Most people eat at hotel restaurants out of convenience rather than desire, but that may be changing. As the foodie culture evolves, travelers are looking for top-notch food in every aspect of their vacation, even at their hotel.
Overall consumer spending in the hotel food and beverage space increased 4.9% in 2017, totaling $48.7 billion, according to Technomic. For 2018, the firm predicts equally robust growth, as demand for these services remains strong. Local and regional offerings are more in demand, as well as social and community spaces and upscale casual-dining experiences.
Senior prinipal at Technomic David Henkes says, "Hotels use their food and beverage programs as competitive differentiators and are investing to drive unique guest experiences." He notes that with the emergence of new competition like VRBO and Airbnb, hotels are using their food and beverage offerings to set themselves apart. Areas that are receiving more focus at hotels include grab-and-go areas, breakfast areas, and bars/lounges.
Stephen Hanson, operator of the 98-room Life Hotel in New York and former owner of the restaurant group BR Guest, says consumers are now "more sophisticated" and high-end food is what people are looking for, reported Crain's New York Business (Jan. 30). He also adds that "50% of people report being swayed to book a hotel because of its restaurant."
This shift in consumer preference has led many hotel operators to up their game when it comes to their food and beverage offerings. In late 2017, Hyatt began partnering with Ideo to limit food waste at hotel buffets, as guests eat just over half of the food put out, reported Las Vegas Sun (Sept. 13). Hyatt switched from large platters of meats and cheese to sample plates that can be ordered directly from servers, made yogurt available in single servings instead of large bowls, and offered more finger pastries in lieu of whole cakes and pies, among other changes.
The hotel chain also expanded its partnership with Grubhub, which allows restaurants to deliver room service at Hyatt Centric hotels. Hotel staff picks each location's restaurant partners to reflect food unique to the area. The program was expanded to nine locations from three, reported Chicago Tribune (Aug. 22).
Hilton Garden Inn also transformed its food and beverage concept in 2017 to offer healthier and more organic menu choices, new flavors and 24-hour retail availability. The chain's hotel prototypes offer enhanced grab-and-go menu items available 24/7, such as locally-sourced food and craft beers, snacks and beverages and a specialty self-serve coffee bar. It also offers a refreshed breakfast buffet, beverage centric restaurant offerings and updated in-room dining options. The grab-and-go concept is meant to replace the existing Pavilion Pantry in all locations within the next few years.
As consumers continue to become increasingly interested in their food and beverage purchases in the coming years, you can bet more hotels will look for ways to improve their restaurant offerings...and you can bet we'll be here to cover it.
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Jennette has been with The Food Institute since 2013. She is responsible for marketing and promoting all Food Institute books, seminars and webinars, as well as writing and editing the Food Institute’s annual publications, such as Food Business Mergers & Acquisitions, The Food Industry Review and The Almanac of the Canning, Freezing, Preserving Industries. Additionally, she writes for and edits the daily news update, Today in Food, and contributes to the weekly Food Institute Report. She has a background in non-profit and environmental marketing, programming and writing, and graduated from Rowan University in 2012 with a degree in Communication Studies.
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