BLLA’s 1st Conference on Food Trends in boutique & lifestyle properties last week revealed several trends that hotel owners, managers, developers and their staff should be paying close attention to. The panelists, moderators and keynote presentations were very impressive, to say the least. BLLA thanks all participants for their dedication to the industry by taking the time and making the effort to present at this conference!
Following is a bullet-pointed summary of the high points of the conference:
- Ice cream – savory ingredients make for a delight, i.e. foie gras ice cream sandwich / peanut butter & curry
- The “Southern” trend – chicken & waffles
- Culture mix-up – Indian curries mixed with Italian recipes
- Keg wine
- Mini-size me – small desserts / bite-size
- The Foraging Chef – using things like truffles, huckleberries
- iPads – diners can check out wine selections and get detailed information on menus. Would you like an iPad with your menu?
- Gluten-free – while many feel this is a serious consideration, others voiced that it is just another fad. The experts will need to do a shout-out on this subject as we see it becoming more and more prevalent on restaurant menus.
Chefs spoke about the trend to narrow down the selection of food throughout a hotel property whether it is in-room dining or in the restaurant/bar. Streamlining menus allows for more control of food quality and cost, as well as less waste and making it more efficient to handle special requests.
Chef Kory Stewart of Americano stated that rustic, simple food with great craftsmanship, i.e. handmade pasta, is what attracts customers to his restaurant and bar while memories are made allowing for those experiences to be celebrated again and again.
Food/Chef TV Shows Trend – Bob Helstrom of Kuleto’s reviewed the effect of TV shows like Top Chef having a profound effect on consumers while making the job of Chef more glamorous and an important role in driving profitability for a restaurant, whether hooked onto a hotel or not. With more men at home in our gender role reversal society, they watch these shows because the competitive nature is a real attraction.
Sustainability talk – “Being green brings in the greens.” The social consciousness era is well underway and letting customers knows that your establishment takes it seriously will attract diners. One of the biggest elements of going green is ‘buying local’ to reduce the carbon footprint and support local farmers and businesses. Buying local honey, olive oils, etc. should come from local suppliers vs. from Argentina or Italy.
Boomer trends – As the baby boomer generation ages, they are leading the way to living longer and in doing so, requesting the following:
- Sauce on the side
- Smart food requests, i.e. acai, dark berries
- Healthier options for kids menus
- Mediterranean diet options
In Part 2 of Trends, we will review more on healthy requests, in-room dining and other menu trend foods.
Cheers to your food enjoyment!