F&B in 2019: Look for an Exciting Year Ahead
Frozen Aperol Cocktail High Bar at the Kimpton Rowan Palm Springs Hotel. Photo Credit: Kristin Teig.
Hospitality food and beverage has evolved over the years. The image of hotel restaurants sitting empty between breakfast and dinner and being a money loser has become a thing of the past. F&B is now dynamic and creative, and will continue to be in 2019. Hotel restaurants will be taking on the flavor of their communities with regionally inspired dishes, attracting locals and guests with innovative menu options. They will be providing a focal point for their properties by serving up new-fangled food and drinks along with some fun.
"We will continue to see hotels laser-focused on F&B," said Andrew Rigie, executive director and founder of the NYC Hospitality Alliance.
Here are some of the major trends going into 2019:
Craft cocktails and creative non-alcoholic drinks will grow as a trend in 2019, Rigie predicted. Cocktail bars will actually be offering more non-alcoholic menu options.
Dean Wendel, corporate director of food and beverage at Concord Hospitality, said: "We will continue to see our bars and restaurants featuring their own branded craft-brewed beers. We have formed great partnerships with local breweries in our locations, to develop brews using our bourbon barrels from private selections with Knob Creek and Makers Mark, as well as others."
A whopping 80 percent of Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants' bartenders will be featuring more non-alcoholic cocktails on their menus in 2019. Some cocktails will feature new spirits like Seedlip, house made syrups and tonics, and the use of fermented ingredients, said Scott Gingerich, Kimpton’s senior vice president of restaurants & bars. The company just released its fifth annual Culinary + Cocktail Trend Forecast. This report reveals the trends that will be explored by chefs and bartenders in the year ahead, based on a survey of over 100 Kimpton chefs, sommeliers, general managers, and bartenders.
In fact, mushroom beverages - like fungi Irish coffee, mushroom and thyme infused vodka, and mushroom tea with sparkling wine - are taking both kitchen and bar menus by storm. Nearly 70 percent of Kimpton bartenders are experimenting with mushroom-infused spirits, mushroom broth, or tea, Gingerich said.
Breakfasts will provide more on on-the-go options, to accommodate guests' needs. For example, Holiday Inn Hotels & Resorts offers Toast to Toast, a counter service food offering that allows for faster execution compared to a traditional sit-down casual dining option, said Jason Dowd, head of global mainstream food and beverage at IHG.
Look for enhanced “Grab N Go” in hotels, with upscale items on display such as coffee and tea selection with a freshly baked pastry or handheld breakfast items for under $10, Wendel noted.
"Guests may not want a $15-$20 sit-down breakfast, but they want something. If we don’t provide it, they will walk out the door and go find it somewhere else," Wendel said.
Non-environmentally aware disposables will continue to be targeted, such as straws, Wendel said.
Chefs are continuing to incorporate sustainable practices into their restaurants by embracing zero waste dinners, sourcing from one origin, onsite composting and greenhouses, and by reducing gas, heat and water usage, Gingerich said
"Waste is out; finding ways to eliminate and minimize waste is key, " Wendel said. "Guests want to be part of something bigger that has a conscience towards our citizens and the environment."
MORE PLANT-BASED FOODS
A total of 80 percent of Kimpton chefs plan to feature a vegan or raw dish on their menu, whether that’s a savory dish like spaghetti and beet balls or a sweet treat like raw cashew date cheesecake, Gingerich said.
At Concord Hospitality, Wendel said there would be a greater focus on plant-based meals and the emergence of clean meat, otherwise known as cell-based meat and slaughter-free meat. The emergence of the Flexitarian, which in essence is a non-practicing vegetarian who eats meat upon occasion, will help drive the plant-based items popping up on menus.
"People want to feel good about what they are eating and not have to sacrifice on the experience," Wendel said.