Technology offers opportunities for improved breakfast design

(EDG Design)

When it designed the Fairmont Vancouver, EDG Design used induction tops and frost tops that disguise heating and cooling elements under stone counters in the hotel’s breakfast area. “It allows us to flex from social scene to action service with a flip of a switch,” said Jennifer Johanson, president and CEO. “Using induction and frost top stone helps to convert buffet tables into bars or community dining tables without the unsightly heating equipment. The buffet can disappear and we can transform a space instantly.”

Best Western also started using induction heating in breakfast displays, and Ron Pohl, SVP of brand management for Best Western Hotels & Resorts, said that the change has affected breakfast areas in many ways. “The chafers of the past were big and bulky, whereas the new induction range/chafer combinations are convenient and sleek, making the space more aesthetically pleasing,” he said.

Additional heating elements in the breakfast areas have also opened up the space for managers’ receptions in the evening, allowing hot food to be presented as needed. 

“In addition, guests often want to return to the hotel and just bring their own meals down to enjoy instead of staying in their guestrooms, and the new heating elements allow them to do that,” Pohl said. “As an example, Best Western’s Executive Residency has a communal table made of quartz that has concealed induction heating units. The table cleverly conceals these elements so that they are there when you need them, and hidden when you don’t. These innovations are critical to the success of the space.” 

Some of Hilton Worldwide’s Embassy Suites hotels are beta testing a program that puts iPads by the omelet and egg stations so that guests can place orders without waiting in line. In the three hotels now offering this technology, guests no longer need to stand around while their orders are completed, but can go and pick up other items while they wait for the eggs to be prepared, said Bill Duncan, global head of Hilton’s all-suites brands. “That could have an impact on the way the area is designed because not as much space [for waiting] will be needed.” With guests able to get in and out of the breakfast area quicker and more efficiently, he said, designers are able to streamline the space.