It’s a familiar drill for many business professionals! Get up early on Monday morning, grab a Southwest Airlines flight to the first of multiple stops, check-in to a Marriott, Hilton or IHG hotel at either the airport or near your scheduled appointments and set-up a virtual office in your hotel room. And what about food and meals? Well, for many guests it’s not about the hotel or local restaurant scene any more.
Welcome to the world of Grocerants! These part grocery, part restaurant specialty food retailers are the fastest growing segment of foodservice. Go into any Whole Foods Market today and you will see multiple hot/cold food bars, soup stations, sandwich/pizza areas, and dedicated in-store dining areas. They offer healthier options that are reasonably priced within clean and comfortable environments that operate daily from 7:00 am to 10:00 pm, seven days a week.
Retail prepared foods to go have outperformed the restaurant industry for the past seven years with no end in sight! For most hotels, there are limited competitive foodservice options. They can continue to focus on capturing the guest for breakfast and cocktail hour offerings, as well as providing convenience store snacks and beverages near the front desk. In full-service hotel environments, these foodservice offerings can be expanded to include small-meeting based banquets and social catering functions.
What does the future hold for hotel foodservice? With Limited-Service and the new Lifestyle hotels, foodservice will continue to be packaged and offered as a complimentary amenity and convenience to the guest versus a competitive local dining option. Hotels will work to accommodate versus compete with new foodservice trends like retail prepared foods to go with in-room refrigerators and microwaves. If you can’t beat them join them!
If your hotel is interested in learning more about these new foodservice trends please contact HC&L or your local Sysco distributor.