Since Australia reopened its borders in February, there’s been a wave of optimism as hotels prepare to welcome back international travellers. “Demand across Australia is strengthening, and we are starting, in some areas, to get close to 2019 levels,” Accor chief executive Sarah Derry said. “We think in 2023, we’ll be back to 2019 levels and potentially even more than that.”
With travel back on the proverbial menu, hotels will need to look carefully at their literal menus to ensure their food and beverage options continue to entice travellers – both domestic and international – to their establishments. To that end, here’s what’s hot in hotel food and beverage trends in 2022.
Sustainability is not a new trend, but one that has certainly proven it is here to stay. Today’s travellers are more concerned than ever about their impact on the climate and environment and will be more willing to spend their dollars on food and beverage options that reflect these values.
There are many ways in which hotels can boost their sustainability and reduce waste and emissions when it comes to food and beverage, such as:
Using local and seasonal produce: The shipping miles that food can take to reach our plates can be a huge contributor to emissions. Using local and seasonal produce not only reduces costs, but also helps protect hotels from the negative impacts of international supply chain disruptions, which are becoming more common.
Sourcing supplies mindfully: As well as taking advantage of local produce, hotels should be taking a close look at all their suppliers and their sustainability credentials. For example, does your fish supplier use sustainable fishing practices? And what about your coffee supplier? Lavazza has been globally recognised for our commitment to sustainability in the 2019 Forbes Global Reputation Index – so when you source your coffee from us, you can be confident we’ve employed socially and environmentally ethical practices that reflect your and your guests’ values.
Switching to compostable and biodegradable disposables and packaging: Many hotels are already making the switch away from plastic, implementing things such as paper straws and biodegradable packaging. While these are great ways to reduce a hotel’s environmental impact, in the coming months and years we expect to see hotels take it a step further by reducing disposables altogether, and relying more on reusables and returnables.
Reducing food and other waste: This one is a no-brainer for hotels – after all, there’s no point paying for food that’s ultimately going to end up in the bin. One simple way hotels can reduce food waste is by reducing the number of menu options and getting rid of less popular options. Many hotels are also demonstrating their commitment to reducing food waste by donating unused produce to food rescue and repurposing organisations like OzHarvest, Foodbank and SecondBite.
2. Plant-based food options
Gone are the days when hotels only had to provide one (often uninspiring) vegetarian option. Not only is veganism and vegetarianism on the rise, but more people are also becoming “reducetarians” – according to one study, almost one in five Australians are making a conscious effort to reduce their consumption of meat.
This rise in plant-based food is partly due to people’s growing concern about sustainability, and partly due to an increased focus on health. “Plant-based food has been a major trend in the last several years,” said Dana Pellicano, vice president of food and beverage global operations for Marriott International. “People are ready to return to wearing real clothes and pants that button, and they want to feel good about their health again.”
Don’t expect that you can simply serve guests wanting plant-based options a selection of sides, however. Thanks to the explosion in vegan and vegetarian restaurants, today’s guests are expecting just as much care given to vegan and vegetarian options as there is to meat and fish options.
“In the past, it was a grilled vegetable plate, but now there’s a contrast between colours and flavours, appealing to all the senses, and beautiful plating,” said Angela Kuzma, vice president of lifestyle for San Clemente, California-based management company Evolution Hospitality. “I would say it’s become kind of sexy food.”
3. Low- and no-alcohol beverage options
When it comes to healthy options, guests aren’t just looking at food, but drinks too. This is reflected in the growing demand for low- and no-alcohol beverages.
Just as with vegan and vegetarian options, the low- and no-alcohol beverage market has progressed in leaps and bounds over the past two years, with beverages moving beyond juice- and sugar-heavy options, and flavours becoming more sophisticated and closer in taste profile to the “real things”. No longer do consumers have to choose between health and enjoyment.
Expect to see more craft non-alcoholic beers, such as independent brewer Heaps Normal’s Quiet XPA; alcohol-free spirits used in refined and complex mocktails; and low-alcohol seltzers flavoured with more exotic aromatics, such as makrut lime and native Australian Kakadu plums, on hotel beverage menus.
4. A global experience in your own backyard
At a time when travel is, while not impossible, certainly more challenging, travellers are looking to hotels to provide the global experiences their palates are craving – particularly if they’ve had to suffer through weeks, perhaps months, of lockdowns (not to mention home-cooking).
Manpreet Singh Malik, executive chef of Crowne Plaza Chennai Adyar Park in India, called this paradoxical trend “local exotics.” “The lockdowns have not only further increased the importance of local food production, but at the same time, they have awakened a new longing for culinary discoveries and exotic delights,” he said.
For example, at the Fairmont Taghazout Bay hotel in Morocco, the signature restaurant is a world-class Japanese restaurant called Morimoto. While they use renowned, traditional Japanese techniques and style of service, they use fresh, local produce and the restaurant is staffed by Moroccan chefs.
Hotels need to get creative with how they blend the local with the global to create a unique and sophisticated culinary experience for their guests that keeps them coming back for more.
COVID-19 has certainly accelerated the uptake of technology in the hospitality sector, with establishments being forced to adopt online ordering, contactless payment and self-checkouts in order to keep customers safe. Even as things begin to return to a pre-pandemic normal, we predict technology will continue to influence the industry.
Here are some technology trends hotels could consider implementing to stay ahead of competitors:
Contactless ordering using QR codes or in-room/table beacons: These could be used not only in hotel restaurants but also in rooms for room service.
Digital menus: This cuts down on printing, and allows hotels to be flexible with their offerings and pricing.
Call and service request buttons: This allows hotels to provide a more responsive, bespoke service to guests.
Robots to help with food preparation: This may seem futuristic, but we are already starting to see examples of this in the hospitality industry. For example, Burgus Burger Bar in Israel uses a 3D printing robot, built by startup SavorEat, to simultaneously extrude and cook plant-based burgers. The machine’s ordering app even customises the size, protein and fat content, and degree of cooking based on the customer’s preferences.
If the COVID-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that we have to be ready for anything. Keeping on top of trends can ensure that, even in the face of setbacks, such as changes in restrictions or unexpected lockdowns brought on by new variants, hotels can pivot quickly and continue to draw guests to their establishments.
Interested in learning more about how Lavazza can improve your food and beverage offerings? View our comprehensive range of hotel coffee solutions.