I was recently invited to sample the newly created Pudding Parlour at The Athenaeum hotel in London. This follows on very nicely from Rachel’s recent post about adding extra revenues to your hotels balance sheet, with this being a prime example of making use of the space you have available at your property and attracting guests in a unique way.
The concept is simple. Ever really fancied something sweet or indulgent in the evening and not known where to go? My own prime example is after a trip to the theatre. It’s too early to give up on the night and hit the sack, but you don’t want a heavy meal, just something sweet. This is where the idea has come from, and The Athenaeum created the Pudding Parlour to meet this need.
Each month Edd Kimber, baker of the minute and winner of The Great British Bake-Off 2010, will add a new and special ʻPudding Of The Monthʼ to the menu. The Pudding Parlour at the Athenaeum will be open every evening except on Sundays in the Athenaeumʼs Garden Room. The menu will consist of an ever-changing array of treats, cakes and tarts made by the hotelʼs French pastry chef and her team as well as a very special ʻPudding Of The Monthʼ by The Boy Who Bakes. To accompany the exquisite puddings an extensive menu of delicious pudding wines is on offer, all of which have been selected specifically to compliment the puddings being served.
The Boy Who Bakesʼ ʻPudding Of The Monthʼ will be; Plum/Damson Almondine (October), Deliciously Creamy Curd Tart (November) Traditional Home Made Mince Pies (December) Apple and Pecan Tart (January) and White Chocolate & Matcha Mousse (February). There is also the chance to buy special signed copies of ‘The Boy Who Bakesʼ to take away as a souvenir.
I know what my regular readers will be thinking. I get all the best jobs, right? Well, I do feel very lucky to have discovered this, and wanted to share the experience with you. For someone who is a foodie like me, and with a love of hotels being innovative and thinking outside the box, it’s the perfect combination and certainly a very tasty and enjoyable one too! You’ll be pleased to hear that I was restrained and did limit myself to just two puddings, opting for a delicious macaroon and then one of the most delicious Rhubarb crumbles I’ve ever tasted.
Undoubtedly, this is a very clever way to promote the hotel. Coming up with ideas like this is often the hard part, but if you think logically, these kinds of concepts can easily fall into place. It’s actually taking the words right from Rachel’s post – knowing and understanding your own backyard really is crucial. Rachel has this spot on and it’s the key weakness that most hotels have. You can take the Athenaeum as a perfect example of a hotel doing this perfectly. They are very conveniently located in Mayfair right around the corner from the West-End with a passing footfall of theatre goers. They also have an elegant yet relaxing area where afternoon tea’s are served, but like most such areas in busy city hotels, they see this area of the property really quiet down after 9pm, leaving an underused resource (especially as the property has a separate Whisky bar!).
So it can be as simple as that – finding a need and matching it to the space in your hotel can be a great way to raise awareness of your property and of course bring in that much converted extra revenue. One piece of advice – don’t over price. The Athenaeum have understood this perfectly, and set their pricing at just £10 per visit, £15 including a glass of Pudding Wine. Set too high (no matter how luxurious your property is) and you’ll get nothing but an empty room once the initial buzz has dies down.
So if you find yourself in London and fancy a late night sweet treat or a post-theatre bite, give the Pudding Parlour at the Athenaeum a try. You won’t be disappointed.