F&B Task Forces – Not Just for New Open Situations

Using a Task Force Strategy in Comprehensive F&B Change Projects By: Scott Martiny

You have scorecarda huge business growth opportunity in your hotel bar. The key to growth is refocusing the operation on the intended target customer experience – extended hang out customers. (see www.Extended-Hangout-Customers.com) You have score carded the operation. (see www.Scorecarding-Your-Hotel-Bar.com). That scorecard documents a comprehensive change mission that cannot be done piecemeal. You have the mission defined in a Playbook. (see www.Playbooks-An-F&B-Change-Strategy.com) But the action steps defined in that plan are an impossible workload for an already busy property F&B management team. In addition you know in many areas the expertise required to get each action step done correctly and efficiently is beyond the local team.

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

In 10 seconds can you describe what kind of guest experience I can expect in your hotel bar? On the internet that’s how much time you have when someone visits your website. It took 6 seconds to read that sentence – you have 4 seconds left…. No wonder effective digital marketing strategies focus on pictures and video to get their messages across. But not all pictures are the same. Some speak more clearly and with greater appeal then others. Walk through the pictures below. Which bar looks like the right place to go at the end of a business day, with friends or business associates who may or may not stop by? picture worth 1000 words

Which one would you pick? Your answer defines what market segment you fall in. Maybe your answer might depend on what day, time or circumstance you are in. But each one of these picture makes it clear what the intended guest experience will be. That is because a picture is worth a thousand words.

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target customers The primary customer for a Hotel F&B outlet is hotel guests, but the bar/restaurant experience is also becoming a preferred choice for a growing non hotel guest market segment. Whether it be an end of business day crowd or transient visitor crowd, or even an end of day local residence crowd, a lot of these potential customers don’t want to go to a destination restaurant, or to a party bar – they want the same experience as your hotel guest.

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Would someone be impressed if you posted a $500K growth in beverage revenues in the coming year, or dropped your beverage costs by 3 points? Most hotel F&B operations are “hold position” budgeted, which means the numbers goals for next year are often the same as the numbers achieved for last year. The Edgewater Hotel in Seattle, WA found a way to break out of that status quo cycle. It started with an Assessment in January 2016. One year later they were looking back at a $400K beverage business growth, and a 6 point drop in liquor costs. Here is their story…

In the spring of 2015, Noble House Hotels & Resorts decided to move forward with a partnership with Strategic Beverage Solutions (SBS). The goal was to explore bar performance improvement opportunities at all Noble House properties with managed F&B operations. The consultant team at SBS fanned out in a plan to do the initial assessments. In January 2016 an assessment was completed at the Edgewater Hotel, an iconic centerpiece of the Noble House portfolio tucked on the edge of Elliott bay in Seattle, WA. Six | Seven was a major Seattle destination restaurant with a reputation for fantastic dinners while soaking in gorgeous waterfront views. But the bar side of the business was also rapidly evolving into a popular end of business day and transient visitor hangout spot for great cocktails and small bites.

The goal of the Assessment project was delivering feedback on opportunities and ideas to both grow the business and improve profitability. The process involved looking at all aspects of the product; venue setup, menus, service strategy and execution along with marketing strategy. Dozens of ideas were developed including implementation of an SBS Beverage Watch Plus solution to help the business improve beverage profitability.

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Living Room Bar Concepts – A Winning Formula For Hotels/Resorts

Hotels & Resorts have always faced the challenge of targeting the needs of a hotel guest for a place to relax at the end of a long business or travel day – and yet still be able to pull non-hotel guests into their bar/restaurant venues.

It’s Not a Restaurant/Bar Strategy Any Longer – Its Bar/Restaurant?

There are plenty of success stories in the Hotel/Resort F&B world where world class destination restaurants and or high volume active lounge venues are pulling the majority of their customers out of local nonhotel guest markets. There are operators who execute those business venues/models very effectively – such as Sbe, Noble House, Kimpton, Sage and others. But the vast majority of hotels and resorts are missing the business wave which comes when your bar is a living room bar.

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Is Your Hotel Bar & Restaurant Missing The Non Hotel Guest Opportunity?

Strategic Bar Solutions (SBS) travels the United States visiting hundreds of hotels performing F&B Assessments.  The goal of these visits are to bring an experienced bar business eye to a hotel bar situation and deliver feedback to property GM’s and F&B leaders.   Every property situation turns out to be different.  Opportunities are not consistent and the strategy to go after an opportunity is often driven by the specifics of a local situation.   We don’t look at blowing everything up and starting from scratch.  We aren’t fixated on creating perfect cocktails and the world’s best flatbread.  We focus on spotlighting available chess moves that will move F&B revenues up and costs down. One chess move we continuously find that makes sense for F&B within the hotel is the execution of an inbound marketing strategy.  The need for executing a bar inbound marketing program is dictated by two factors:
  • Its tough to compete against all of the bar options in your local market, but Living Room concept bars are proving to not only be preferred by your hotel guests, they are a unique and preferred choice of a lot of potential local and transient customers.
  • Hotel marketing programs are often world class, but the bar in the end is just an amenity.  When you have a bar and a market situation which can pull in nonhotel guests, the lack of inbound marketing limits the connect potential with a customer constituency that could double your F&B revenues.

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Assessment Programs – The Right First Step in a Beverage Performance Improvement Project

“What would you pay to have an experienced bar operations person you can trust, analyze your numbers, visit with and interview your team, observe your operation in high volume mode and then share with you any and all potential beverage performance improvement opportunities and ideas on how to go after those opportunities? How about $0? The SBS Assessment Program – a perfect first step if you are looking to improve beverage performance results in your bar and banquet operations.” -Scott Martiny | CEO Strategic Beverage Solutions


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Margin Management – A New Way of Looking at Your Bar Business

Margin Management – A New Way of Looking at Your Bar Business By: Scott Martiny

Beverage cost is an industry performance metric owners, asset managers and general managers look to in assessing bar performance. A budget target is set and tracked against in P&L reporting. Whether automated inventory tools or simple excel spreadsheets are utilized, the resulting numbers are generated and woe the beverage operation that is tracking over its budget target.

But a funny thing happens along the way. Numbers jump up and down from one month to the next, often in ways that could not possibly reflect actual improvement in or degradation of performance in the operation. “It must be the accounting, or the inventory process, or an event we had” are some of the usual explanations. An operation with a major improvement opportunity can get celebrated for its success because the numbers are fine or a good operation comes under pressure because the numbers are not. There is no opportunity in the budget process to define what the numbers should be and they often just end up being the same as last year. No process occurs to reflect on what the number should be given all the givens and how changing business mix and purchase costs factors could affect the numbers positively or negatively.

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Making The Leap – A New Banquets Beverage World

Making the Leap – A New Banquets Beverage World By: Scott Martiny

Some things never change, so the story goes. You can put banquets bars on that list. For decades now it’s been 8 bottles of liquor, and a couple of bottled beer and wine choices. It was boring then and it’s still boring. But most times we drink for free, so what should we expect anyway? For the event sponsor, however, they still get the invoice, and they still erupt, absolutely certain there was no way we all drank that much.

30 years ago there was no way to approach a banquet beverage bar setup differently. It’s challenging to setup a bar, take a starting and ending inventory, manually calculate consumption, then the invoice all in the course of one evening. Add to that the competitive pressure to win events which makes price a big decision factor, and it’s no wonder banquet bar programs are a race to the lowest common denominator.

But some things have changed. Technology is now providing new options which, if embraced, can dramatically change the way you approach your banquet beverage service offering. In so doing you can improve your overall competitiveness in securing event business while improving your beverage revenue yield per event. Beverage monitoring technology allows everything about banquet beverage service to be reconsidered. Now you can know exactly what and how much is poured, when it’s poured. That capability unleashes the chains which have traditionally bound banquet bar operations to status quo.

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