If you didn’t catch the movie “The Great Gatsby,” I am sure you have seen the trailers. If you go, pay less attention to Leonardo Dicaprio (who plays F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Jay Gatsby) or Cary Mulligan, his object of attraction. Rather, cast your eyes on the sheer opulence portrayed in the movie: the costumes, the sets and the food consumption. Note how retailers, from Brooks Brothers to Harrods, have adapted promotional opportunities tied into the movie’s premium positioning.
The world of Gatsby is one of total excess. Champagne pours like water, cars are only the finest, men wear tuxes, the women are dressed proverbially “to the nines” and the party never stops.
Contrast this with a recent trip to a 2-star Michelin-rated restaurant in Barcelona. There I was on a weekday night, the only one wearing a sports jacket. Looking around, I noted men wearing sweaters, sports shirts and blue jeans as well as women dressed in pretty much every level of apparel. In a restaurant where the tasting menu is well in excess of US$200 per person, if they can’t get diners to get dressed up, then what hope does a more typical establishment have in getting customers to do the same?
Or, does it really matter?
I know this rumination is a little bit old-fashioned. My hypothesis is that when guests dress up, their moods are elevated and the spending follows. For hoteliers, this should mean more revenue for your upper-tier F&B outlets. Dress codes may be a thing of the past, but they establish an unwritten code pertaining to guest expectations and ultimately how much patrons order. Perhaps you should consider giving your property a “Gatsby-esque” makeover and see how you fare.
(Article published by Larry Mogelonsky in HOTELSmag on June 7, 2013)