Bleu Restaurant & Lounge is inside the Westin Hotel in downtown Memphis, Tennessee, but is not a part of it.
And making that point to consumers has been a huge part of the marketing for this 11-month old restaurant.
“We didn’t want it to be a hotel restaurant; we wanted it to be standalone,” says Glenn Malone, COO of Senate Hospitality Group, a Nashville-based hotel development and consulting firm, which operates The Westin.
“Generally, hotel restaurants don’t have a reputation as a place where people want to go and dine,” he explains.
So Senate Hospitality was very deliberate in not mentioning the hotel in marketing the restaurant.
Bleu’s website also stands alone, separate from the Westin. But the Westin does send out emails to patrons who have expressed an interest in the restaurant, to let them know about it.
Working on keeping the two as separate entities has paid off, Malone says.
Typically hotel restaurants have their strongest capture rate for breakfast, followed by dinner, he says, but that’s not been the case for Bleu.
“Lunch has been very busy because we’re attracting people in the downtown community—people looking to eat on their lunch break. We’ve also had great success in attracting locals for dinner.”
Average covers per day since launching Bleu are as follows: Breakfast—62, lunch—93, dinner—124. “So, as you can see,” Malone points out, “we are bucking the trend of hotel restaurants, which typically see their highest covers at breakfast.”
And there’s been another surprise too.