Hotels are in the midst of an F&B arms race.
Travelers have increasingly discerning demands, competing outlets are turning up the heat, and ownership expects management to be ahead of the curve and driving revenue.
Staying atop the latest food and beverage trends – and identifying which have staying power – is far from simple. There’s no silver bullet, no two properties exactly alike, and no two audiences exactly the same.
Still, we’ve seen some interesting shifts in hotel F&B recently, such as the clamor for celebrity chefs giving way to homage of homegrown talent. It begs the question; What’s next?
Belly up! Here are five trends in hotel food and beverage that we’ve got our eye on.
BRUNCH AND ‘AGGRESSIVE’ MEATS
While we’re unsure at exactly what hour “breakfast” becomes “brunch,” we are sure that the latter is as popular as ever, and late-morning meals are fast becoming an option guests expect.
Extending traditional breakfast hours to appeal to a guest’s want for flexibility will likely become a bigger trend, and in turn, menus will undergo a substantive update to appeal to the brunch crowd.
Further, Forbes is noting a general trend of eschewing “smooth” breakfast offerings, such as the traditional oatmeal and scrambled eggs, for more “aggressive” meat items, such as chorizo and chicken.
The consumption of coffee is at record highs, thanks in no small part to Millennials, and F&B teams are doing their part to caffeinate the masses, creating innovating ways to enhance the coffee experience for guests.
These days much of the buzz is about nitro brewed coffee, cold brew, lattes on draft, and the introduction of unique milk options. We wonder, though, how long will it be before an innovative hotel introduces a concept similar to Starbucks’ Reserve Roastery & Tasting Room, combining guests’ passion for both coffee and locally sourced beans?
What’s certain is that as Millennials surpass Baby Boomers as the largest demographic of consumers, their seemingly unquenchable thirst for coffee will push F&B teams to brew up new ways to deliver their guest’s morning/midday/evening cup of joe.
THE CRAFT OF COCKTAILING
Craft and artisan cocktails have enjoyed a resurgence over the past few years, and many business and leisure properties have embraced the trend. Hotels have found unique ways to engage patrons through booze, offering mixology classes, personalizing recipes, even sending master mixologists and rolling bars to your room on demand, any hour of the day or night.
Travel’s fitness trends and cocktailing aren’t mutually exclusive, either. Hotels are finding a way for the two passions to work hand-in-hand, such as at Chicago’s JW Marriott, which has a drink menu featuring liquors infused with herbs regularly recommended by health experts for their health and well-being benefits.
Right now, guests are particularly keen to try cocktails created with locally sourced and high-quality ingredients. The most photogenic beverages serve up a marketing bump as well, with guests eager to share snapshots via Instagram, Facebook, TripAdvisor and other social platforms.
HYPER-LOCAL EAT AND DRINK
More than ever, local is hot. Guests no longer simply want to know their food is farm-to-table, they want to know which farm, and where it’s located relative to the
F&B teams will continue to actively seek ways to incorporate locally sourced ingredients and beverages, redesigning whole menus to feature area brewers, wineries, and family farms – and guests will continue to relish an opportunity to connect with the community they’re visiting.
Not only is featuring hyper-local F&B a proven way to market the property, it opens the door to immersive guest experiences such as tours and excursions to local farms and breweries.
We’ve seen an “Uber-ization” across many industries over the past few years, and it’s something we’re keeping an eye on.
Many properties have introduced grab-and-go options to complement traditional room service.
As hotels (and guests) more widely adopt branded apps, keyless entry and AI, it’s only a matter of time before technology affords guests an integrated way to order “food on demand,” practically anywhere and anytime, though we’re fairly confident robots won’t completely take over room-service delivery.