People love what goes on behind the scenes…they love process. Biltmore Estate makes part of its keep from its “behind the scenes” tours. People visit the Boeing factory to see how airplanes are made. More and more, people are interested in “how” and “why” something happens. Anything that enriches our understanding of “the experience” makes it that much more meaningful. Cocktails and meals taste better when we can see them come to life. That’s why bars and exhibition kitchens are so popular. Wine seems to taste so much better when we get to taste it at the winery with the wine master explaining the intricacies of the fermentation and aging process with every sip.
Creating stories through process is an extremely powerful tool, especially in the F&B side of our business. Let’s face it, it’s much more interesting to tour the kitchen and learn about new ingredients than to tour the hotel laundry and see some soap in a washing machine (yes, I know, big ironers and folders are pretty cool to watch). Hells Kitchen, Iron Chef and the Food Network didn’t pop-up by accident. People like food, and they like the art of creating it even more.
I’ve been at Keyah Grande for about eight months. And, with very few exceptions, our kitchen and the Chefs are the highlight of our guests’ stay. It helps that we have an open kitchen policy (come in anytime to learn and raid the fridge for leftovers) and that Aki and Alex are so passionate about their trade. But, it’s the combination of intrigue, the possibility of learning and our openness and informality that draws people in to explore the process of cooking. In any case, it makes for some very memorable experiences which lead to a lot of storytelling…a relatively inexpensive way to spread the word.
So, the next time you’re racking your brain about how to add value to your guest’s stay, try opening the kitchen door.