The new restaurant at Toll House Hotel in Los Gatos, California, is named VERGE for its location “on the verge of town.” Featuring a bar-centric concept and restaurant furniture that allows engaging seating arrangements, Verge is getting a lot of buzz on social media.

Darlene Marcello, VP F&B and procurement at HRI Properties, shares restaurant concept and design tips to make the transformation from frumpy 3-meal hotel restaurant to destination restaurant status:

1. Don’t be everything to everyone. Resist guest pressure to put chicken wings on the menu.

2. Draw locals: In her experience, locals will come to a great hotel bar, so that’s where the focus is.

3. An exterior entrance is not mandatory: It doesn’t necessarily need an exterior entrance, but the space must be inviting. At Verge, a wall was opened up, a fireplace added and the space is open inside and out that makes it not only appealing but so that it functions in many formats.

4. Bridge the gap between guests and locals: Recognize that hotel guests use the lobby differently. They come out of their rooms often with a computer, want comfy soft seating and a cup of coffee or glass of wine. To address the needs of both guests and locals, use a mix of hard and soft restaurant seating.

5. Separate breakfast service however you can: Ideally breakfast is not served in your destination dining restaurant. Verge does serve breakfast in the restaurant, but the dishes are “signaturized” to the restaurant’s menu. One Yelp reviewer called the breakfast menu “special, unique, artistic and delicious.”

Verge’s transformation from a tired “3 meal” hotel dining room, to a true destination dining experience can help you decide on a new concept that adds value to the your hotel.

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