During recent trips we have noticed two things about the restaurants in Marriott Hotels.
1. They, serve nice breakfasts, but, in general, are not very good at dinner. We have been disappointed, multiple times.
2. They seem to be very quiet. Perhaps we are not the only ones to have noticed the lack of an inviting menu and the poor quality of the food served. At the Savannah Riverfront Marriott, on a recent Saturday evening, at 6:30 PM, there was not a single customer in the restaurant, and only a few in the bar. These operations cannot possibly be very profitable.
As a hotel guest, I'd like to have the option of a nice meal in the hotel when I am too tired to go out.
As a shareholder, I'd like to see these restaurants generating profits for the corporation.
I found it interesting to read the following link below after seeing your post; essentially the article is about how once again Marriott is "going cutting edge". Who can blame them, they have been lauded for their FlashPerks, their LocalPerks, their Mobile check in, and their Travel Brilliantly campaign -
1) FlashPerks had some deals but certainly appeared to be more about the hype
2) LocalPerks as we discovered is only offered in a handful of properties (not cities, properties)
3) Mobile check in - not much to write home about either from reports of the users
4) Travel Brilliantly - a healthy food vending machine and an Insiders boards for hotels (anyone seen them?)
So far the sizzle has outstripped the steak, but like I said, who can blame Marriott for hitting the sweet spot of good PR?
So here we go again with the ol' razzle dazzle - Billy Flynn would be proud (and, like you as a shareholder, I say, go man, go).
For those without the time to read the article - essentially it's about how Marriott is encouraging food entrepreneurs to "realize their amazing food and drink concepts in the company's hotels" focusing on the next generation of customers (no doubt to be implemented in an Autograph in Azerbaijan, but what the heck, they'll be trending on Millennial's Facebook pages and Twitter feeds).
Marriott, who is crafting a strategy to pursue the Millennial, may well be ok with some of their hotel restaurant offerings being on the average side of performance, since many marketing gurus think the following, about the new target audience and hotel food;
"Millennials are always on the go and can't afford the time or expense of table-service restaurants for every meal. To-go food options are perfect for their lifestyle. If you don't want your millennial guests walking to the nearby Dunkin Donuts for breakfast, you need flexible meal outlets on property. These features are especially desirable for business travel hotels".
Hilton has already implemented some of these grab and go strategies and with GrubHub, Seamless, LivingSocial and other apps, the belief is that soon many guests (those that love congregating in lobbies ) won't opt for the in hotel sit down service.
But like you say, Marriott better be careful and pay attention, or the next time Jimmy Buffett sings his Cheeseburger in Paradise the lyric might go:
Heard about the old time sailor men,
They eat the same thing, the same ol' rot;
Warm beer and bread they say could raise the dead.
Well, it reminds me of the menu at the Marriott.
Oh well, whaddaya gonna do?
Thanks, erc. The article was interesting and I hope that it is just the beginning. Marriott has been the best performer in my portfolio over the years and I hope the company can continue to thrive. It will be interesting to see how this effort actually works in bringing customers into Marriott's restaurants.
On vacation, we often have a lavish lunch and just want something modest for dinner. On our recent trip to Charleston and Savannah, both hotels frustrated us as we pursued a modest dinner. The Charleston Marriott was atrocious when it came to dinner and the Savannah one was a bit better, but far from great. Neither hotel had any alternative options within a short walk.
BTW, where in the DC area are you? We are in Fairfax County with a Falls Church address. (midway between the center of Falls Church, McLean, and Tyson's Corner.
I'm out west in Clifton. We'll round up your neighbor ssindc and make it a New Year's resolution in '15 to all
Yummmm .... erc said it: love that (poorly named) Chasin' Tails - it's eat-with-your-hands shellfish heaven... In Arlington, but right on the (City of) Falls Church border, walking distance from the East Falls Church METRO station.... My son recently tried (and raved about) the lobster mac-n-cheese.... Cheers
I agree good breakfast but average dinners. I haven't been to many hotel restaurants that people off the street would go to dinner, so only hotel guest and they need to be full service so have to serve dinner. I also never find them very busy . There was a time when Marriott's tried to get named restaurants to come in to attract other patrons but haven't seen many lately
Ive always thought Marriott has great breakfasts. One of the benefits is the consistent experience they offer between chains here. As for dinners, Ive always felt they were lacking. You expect to pay more for the convenience of eating at your hotel, but generally speaking food has been subpar for the price. Cant say its across the board. The Bridgwater NJ Marriott has a steakhouse inside which could rank up there with most good steakhouses. The Marriott Tysons Corner is also equally good. Although I would say for the price, food proportions were quite small, although very good.
I thought Marriott hotel restaurants were very good for many years, even when traveling with family. When our 'kids' were young, we frequently ate dinner at the family restaurant in the Orlando World Center on our annual visits to Royal Palms. They had great food, a nice salad bar, would substitute healthy salads for fries on kid's menu, great key lime pie, and the prices were comparable to other restaurants in the area. We had similar experiences at other Marriott hotel restaurants for dinner, and they were typically fairly busy.
At some point, prices increased dramatically, food quality and quantity deteriorated, and we stopped eating at Marriott hotel restaurants. We would sometimes use 'dinner for 2' certificates at resort restaurants, but they were overpriced for non-business expensed meals. My recent experiences on business trips have been very disappointing except for breakfast and a few good locations for lunch. Most of them are ghost towns at dinner, and I feel sorry for the service staff because they can't make much money when nobody eats there. That may explain the poor service at times.
There are still a few exceptions. I've had excellent dinners at the Renaissance near the Tampa airport and a few others, but many (Seattle Airport Marriott) have been extremely disappointing and overpriced. I now pick up a carryout on the way to my hotel if I know I'm going to be stuck there.
I notice that several people agree with me about the state of dining in the hotels. I'd be interested in a Marriott response to my second point which is, basically, that the poor dining options at many, if not most, Marriott hotels represents lost revenue for the corporation.
If they can do a good job at breakfast, why can't we have better choices at dinner. Marriott was born as a provider of food, before they ever got into the hotel business. Incidentally, the Farmington, CN Marriott, has an excellent dinner menu in the bar. We stay at this hotel often and frequently have a pleasant dinner there.
I agree with your comment about lost revenue opportunity. I can't see how the Millenials will want to take their families to restaurants in Marriott hotels because they won't be able to afford it (especially with their student loans). I think Marriott focuses on their group travel and banquet services rather than restaurants. Their banquet food and service is still among the best in most properties.
I agree with all. In fact, I have spoken to several gm's at properties that I frequent and let them know that I too, would prefer to spend my time and $$$ on-site, but go off-site because the choices and quality of the dinner foods are a bust. I also notice that usually there are one or two tables with folks folks eating......sad
yep, same here. With delivery options like GrubHub, readily found reviews on Google, FourSquare, etc and the cost of the meals at hotels vs quality, I very often find myself eating prior to returning to the hotel. There are very few properties out there that have impressed me with their dinner options and when they have they have impressed my finance group even more when I submit my expenses
I honestly don't believe the hotels expect to make money on the seasoned traveler. They offer dining options more for the casual traveler or someone that really doesn't know the area or perhaps doesn't have a way around (airport hotels particularly). The weary traveler will eat most anything once
The folks running properties are less good at running successful restaurants then they are at running a hotel. The "Marriott burger" is the same pretty much the world over at full service hotels, it's a staple item and usually fairly good quality and price point. The Courtyard's NFL promo's with the new lobby format seems to do well those nights with half price apps/wings but they are usually empty other nights from my experience. I think it's a lack of marketing and the generally accepted knowledge that everything at the hotel is going to be "expensive".
Lets take this Courtyard I've been at for a while in Tampa FL. It's a new format lobby and the staff is amazing. They've even gone out to make sure they had the beer I wanted to drink on one of the Monday night 1/2 price apps events. I mean actually asked what I wanted, then sent a staff member to buy a 12 pack of it since they didnt have it. I felt obligated to eat there that night as a result of their fantastic service. The food was as good as any other place I would have gotten wings and beer and at 1/2 price it was just as affordable as other places. Any other night, no way. They share a parking lot with a Brick House bar, there is a Korean BBQ place a block away or less that is amazingly good and there's literally 50 other places from $ to $$$$$ pricing within 5mins drive. I can literally find anything I would want for $10-100/plate. The Courtyard's menu, $20-30/plate for something that really is closer to the $10-12/plate range, maybe $15/plate anywhere within 5mins drive. The full service Marriott .5mi away has the same issues at slightly elevated pricing/plate.
I think until they can change the perception of being the "expensive" option and in doing so becoming cost competitive they will always remain in the spot they are now. It will take a fundamental shift in focus/direction for them to change it as a whole and I see it really more as an industry problem than just Marriott. There are plenty of exceptions out there but I think sometimes you either luck into them or get a really good suggestion from a trusted source to try them.
Generally agree, however, there are exceptions. For instance, both the buffet breakfast and dinner at the Marriott Grand Flora in Rome are equally good, and the dinner came with our own personal Italian troubadour, and the lounge food at the Atlanta (Buckhead) is quite good.
I just returned from a trip to New England and stayed overnight both on the way and on the way home at the Allentown, PA Renaissance Hotel.
It's an excellent facility and we were delighted with the place. It is a major exception to my earlier post complaining about Marriott hotel restaurants.
The dining room, called The Dime, was excellent and attracted many outsiders for dinner. In fact. it was busier at dinner than at breakfast.
We have not stayed at that many Renaissance hotels in the US, but I am beginning to wonder that they might have a better formula for running restaurants, than the FS Marriott hotels.
Actually, we have found some decent meals in some of the Marriott bars. A noticeable example is the Farmington, CT Marriott. We seem to stay there about once or twice each year on our way to or from points north and have been consistently pleased with the the hotel, the CL and the food.