5 food and drink trends upon arrival at hotels

Hotels are looking to meet the needs of people who aren’t just staying overnight. / Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels.

Hotels have been hit hard during the pandemic, and as business slowly recovers — occupancy is expected to average 63.4% in 2022, according to the American Hotel & Lodging Association — restaurant teams have learned that it no longer makes sense to rely solely on overnight guests for the bulk of sales.

“We have 555 hotel restaurants globally and 55-60% of our diners are locals,” said Kimberly Grant, senior vice president, food and beverage and global head of restaurants for Four Seasons Hotels. “Most of the restaurants have exterior entrances and all are uniquely run by individual chefs so they have the appearance of an independent restaurant.”

Dining is the gateway to the brand, Grant believes, and these are the trends that take root in the Four Seasons brand.

Redefining the meaning of local. Previously, local was about sourcing and sourcing produce, and while local sourcing of ingredients like honey and fresh produce is always a priority, Four Seasons hotels are paying more attention to local culture. Dining programs strive to celebrate the culinary culture of the city or region in which each hotel is located.

“When customers go out to dine, they’re looking for an immersion in local culture and the spirit of the region, so we hire chefs who are immersed in the kitchen,” Grant said. At the Four Seasons Hotel New Orleans, for example, celebrity local chef Alon Shaya oversees the Miss River restaurant, while award-winning chef Donald Link is in charge of Chemin à la Mer, both showcasing Louisiana cuisine.

Breakfast is the new lunch. The rise in the number of remote workers has been a boon for hotels. The chain has seen an increase in weekday get-togethers held over breakfast, and morning menus are meeting demand.

The Four Seasons Hotel Boston offers the traditional selection of eggs Benedict, omelets, and frittatas, but also serves an acai bowl made with local berries and avocado toast with inspired toppings.

Although weekend brunch is always a time to socialize, breakfast is becoming an important part of the day.

carrot and radish display

Vegetables are treated like stars at Evelyn’s at the Four Seasons Fort Lauderdale. / Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels

Innovate with plants. Hotel chefs are placing more and more emphasis on vegetables and cereals on the menu. Chef Brandon Salomon of Evelyn’s Fort Lauderdale brings simple vegetables, like carrots, and presents them in different ways. One of his specialties is pumpkin flowers stuffed with mushrooms.

“Customers don’t order these plant-based dishes because of their lifestyle or food choices, they really enjoy them,” Grant said.

drinks with and without alcohol

Alcoholic and non-alcoholic cocktails are no longer separated on the drinks menu. / Photo courtesy of Four Seasons Hotels

Merge drink lists. The increase in demand for mocktails has impacted how Four Seasons offers beverages. “We are now merging menu categories, no longer separating soft drinks from traditional cocktails on the list,” Grant said.

Hotel bartenders are just as creative with mocktails and the trend is happening around the world, she added.

Homemade bottled cocktails to go, a trend that took off during the pandemic, are also here to stay. A bottled negroni is a favorite with travelers to Florence, Grant said.

A focus on waste disposal. Chefs and mixologists have teamed up to reduce food waste. “There is a lot more collaboration between the kitchen and the bar. Teams are continually discussing how leftover product can be used or repurposed on the culinary or beverage side,” Grant said.

Composting and donating food scraps are still priorities, but collaborative waste reduction is now part of the brand’s ESG plan.

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