Hospitality Highlights 12th February 2020
Thanks to TripAdvisor, restaurant owners now have the ability to respond to customer reviews. The company have launched their ‘Review Hub’ which is a dashboard that will allow business owners to interact with customers across a range of sites, from Facebook, Google, Yelp and LinkedIn itself. The platform will allow restaurant owners the right of reply following a complaint, but it will also allow them to thank customers for their reviews. From a customer service point of view, this is a positive step, but it’s also likely to help restaurants market themselves and build a community online. Read full story here.
Michelin introduce a new icon to represent sustainability for restaurants featured in their reviews. From now on any star-rated restaurants appearing in Michelin’s guidebooks will be able to earn a green clover symbol to demonstrate their commitment to environmental and other green causes. Restaurants that focus on ‘preserving resources, embracing biodiversity, reducing food waste and reducing their reliance on non-renewable energy’ will be first in line for the prestigious symbol. The symbol was first seen in France and was awarded to 50 restaurants before Michelin committed to a global roll-out. Read full story here.
AA’s Rosette scheme will no longer be free for pubs and restaurants that are not part of a hotel or B&B guesthouse. A charge will now be applicable for those businesses who want to continue to be featured in AA’s guidebooks and website. Prior to this news, such establishments enjoyed the same benefits as paying customers but didn’t need to pay a fee. The AA has revealed that this is a necessary change, as those who value their position will pay the fee to continue to be associated with “the benchmark of excellence” that membership implies. While not everyone will welcome the change, it will allow Rosette winners to stand out. Read more here.
Hilton Hotel’s annual Masters Grand Final took place earlier this week at the Hilton Brisbane. Its aim was to find the crop of ‘culinary superstars’ from all over Australasia. The event typically has three separate award categories on offer from; Culinary, Barista and Bar specialists. Each gets to show off their skills in an effort to take home one of the prestigious awards and take home the Cup from each category. The winners were as follows, Culinary Cup – Tua Fatongiatau, Barista Cup – Sophie Dewhurst and the Bar Cup was won by Aaron Foo. Congratulations to all three. See full story here.
New York City Council weighs in on ‘Ghost Kitchens’ in an effort to regulate the growing phenomenon. A ghost kitchen (which is just one name among many) are eating establishments that exist outside of traditional buildings and what we would consider a ‘normal’ restaurant. They often appear as ‘pop-up’ restaurants serving customers under the banner of an established chain or upcoming restaurant, which may or may not have an actual brick and mortar home. The City council appreciate the good that ghost kitchens can do in helping a business succeed, but they have expressed concern that there is a lack of responsibility and this could lead to health violations if left unchecked. It’s expected that new legislation will be drawn up to ensure proper regulation. Read the full story here.
Recent reports seem to show McDonalds is suffering from a worrying decline in customer traffic. While the global fast-food giant is still profitable, certain sites are confirming much less footfall than previously enjoyed and that if left unchecked, this could pose a serious threat to the business over time. According to an article published last year, the company’s investors are becoming worried. To counter the figures McDonald’s have simply altered their expectations to make the figures appear less worrying. But this doesn’t do anything to entice customers back into restaurants. Special offers are also seen as an unlikely solution, creating a culture of ‘deal loyalty’ instead of real and tangible ‘brand loyalty’. Read the whole story here.
KFC and online greeting card company Moonpig have joined forces for Valentine’s Day. Their goal is to create a range of “finger lickin’” gift cards for the annual romantic holiday. Not only will each card feature some kind of clever chicken-related pun, such as ‘fancy a peck?’, but these limited-edition greeting cards will also contain scratch-and-sniff elements based on famous KFC recipes. In celebration of the recent launch of its vegan menu, one of the cards will read, “Will you be my vegan-tine? See the whole story here.
Hostels across Europe have reported a “mixed” set of results coming out of 2019. Hostels may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but they are vital to those who travel on a budget. London reported a high amount of growth, reporting a 2.2% increase in guests in 2019. But cities like Berlin and Edinburgh reported a decline, with the latter’s being around 3.3%. Such figures do have a tendency to fluctuate, but it’s believed that current political issues of the day may have had a knock-on effect. Especially from people travelling to and from cities in the UK. Get the full breakdown of figures here.
Travelodge has revealed some of the most interesting items they’ve had left in their hotel rooms. From Tiffany engagement rings, a recently deceased relative’s ashes, the deeds to a business, a gallon of water from Loch Ness to a Persian Chinchilla cat! While most of the items left behind are mundane household items that you’d expect to be left behind in a hotel room, such as phone chargers, many of the items on the list will surprise you. 6ft artificial palm tree anyone? Read the whole list here.