Grab-and-go-dining at hotels started out as a way to send guests on their way with a good breakfast (and leave them with a positive last impression of the hotel). But the trend has grown in scope to encompass other meals and snacks through the entire day and night.
According to Jonathan Wilson, VP, product innovation and brand services for Hilton Worldwide, food-and-beverage is changing across the industry, shifting from full-service restaurants to grab-and-go throughout the day.
“With a shift in the way today’s travelers dine, the quick-service segment is moving to the forefront of the hotel experience,” he said. “Guests are also seeking more choice and control at a lower cost. We’ve seen that people want to customize their experience to their own unique needs.”
According to Tom Magnuson, CEO of Magnuson Hotels, the convenience factor of grab-and-go is important to guests.
“People are constantly on the move, with less time to sit down and eat at a restaurant,” he said. “Also the desire to eat healthier on the road [is a factor].”
Danny Williams, GM of the Wyndham Orlando Resort – International Drive, said that the hotel’s mix of leisure and business traffic influences the mix of grab-and-go offerings and demand timing.
“If it’s almost all leisure, they’re going to have coffee and rolls in the morning, and when they come back from their activities in the afternoon or evening, that’s when you’ll have the majority of food-and-beverage consumed,” he said. “When people are in meetings, they are more apt to come by and grab a cup of coffee or a sandwich or a snack because they’re more committed to the day here.”
Williams said it’s also convenient for when a convention does not plan a lunch or attendees end up working through lunch.
Hilton offers a variety of grab-and-go options, including Hilton Hotels & Resorts’ Herb N’ Kitchen outlets, an on-the-go urban market for fast, reasonably priced, high-quality meals on the go, including seasonal salads, artisanal sandwiches, oven-baked flatbreads and regional items. DoubleTree by Hilton’s Made Market serves healthy, fresh-made items from national brands and local vendors and artisans.
“The beauty of a great marketplace is that they are unconventional,” Wilson said. “They are designed for convenience when you’re hungry or expect to be hungry, and less about meal periods. We position our food-and-beverage options in visible and convenient locations within our hotels so that our guests have easy access to a variety of options no matter the time of day.”
The Wyndham Orlando’s grab-and-go area is in the lobby, so it is easily accessible to guests. Typical offerings include breakfast tacos, croissants, turkey wraps with cranberry chipotle mayo, cookies, granola bars and muffins, but Williams said that items are adjusted weekly based on who will be staying at the hotel.
“We will talk to meeting planners about their wants and needs,” he said. “If we’ve got a younger group or if we’ve got information that they are looking for more healthy items, we can shift the menu to meet that customer’s needs.”
The trend is so popular that Hilton is planning a new brand of grab-and-go for its luxury properties.