The adoption of technology has been largely accelerated by the pandemic. F&B venues in particular were quick to pivot to delivery-only, with QR codes now being a staple in many restaurants. In fact, a recent survey by card payment provider Dojo revealed that 95 per cent of hospitality businesses plan to continue using pay and order technology after the pandemic.

For Salima Vellani, founder of Kbox Global, technology and data form the foundations of her business. When partnering with a hotel kitchen it allows Vellani to asses local competition — both in terms of restaurants as well as food delivery platforms — before identifying the right food brand for that specific kitchen.

“Because we’re building our tech stack around machine analytics, which is based around data, we can create look-alike audiences,” Vellani explained. “We can say ‘based on your geographic area and demographics, in other areas that are similar, this is what works and what doesn’t’… We can understand what [concepts] should do well.”

Mining data in this respect should result in effective operations — especially when food and beverage will arguably lead the recovery. Lenders such as OakNorth are paying greater attention to the creative steps taken to ensure hotels maintain a revenue stream, and dark kitchens/delivery models may be considered when evaluating financing options.

Partnering with a kitchen operator essentially leaves concept development and innovation in the hands of restaurateurs, allowing hoteliers to focus on rooms and other departments. Conversely, restaurant brand developer Sam Fox is moving into luxury hotels with the opening of The Global Ambassador in 2023. The hotel will include five onsite dining venues and Fox will oversee the entire project from design to management.

What he’s setting out to achieve will shed further insight on the hotelier’s dilemma as to whether outsource F&B operations. Digital dining however looks here to stay, and it’ll be interesting to see how hotel restaurants keep pace with the online world.

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