The Ideal World of Hotel F&B: F&B Gurus Share Their 2019 Wish List
Food and beverage in the hospitality industry is an ever-changing, dynamic world. Trends come and go, and some are longer lasting than others.
Some visionaries in the lodging industry looked beyond the trends for HX: The Newsletter, and shared what they would like to see happen in F&B in the coming months.
As the popularity of pop-up concepts grow and gain presence in a broader market base, it would be great to have hotels embrace the trend and offer very specialized/localized pop-up offerings to really “spice up” room service offerings, said Jonathan Wilson, vice president, customer experience & innovation, food & beverage, and wellness for Hilton Hotels & Resorts.
In addition, "I would love to see culinary counters as part of the lobby experience with curated special guest chefs creating live, sharable plate offerings," Wilson added. "This would also be a great way for hotels to show and test new ideas/concepts/partners at the same time."
James Samson, director of food and beverage at the 1,200-room Chicago Marriott Downtown Magnificent Mile, said that in an ideal world he would like to see more focus on local sustainable ingredients at a macro level. In this wish, there also would be more plant-based protein options for menu engineering.
"As we continue to grow our urban rooftop garden footprint here at Chicago Marriott Downtown, I can’t help but think of what the next evolution looks like for us during the next planting season. We truly use 100 percent of our rooftop garden ingredients on menus and in drinks, but I would like to see the ingredients themselves become the star of the dish or drink throughout the operations of the hotel," Samson said.
He added: "If we, as a society, can continue to educate our consumers on what the global value of sustainability truly is, we can all work towards more sustainable agriculture moving forward."
Greg Griffie, senior vice president, food and beverage, Davidson Hotels & Resorts, agreed.
"My biggest wish for the hotel industry is to continue evolving hotel food and beverage operations to a zero food waste system," Griffie said. "It is imperative that we find creative ways to eliminate food waste from landfills."
Solutions to food waste include upcycling food to help feed those in need, or even composting to assist in healthy soil development to further nourish our communities, Griffie pointed out. Another way to deal with food waste is to partner with a local farmer, high school, or urban renewal garden program to develop an ongoing composting program. Also, fruit and vegetable scraps can be salvaged.
Samson also would like to see an enhanced focus on creating more robust offering of non-alcoholic or lower ABV (alcohol by volume) drinks. "Alcohol will always win out however, in this day and age, there is a growing trend of moderation seekers that we need to listen to," Samson said.
Scott Gingerich, senior vice president, restaurant & bars, Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants, said he wants to "push the envelope by not treating banquet and catering as 'mass feeding' or your run-of-the-mill 'chicken, beef, and fish' offering."
"There is tremendous opportunity in incorporating all of the components that make a great restaurant experience - food, service, ambience - into meetings and events," Gingerch said.