Hotel food and beverage is in a state of flux—roomservice is either going by the wayside or is being drastically retooled, three-meal restaurants are being replaced by grab-and-go—but breakfast still reigns supreme.
Many brands are rethinking what breakfast means to guests, and Aloft Hotels is the latest to introduce its spin on the most important meal of the day. The brand’s revitalized Re:fuel by Aloft breakfast format “promises to fundamentally change the way guests experience the most important meal of the day at Aloft Hotels,” according to the brand.
The refresh includes the creation of 13 portable breakfast pots, which can be purchased at the more than 90 Aloft Hotels in the United States, with plans to roll the program out at Aloft Hotels worldwide. The new Re:fuel breakfast pots are designed to give guests a balanced and fresh breakfast to enjoy on the go.
“The concept came out of an in-depth study we conducted into consumer needs and global food trends, to help us pinpoint exactly what Aloft’s target guests were looking for from a hotel breakfast experience,” said Toni Stoeckl, global brand leader and VP, Distinctive Select Brands, Marriott International. “The findings were clear—people wanted something hot, fast and fresh that they could conveniently take with them on-the-go, and it was out of this that the Re:fuel breakfast pots were born.”
The 13 varieties of the Re:fuel breakfast pots allow Aloft’s guests to choose a breakfast to suit their style. The menu includes sweet, savory and vegetarian options:
- The Original: seasoned fries, poached egg, cheese sauce, bacon and scallion
- The Ranchero: black bean salsa, tortilla chips, avocado, lime sour cream, poached egg, cilantro, grape tomato and salsa
- The Goodness: grains, poached egg, avocado, goat cheese, grape tomato, cucumbers, basil, honey lemon vinaigrette and salt
- The Classic: corned beef hash, poached egg and scallion
- The Paleo: sweet potato hash, poached egg and scallion
- The Hearty: pork and bean base, poached egg, pepper and scallion
- The Protein: quinoa, mushrooms, kale, basil, grape tomato, turkey sausage, poached egg, lemon vinaigrette, salt and pepper
- The Lean Green: Brussel sprouts, kale, avocado, basil, poached egg, lemon vinaigrette, salt and pepper
- The Southern: cheddar grits, chicken pieces, sriracha honey, poached egg, honey and scallion
- The Classic Southern: cheddar grits, poached egg, shredded yellow cheddar, pepper and scallion
- The Sweet: mini pancakes, assorted berries, granola, maple syrup, mint leaves and lemon ricotta
- The Berry: overnight oat base, yogurt, fresh berries, granola, honey and mint leaves
- The Brunch: French toast sticks, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, icing, powdered sugar and mint leaves
Digital kiosks will be at the heart of the revitalized Re:fuel program. Guests will place their order through the kiosks, and their selection will be custom-made for them. Each pot is labelled with its own unique avatar sticker, which also denotes the time the pot was created.
The brand collaborated closely with its owner and franchisee advisory board during the process, and research shows that 96 percent of owners believe the new Re:fuel concept is a material improvement, according to Stoeckl.
“They have found the program ‘game changing’ for our tier of hotels, relative to typical offerings in this space,” he said. “They’ve told us the program is relevant for our consumers, easy to operate and providing potential to drive revenue.”
Stoeckl said the cost of the pots is decided by each individual property, but the cost should be comparable to other breakfast offerings, such as Starbucks or Pret A Manger.
The offering officially will be launched at Aloft hotels in the U.S. beginning March 1. The new concept will be rolled out to Aloft Hotels in Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa in the future, where the program will be adapted to suit local cuisines and trends.
“Most Aloft Hotels don’t have a full-service restaurant on-site, so we came up with this non-traditional approach to ensure our guests can still enjoy a hot, made-to-order breakfast before they leave for the day,” said Bridget Higgins, global brand director, Aloft Hotels. “Aloft Hotel guests are always ahead of the curve, and with foodie culture becoming more and more prevalent, we wanted to offer them something that felt relevant to them. The Re:fuel breakfast pots provide guests with a quick and easy way to get a fresh breakfast before a day of meetings or sight-seeing, all in a stylish, fun container that they can take with them on the go.”
The study findings that helped the brand also helped Aloft to narrow its focus for the products sold in the grab-and-go area, with an increased focus on fun, balanced, natural and locally inspired items. Products on offer at the Re:fuel grab and go will include Chameleon Cold Brew Coffee, Buddha Bowl Himalayan Salt Popcorn, Graze snack packs and Fairytale Fruit Gourmet Gum.