a ‘socially-distanced’ world. Within the hotel sector F&B spaces may not be deemed a profitable use of available space.

From a visualisation perspective there may be more focus put on the finer details of a F&B space. Viewpoints centred around individual seating areas, up-selling the attributes of the table setting, rather then focusing on the overall aspect of the whole F&B interior area.

Some hoteliers my choose to get ahead of the game and move F&B spaces outdoors, allowing the potential for these spaces to open sooner. Over the last few years interior design for the luxury F&B sector has tried to bring the outdoors in, with Biophilia becoming a growing trend. This potential move of F&B spaces from indoor to outdoors would switch this around. Visually this could allow for outdoor F&B spaces to be depicted with extensive greenery, using the current trend and taking it beyond what was capable within an indoor environment. Or the alternative could happen, and a drive to bring the indoor aesthetic to outdoor spaces could become a trend.

The visualisation sector is geared up to work with both interior and exterior spaces, minimising any differentiation between the CG imagery produced in terms quality or realism.

Another possibly trend for F&B spaces within the hotel sector may be to move more than just the seating/eating areas outdoors. With the popularity of street food kiosks, van and trailers, There is the potential to move the complete catering service outside. Providing an innovative feature to the hotel experience that also opens up the F&B space to the general public, increasing potential custom.

Another great possibility of this is that the catering trailer/van can easily be switched out, to provide customers will different food and drink offerings on a regular basis. Incredible engaging visualisation can be produced for these kinds of external spaces. Creating the scene is just the start, population elements can be embedded within the scene to built a complete visual that includes food trailers, tables, chairs, different demographic of people. Finer details can also be added such as drinks on tables, litter bins. The more detailed the space is visualised, the more realistic and engaging it can be.

To further explore the future of F&B spaces in hotel design, we need to take things back to a pre-COVID stage. Many companies are simply waiting out the Coronavirus pandemic, putting projects on hold, in the hope that things will return to some semblance of normality. For these type of businesses the visual aspects of their F&B spaces will continue to follow current trends.

Experiential

Customers need to be enticed to utilise the F&B facilities within the hotel, creating engaging design with attractive styling is key. Sell these experiences during the early phases of a project with 360 degree viewpoints and visual reality tours can be a great way of boosting interest and getting designs approved.

Convenience

A core factor for F&B spaces in hotels is their convenience. Ensuring the spaces are easily accessible and positioned close to heavy footfall areas, will help to increase their usage. Positioning and ‘eye-catching’ features can be showcased via traditional still CG images, assisting the planing and development phases.

Variety

No two hotel customers are the same, with hotel spaces being used for both business and pleasure, the needs of specific customers will vary. Offering a variety of services with a F&B space will accommodate for ‘on the go’ customers as well as those customers who have more time to sit down and have a full meal. Showcase these innovative features via the use of cameo shot visuals.

Adaptability

The ability for a F&B space to be multi-purpose is vital. Catering for breakfast, lunch, snacks, dinner and drinks allows for the capture of more customers throughout the day.

With the core features of the space remaining the same, the F&B space can be created in CGI for visualisation purposes, and redressed several times to show the adaptability of the space.

Image credit: North Made Studio

Overall F&B spaces within hotels are facing some challenging times. But whatever happens in the future regarding reaction to COVID, these spaces will always be required  in some form. And the visualisation sector will be there to assist with what changes to the design ethos are needed. If new ways to communicate a space are required, the technological advancements in virtual reality could be the key to creating ongoing engagement in the future.

North Made Studio is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: North Made Studio

CASE STUDY: Designing modern interiors for Kahani

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
CASE STUDY: Designing modern interiors for Kahani

KAI Interiors were approached by Michelin starred chef Peter Joseph to design his first solo venture restaurant, Kahani…

Taking inspiration from the concept of sharing food and swapping stories, essences of Indian anecdotes and fables have been scattered around the restaurant, this led to the name ‘Kahani’ meaning stories in Hindi.

Set in the beautiful Sloane square, underneath the Phoenix House Hotel and opposite Cadogan Hall you will discover a deep green set of double doors nestled into the classic architecture of Wilbraham Place.

As you enter, you see a beautiful upholstered wall that is made of soft blush, woven leather, this leads guests down the stairs. Indian antiquities and Kavaad [Indian story boxes] line the steps. You pass a warm mustard velvet curtained private dining room that is inspired by India’s national bird, the peacock. It’s a luxurious room in deep blues and greens. Using a large deep blue leather table top with brass trim and an elegant slim brass chandelier above, this space creates a cosy environment in which guests can enjoy a unique and intimate experience.

The ceiling is filled with an imprint of millions of miniscule beads laid out in an elegant weaving pattern. The chairs are deep blue velvet with a woven leather backing. Bespoke wallpaper, beautifully hand drawn by the team at Lyons and Tigers Creative Agency hangs as a backdrop to the room. The private room overlooks the main restaurant space with a balcony style mezzanine level. From above you might be able to notice the K within the timber floor boards, laid in different angles with brass trims.

Image credit: Kahani/KAI Interiors

One of the main obstacles we had to face was that this is a lower ground floor restaurant, we wanted the space to feel indulgent and luxurious rather than like a basement. To do this the main restaurant opens out to a double height ceiling with beautiful bespoke, suede ribbon chandeliers emphasising the height and openness.

Additionally, the back wall of the restaurant is home to the extensive wine cellar, exposed through a huge wall of glass it again emphasises the scale of the space.

As you enter the main restaurant, on the left there is one of KAI’s favourite features, a beautiful mosaic wall. This involved mixing a special render to obtain the exact colour, then meticulously hand placing the small, square mosaic tiles piece by piece into a pattern that was taken from Indian architecture. Sat in line with the mosaic wall is beautiful teal velvet seating, embellished with Indian embroidered ribbon.

The room dividers give privacy to the bar area with a peacock feather embossed glass and timber panel. Sat in the back corner is the original fireplace with cosy armchairs and a traditional Indian carved table.

One of the challenges was finding a balance between making the interiors exciting and welcoming but without detracting too much from the food and drink. Peter’s food is amazing, it’s so colourful and we had to think about how it would look on the table. The edge of the tables were etched with a henna pattern which linked with the bespoke henna style wallpaper we had hand drawn. If you look closely you can follow several fables within the wallpaper. We’ve used warm colours in the upholstery that don’t detract and kept the walls quite neutral, we wanted to ensure hints of India enriched the space.

Image credit: Kahani/KAI Interiors

The toilets are intimate yet exciting spaces. Taking inspiration from a colourful wall painting in India. We developed a pattern that was filled with hands poised in different positions replicating the different Mudras (hand gestures), rich greens and soft pinks covered the walls. As you look in the mirror your reflection is engulfed in the pattern behind. Terrazzo basins echoed the colours from the walls, matched with elegant brass taps.

The bar, meanwhile, has been modelled on Chand Baori, which is a beautiful step well of 3,500 narrow steps built over a thousand years ago in the Indian state of Rajasthan. Textured wallpapers are a back drop to the brass cantilevered steps that appear to be floating whilst displaying the premium alcohol offering. Elegant tubular pendant lights glow above the bar counter which is timber with marble infill’s. The bar façade is a unique herringbone veneer to give a subtle nod to the back bar steps.

KAI Interiors is one of the brands that has taken advantage of our Industry Support Package. To keep up to date with supplier news, click here. And, if you are interested in also benefitting from this  three-month editorial package, please email Katy Phillips by clicking here.

Main image credit: Kahani/KAI Interiors

Speakers announced for Hotel Designs’ F&B summits and forums

730 565 Hamish Kilburn
Speakers announced for Hotel Designs’ F&B summits and forums

The Food & Drink Innovation Summit and the Catering Equipment & Services Forum both take place at Whittlebury Hall, Northamptonshire on March 30 – 31, 2020…

Next month, the industry’s leading suppliers and hospitality professionals will gather at Whittlebury Park for Forum Events’ Food & Drink Innovation Summit and the Catering Equipment & Services.

The unique two-day adjacent events will consist of one-to-one pre-arranged business meetings as well as a line up of professional speakers who will, together, unpick the ever-evolving trends and conversations on the F&B scene in hospitality.

Freelance journalist Sudi Pigott will ask the audience to expand their culinary boundaries when she delivers her engaging talk entitled: “The ever-evolving world of food trends”.

The session will explore the new ingredients, food cultures, rediscovering of forgotten flavours, making restaurant dining more experiential and why women of food matter.

Meanwhile, Anne-Marie, Food & Beverage Lecturer at Leeds City College will discuss what for many will be the elephant in the room. Her talk on:“The food and drink service revolution before and after Brexit”, will discuss Brexit’s impacts on service styles and diversity within the sector and what impacts being in Europe has made to the Industry.

How to attend Food and Drink Innovation Summit

If you are a supplier at the Food and Drink innovation Summit or Catering and would like to attend, please email Liam Cloona, or call 01992 374089.

If you are a delegate and would like to attend Catering Equipment & Services Summit the event, please email Annabelle Crossingham or call 01992 374054.

How to attend Catering Equipment & Services Forum

If you are a supplier at the Catering Equipment & Services Forum and would like to attend, please email Haydn Boxall or call 01992 374084.

If you are a delegate and would like to attend Catering Equipment & Services Summit the event, please email Annabelle Crossingham or call 01992 374054.

Macaulay Sinclair transforms former met bar into Gridiron at Como Metropolitan London

Hamish Kilburn

The interior, architecture and design studio behind the new Gridiron restaurant within COMO Metropolitan London Hotel in Old Park Lane, Mayfair has been unveiled as Nottingham-based Macaulay Sinclair

Design studio Macaulay Sinclair, which has created exceptional spaces for the hospitality sector such as Gleneagles, has transformed the former Met Bar into the new 60-cover restaurant and bar at COMO Matropolitan London Hotel, which opened this autumn.

Headed up by co-directors John Macaulay and Mike Sinclair, the studio has worked with a number of well-known multi-site and independent restaurant and bar operators across London and beyond, including Hawksmoor, Dishoom and Wright Brothers.

“The Met Bar was a go-to London destination and the celebrity haunt of the nineties and noughties era,” Sinclair said. “We are proud to have been part of the team to bring an indulgent and intimate dining experience into such a landmark location.”

The prestigious venue will be overseen by renowned chef Richard H. Turner of Turner and George, Blacklock, Hawksmoor and Meatopia.

Mike continued: “In order to give the new restaurant and bar its own identity while remaining synonymous with the COMO brand the interior design has been kept simple and understated, providing a subtle backdrop for Turner’s kitchen.”

Paying homage to the art of grilling over an open fire, the new restaurant has an open kitchen with modern live-fire grillroom. The interior is dominated by monochrome palette throughout, with accents of red, dark wood and marble. Wall finishings remain simple and sleek, and the stripped back furniture matches the ethos of the food and service: comfort and style without unnecessary formality.

 

 

Interior of the restuarant

Indoor-outdoor restaurant experience to open in luxury hotel in Chester, England

800 534 Hamish Kilburn

Palm Court Restaurant, Bar & Piano Lounge will open in to Chester’s Grosvenor Pulford Hotel & Spa this month…

A dining experience with a difference will be unveiled in Chester’s Grosvenor Pulford Hotel & Spa this month with the opening of Palm Court Restaurant, Bar & Piano Lounge.

Nelson Hotels have opened the multi-purpose dining venue with the aim to meet all needs of hotel guests, local residents, and visitors to the area. “We identified the need for a restaurant which would be suitable for all occasions and all guests,” said Harold Nelson, Chairman of Nelson Hotels. “Our vision was to create more than just a restaurant and so Palm Court will cater throughout the day and appeal to all dining requirements from casual to special occasion.”

The £1.5 million dining venue has been designed by award-winning interior design consultancy Lister Carter. With an impressive glass ceiling, the space has taken inspiration from a Victorian Palm House, bursting with the greenery of the Kentia Palm tree. The intimate restaurant and bar blends exposed industrial style metalwork and brickwork with luxurious crystal chandeliers, antique mirrors and bronze fretwork. The exposed steel, aged glass and bronze artwork lends itself to a warm but stripped back feel. A mix of marble and wood tables, comfortable leather and velvet chairs and plush sofas offers the customer a sumptuous experience whether it be morning coffee or evening cocktails.

One of the main focal points of Palm Court is a black Yamaha baby grand piano set amidst bubbling fountains and lush palm trees. As well as being the highest quality acoustic piano, it is a famed entertainment piano which boasts thousands of self-playing songs, so even without the pianist it will be music for the ears.

Dining experience

Palm Court is also home to an exclusive wine cave with floor to ceiling wine racks showcasing Laurent Perrier Champagnes and housing almost 100 different varieties of old and new world wines and Champagnes along with specially selected, fine cellar wines. Mirrored walls and a crystal seed chandelier give a luxurious, chic feel. With a poser table seating up to six people, the wine cave will be used for wine tastings and exclusive private dining.

Country-house style dining area

Hilton Puckrup Hall completes contemporary F&B renovation

800 533 Hamish Kilburn

The hotel’s F&B areas in the Cotswolds was designed by Central Design Studio…

Inspired by the colours and textures of the nearby Cotswolds countryside with a contemporary spin, Hilton Puckrup Hall has completed an F&B renovation that was led by Ian Haigh, creative director Ian Haigh of Central Design Studio.

The aim of the renovation was to create a restaurant and bar with a modern, British feel.

Olive wallcoverings and royal blue carpets

Designed to resemble more of a country house rather than a hotel public area, the restaurant is a celebration of local British produce, without being old-fashioned or stuffy. Modern paintings adorn the walls, and quality crafted furniture and upholstery add to the sense of place.

The bar has an informal character whatever the time of day. Dark woods and a deep indigo colour scheme complement tactile British fabrics and finishes, again with colourful and curated artwork playing a part.

Many of the furniture and lighting pieces were designed bespoke by Central Design Studio, in close collaboration with various artisans and manufacturers in the UK and Ireland. In addition, the artwork was curated and commissioned especially for the project, including the large-format paintings that hang in the restaurant, using up-and-coming illustrators and artists.

Light, airy interiors in dining area

“The challenge with this project was to make the space feel contemporary, without compromising on that cosy and comfortable atmosphere,” said Haigh. “The artwork in particular really helps this, as it brings a  subtle energy and freshness to the design.”

Accents of lightly antiqued brass add to the sense of familiarity and warmth, and run throughout the whole design. This is highlighted by two large, hand-crafted brass screens made in South East London. Designed by Central Design Studio in collaboration with Creative Metalwork, they are a real feature and talking point and cleverly used to divide up the restaurant space.

High-quality Axminster carpet was chosen for the floor finish in both the restaurant and the bar, again to a tailored design developed by Central Design Studio and Brintons. The pantry on the other hand, used primarily for breakfast service, has more of a country kitchen aesthetic to it with a limestone-effect floor and lighter colour scheme.

Key Suppliers

Main Contractor: Zenith
Joinery Contractor: Wreake Valley
Lighting (bespoke chandeliers): Northern Lights
Brass screens: Creative Metalwork
Furniture (bespoke banquettes): Craftwoord
Furniture (general): Contract Chair Co. / Inside Out
Carpet: Brintons

Lodore Falls Hotel unveils new restaurant as part of £10m renovation

640 427 Hamish Kilburn

Lodore Falls Hotel, part of the Lake District Hotels group, has announced the launch of its new 70-seater Pan Asian restaurant, Mizu

Taking its name from the Japanese for ‘falling water’, Mizu occupies a prime and appropriate spot, directly overlooking the stunning Lodore Falls waterfall.

Becoming the hotel’s second restaurant, Mizu reflects a relaxed ambiance with cool, elemental colours, floor-to-ceiling windows coupled with natural textures and materials.

Leading the interior design project was Ashleigh Doherty from Greyline Design. She said: “Mizu took inspiration from the local colour palette of warm green hues mixed with timber elements reflecting the surrounding woods. A modern feeling has been retained with contrasting concrete tiling, glazed bar front and a beautiful geometric floor. We have tried to honour the clients own heritage with Scandinavian style furniture upholstered in rich, tweed fabrics bringing warmth and texture to the restaurant.  A lounge area was added with luxurious deep buttoned leather sofas and comfortable chairs. Feature pendant and wall lights enhance warmth, creating a comfortable and relaxing atmosphere.”

Scheduled to launch mid May, the new restaurant’s open kitchen allows for guests to watch talented head chef Kasun Jayasooriya as he serves up a fusion of Asian dishes.

Marketing Director of Lake District Hotels, Daniella Hope, said: “We are delighted to have made recent investment, such as refurbishing our public areas, developing new larger, luxurious bedroom suites and now with the creation and launch of Mizu restaurant. The stunning natural beauty of the Lake District makes it a competitive market place but we at Lodore Falls Hotel are confident that we offer something uniquely exciting.”

The hotel’s overall investment is £10 million, with phase one now complete and saw the refurbishment of the hotel’s entire ground floor. Phase two sees the opening of Mizu restaurant and four spacious bedroom suites. As well as a further 14 bedroom suites and the much anticipated, The Falls Spa will launch during mid September 2018.

lakedistricthotels.net/lodorefalls