With consumers now more inclined than ever to inspect the food offering at a venue before booking, we look at how hotels can ensure they’re catering to a range of visitors in their restaurants by taking advantage of food tourism.

With the food and beverage offering being a key success factor for hotels; getting the right concept for a property’s offering is crucial to increase footfall at a venue.

Kiran Selvarajan, Executive Chef at The Fellows House, believes that the first thing you need to do as a hotelier to capitalise on the popularity of food and drinks offerings is understand guest demography.

The Folio Bar & Kitchen restaurant at The Fellows House offers menus that cater for most dietary requirements and allergens. The same occurs in The Sage of Cambridge, the on-site café. Menus are devised according to seasons so there should be flexibility to change the dishes depending on to the provision of seasonal local produce and guests’ expectations.


“Relationships with local travel operators are important too.”

Kiran sees that a themed menu is always an advantage – Cambridge is a lively city and there is a strong food culture, which means competing for customers against some fantastic restaurants.

Provenance of ingredients is important as customers are getting savvier and more environmentally conscious, so naming local suppliers is always good practice – preferably on the menu itself: “We offer traditional British classics with a twist but also innovate to showcase great local produce.” Added Kiran.

While traditional dining has been a secondary focus for a number of hotels around the world for many years, especially full-service operators, it seems that the majority are now actively picking up on the recent changes in consumer behaviours and competition. This leads them to realise that, if they don’t capitalise on this demand, they will simply fall behind.


In the past, some hotel restaurants have gained the perception of being overpriced and underwhelming, which then creates an overall negative experience for the hotel brand, leading guests out of the hotel to look for somewhere to dine. Hoteliers and the team within an overnight stay venue must realise that the on-site food and beverage offering is one of the key features which will draw guests to book in the first place. 

Nowadays, consumers are looking for the complete package, whatever the occasion. Even on a business trip, fuel is vitally important, and if said fuel is considered as an ‘experience’ due to its luxury, they will be returning, perhaps next time for a romantic weekend with a partner.

The Fellows House, located in Cambridge prides itself on its restaurant and café, which showcase the best of British using local ingredients as much as possible. This reduces the carbon footprint, helps the local economy and guarantees freshness: “Logistics have been challenged in the past few years, so ordering from local suppliers avoids the risk of not receiving deliveries on time and being able to oversee quality.” Kiran said.

So, how can hoteliers make sure they are marketing themselves in a way to ensure they appeal to consumers that aren’t staying at the hotel, too? Website activity and social media presence on several channels is the answer, according to Kiran.

He continues: “Building relationships with local travel operators are important too. We are also trying to show more of our identity in a website blog, where we are planning to feature our new regular menus soon. The Christmas brochure is already out as we received a lot of enquiries, and the menus reflect our brand individuality and inclusiveness. The café has a generous loyalty card and we have launched offers for local residents.”

As food tourism continues to grow, hotel brands that experiment in this area will be better equipped to surpass competition as time goes on. Creating a menu suitable for a wide audience, marketing in a way that will light up consumers’ eyes and considering sustainable changes will only help position you at the forefront of guest’s minds when choosing where to stay.