It was an incredible experience for the NYC Hospitality Alliance team to curate nine chef demos and eight panel discussions at this year’s HX: Hotel Experience – From Rooms to Restaurant trade show that took place at the Jacob K. Javits Center on November 13-15th. The show brought together professionals from the hotel, food and beverage world to learn about products and services for their businesses and to share inspiration, information and innovation.
This was the first year the NYC Hospitality Alliance was formally involved with the show. We took special care in selecting from our membership, a group of incredible hospitality industry professionals to discuss hot topics, cook up delicious dishes and mix great cocktails. The Alliance team, myself included, learned a lot. We were extremely proud of our members and thrilled to receive so much great feedback from attendees. And we’re still receiving it. After three days at the show we left with an even stronger respect and admiration for the industry we work hard to serve and represent. We had a lot of fun and it was terrific to see so many members and friends old and new, who swung by our booth and presentation stages. Here are 3 highlights we learned from HX:ONSTAGE-RESTAURANTS & HX:COOKS.
1. Talent Paired With Business Sense is the Recipe For Success
When we recruited the talent for the HX:COOKS demos we contacted chefs and mixologists whom we know and love for their dishes, drinks, personalities and business sense. We focused on a diverse range of cuisines ranging from good Southern cooking to the spices of India and cocktails infused with tea. Going for the “Wow” factor, we wanted the audience to be dazzled with each splash, pinch, and stir. The dishes and drinks prepared on the HX:COOKS stage were delicious and proved that hard work and dedication is the key to success. The real secrets shared were not only the recipes, but also, how they set up their bar, source and prepare ingredients, and how their experiences influences their cuisine and cocktails. The chefs explained that it’s not enough to just be a passionate and talented cook, but being business minded is a must to find success.
2. The Trends and Issues the Industry Faces are Intertwined
The industry experts on the panels shared their insights on an array of topics from sustainability to employment law. Even though each panel had its own specific focus, common themes like employment law and workforce pressures kept coming up during all the panels. There was discussion about how sustainable business practices have an important impact on real estate, design and purchasing Technology, such as the “Instagramability” of dishes and properties is very important. Incorporating health and wellness programs like yoga and spinning classes on a hotel’s rooftop bar is a huge draw for guests. It even ties back to technology because they create images for impactful Instagram postings. A major takeaway for me was how every aspect of a business operation and guest experience are intertwined. And how much time, money and effort is spent making the guest experience memorable, and the business profitable, hopefully.
3. Embrace Change Without Sacrificing Identity
The panels illustrated the ever changing landscape that exists in the hospitality industry. Nightlife has given rise to “Daylife” with many night clubgoers wanting to party under the afternoon sun. Traditional PR and marketing strategies are being complimented by digital applications and social media platforms. With so many options and recommendations to choose from, what is an operator to do? Change can be uncomfortable, yet it’s a necessary component of running a successful business. There is not a one size fits all solution when it comes to using the newest techniques and technology. Operators must understand their guests, understand their business model and implement strategies that allow them to enhance what they do best, not distract them from it. They should embrace change but do so in a way that allows them to be authentic and true to their company’s identity and