How to improve your hotel restaurant offering and attract outside guests

hotel guest walking into a hotel

An excellent on-site restaurant not only delights hotel guests but attracts local diners seeking a quality meal. Yet, elevating your menu and service levels to draw more outside visitors can seem daunting amidst busy hotel operations.

But with some smart enhancements, clever marketing, and leveraging your hospitality strengths, hotel restaurants can carve out a niche to become destinations in their own right—ones that delight both tourists and neighbourhood regulars alike.

Quick Links
Collaborate with local partners
Curate unique and innovative menus
Promote special events
Implement loyalty programs
Engage with hotel staff

How to send more guests to the hotel restaurant

How do you go beyond your current hotel guests and create a restaurant that appeals to dinners who aren’t staying in your hotel? Here are some actionable methods to make your hotel restaurant appeal far and wide.

Collaborate with local partners

One powerful strategy to draw more non-hotel guests through your doors is to collaborate with complementary local businesses. Consider teaming up with nearby attractions like

  • Museums
  • Theatres
  • Local tour companies
  • Wedding venues
  • Concert halls
  • Event spaces.

Develop partnerships where you promote what they have to offer through discounts, packages and brochure displays while they direct people to dine at your restaurant.

For instance, you could try coordinating with a local brewery on a promotional event or craft beer dinner series. Or there may be an opportunity to work with a nearby historic site to create meal deals that combine park passes with breakfast, lunch or dinner at your place.

It’s also worth reaching out to niche tour operators, such as food tours or ghost tours, to include your hotel restaurant as a featured stop on their local excursions (they’re always seeking fresh dining options for their ever-curious customers).

Forging these partnerships that tap into existing streams of visitors can elevate your hotel restaurant’s visibility and bring in guests who aren’t staying at your hotel but want to experience what your hotel restaurant has to offer.

Curate unique and innovative menus

Resist the temptation to play it safe with your menu. Instead, dare to get creative and craft menus featuring signature dishes, local ingredients, and your own unique perspective. That might come in the form of developing a cocktail program emphasising craft creations that are expertly prepared.

Or you could decide to highlight your commitment to fresh, seasonal produce from regional suppliers. Another option is to concept test limited-time offerings like seasonal set menus or themed tasting menus to surprise and delight.

While you want consistency in execution, constantly innovate around the edges to give outside diners a compelling reason to choose your spot over the swath of competition. Lean into what makes your food and drink truly special.


Promote special events

Hosting exciting themed dining events, live entertainment, and special experiences gives locals new reasons to discover your hotel restaurant. Consider popular options like seasonal tasting menus spotlighting harvest ingredients or wine dinners showcasing winemaking partners.

Play live music for weekend brunch customers, start monthly dinners created with guest chefs, or host events with a local brewery. For holidays, offer special set menus, entertainment, and unique decorations. No matter the occasion, actively promoting featured events will help increase the appetite for reservations from outside guests.

More information:
Learn about the differences between a hotel restaurant and a standalone restaurant.

Implement loyalty programs

Loyalty programs that offer exclusive savings, members-only perks, and special offers for return visits are a smart way to hook local diners. Consider rollout options like punch cards for free menu items after a set number of meals or printed VIP cards providing a percentage off or a complimentary bottle of wine.

Send email newsletters with members-only sneak peeks at new menu launches or invites to special tasting dinners, birthday discounts, half-priced drinks during happy hour, or double point days to further entice their ongoing visits.

As a result, you increase the chances of word spreading organically among regulars benefitting from the exceptional value. The aim is for their visiting friends or local colleagues to ask how to similarly enrol in your coveted loyalty program and become card-carrying loyalists of their own accord.

Leverage your hotel’s offerings and amenities

Expand beyond cuisine by bundling access to your most appealing hotel amenities with meals to attract diners. Offer packages pairing lavish tasting menus with day passes for your tranquil spa, including massage treatments that pamper guests before, between or after courses.

For visitors hoping to digest a swim in paradise, provide access to your luxurious pool oasis with cabanas stocked with your restaurant’s signature cocktails or mocktails to enjoy poolside post-feast.

Even day access to your fitness classes, rounds of golf, art galleries, or in-house boutique shopping provide engaging pre-meal diversions for groups. The all-encompassing offerings under your hotel’s roof provide opportunities to treat guests beyond the meal itself.

Engage hotel staff

A hotel restaurant’s best advocates are an engaged, enthused hotel staff. Provide your team with regular restaurant menu updates, and keep them informed on current specials so they can spread the word outside of the hotel.

Incentivise staff to prioritise sending guests your way through perks like a free dining experience per month for the top three referring departments. Make them feel personally invested in the restaurant’s success.

Moreover, let staff seamlessly make reservations on guests’ behalf or have menus and promotions readily on hand to generate further excitement. Proactively equip every hotel employee to proudly play a role in boosting your restaurant’s reputation and triggering more non-guest bookings.

Summary: Winning more outside guests to your hotel restaurant

With strategic partnerships, tantalising menus, can’t-miss events, and more, hotel restaurants can shift perceptions to become sought-after community dining destinations in their own right. By leveraging your hospitality prowess to deliver exceptional experiences, soon both wandering tourists and neighbourhood locals will flock to experience your restaurant, whether they’re guests or not.