This came across my email today and I wanted to pass along these ideas for buffets & action stations. Congratulations to the Hilton Suites Phoenix.
In the ultra-competitive world of banquets and catering, being recognized with an award is always good. But when it's based on guest feedback, it's even better. Hilton Suites Phoenix recently won a "Connie" award within Hilton (nicknamed after founder Conrad Hilton) as the best of the brand when it comes to meetings F&B in North America.
Action = Reaction
F&B Director Andrew Wintz says action stations are the foundation of the property's F&B for groups. "It always adds an experience enhancement as opposed to just a dry service occasion for the guest," he says. Some examples include:
- Made-to-order-juice: For meeting breaks, the hotel will have not only the standard coffee, water, and soda setups, but also a juicer station, run by a chef who makes fresh fruit or vegetable juices to order. "It's stimulating for the guest to interact by choosing what they want, then watch it blended in front of them." Wintz says.
- Fire and ice: For banquets, one popular action station is "Fire and Ice." The ice station features a chef preparing fresh ceviche and sashimi, along with a raw bar of crab legs, oysters, and shrimp, while the fire station features a chef making dishes like "mussels diablo" or spicy New Orleans-style shrimp, surrounded by appropriate red linen. "The chefs have fun and add their personalities to the station, which also elevates the guest experience," says Wintz.
- Interactive salad bar: Guests choose from more than a dozen ingredients and put them in a bamboo salad bowl. At the end of the line, a chef attendant tosses it together with a hot protein sautéed shrimp, salmon, chicken, or a petite steak prepared in front of the attendee. The chef arranges everything in the original bowl and gives it back to the customer. "We charge more for the enhanced atmosphere, so it's a bonus, revenue-wise," says Wintz.