Eating well and sticking to a diet can be especially difficult while on the road. People are more likely to consume fatty foods, alcohol, less fiber and more sweets and snacks. After all, food can be something to look forward to, possibly even one of the best parts of getting away from the routine. Naturally, many hotels and resorts offer a balanced breakfast with healthier food options like fruits and grains. However, variety and healthy alternatives can still be hard to find.
According to the report “We Are What We Eat: Healthy Eating Trends Around the World,” nearly 50% of consumers report to be actively trying to lose weight. Of those, 65% are cutting their fat intake, 62% are eliminating chocolates and sweets, and 41% are decreasing portion sizes. More than half, per the report, are expanding their diets to include more natural and fresh ingredients, with 77% practicing healthier choices, and some 600 million people around the world identifying as vegetarian. Today’s consumers are leaning toward healthier lifestyle and eating habits that also influence their decisions when it comes to the restaurants and hotels they choose. But how well are hotels and resorts prepared to meet these new demands?
Hotels and resorts are faced with the challenges these new food restrictions and dietary preferences bring, and some are already revamping their menu offerings in order to meet the demand. This can also be an opportunity for properties to differentiate themselves from the competition and grow market share. In the end, if guests don’t find what they’re looking for in the room-service menu or on-site restaurant, they will simply go out and find it elsewhere. And the proof is in the pudding as we’re seeing more vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free restaurants emerge with success. Operators are taking note that more people are adopting new eating habits as part of their lifestyle, and it’s not just as a short-term trend. Facing this challenge head on, hotel chains like Hyatt and Westin are working hard to provide guests with health-conscious choices by reworking their menus and even equipping some hotel rooms with workout equipment, giving guests the option to stay on track with their health goals, even if out-of-town. Some hoteliers are also taking steps to educate staff on the various types of allergens and diets, knowledge which helps increase guest satisfaction and level of service. Entire menus have been redesigned to include mainly gluten-free ingredients that not only accommodate those with Celiac disease but also make for tasty meals that appeal to all guests.
Enhanced food menus that accommodate dietary preferences and allergies are best supported with robust technology that aids in nutritional control. Inventory and procurement systems provide detailed data at the ingredient level. For a given allergy, staff can easily identify which menu items are acceptable for the guest. The results of which translate to a boost in sales by accommodating more preferences yielded by happier guests.