McNeill told us that the new Bar Experience is part of a long-term, large-scale food and beverage initiative across the chain that's meant to reinvigorate and reposition the brand, eliminating the "illusion of rigidity" the chain may have given off in the past, "creating a nice environment where you feel comfortable" in the bars and lounges.
With the change in the economy, McNeill felt the change in social behavior people were going out in groups, looking to unwind after work warranted a little bit of an adjustment to keep up with the times. These days, people most certainly aren't looking for anything stuffy.
He says, "when you're at a bar, the one thing you dont want to do is drink without eating and we wanted to provide the kind of products in our bar that allow for social gathering." The food on the new menu is light fare and it's all about share-able plates; you know, so the first person who gets to the bar can kinda feel comfy ordering for everyone.
Oh, and in terms of price points: McNeill says, "Ritz wanted to break away from the image of everything being so expensive" they're really trying to draw people away from the idea that the place is stuffy, and the prices on the new bar menus reflect that.
The idea here is to make sure Ritz stays current and relevant; that they're changing with the environment.
McNeill's three personal faves on the new menu? He's partial to the "guy food." That is, "Mini Black Angus Sliders, Brie, Parsley, and Risotto Balls, and the Sea-Slated Twice-Cooked Steak Fries." Um, is it happy hour yet?
Again, the new menu launched today, so swing by your local Ritz-Carlton bar and let us know what you think of the new munchies.