By Terry Trucco
Hotels like to advertise that they offer all the comforts of home, only better. So why is it so hard to find healthy items like cage-free eggs, low-fat milk and grass-fed beef in the restaurants of most large full-service hotels?
Hyatt Hotels aims to change that and lots more. This week the company unveiled Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served, a soup to nuts food philosophy that in essence overhauls the entire food and beverage service for all Hyatt full service brands. The triple-tined aim is
to serve food that is locally sourced, harvested from sustainable sources and healthy to boot.
As you know if you’ve visited the restaurants at Hyatt’s New York City properties including the Grand Hyatt, healthy, locally sourced offerings have nibbled their way onto the menus – and into Hyatt culture — for a while. (The Andaz Wall Street even hosts a twice-weekly farmers market during warm months.)
This week’s announcement spells out the details and widens the reach to all full-service Hyatt hotels.
Food. et al‘s manifesto – presented on a page garnished with images of picture-perfect
produce (locally sourced, we presume) – is built around three components, or pillars,
to use Hyatt speak – healthy choices (controlled portions, natural ingredients,
vegetarian and gluten-free); environmentally conscious sourcing (sustainable seafood, recycling programs, on-property chef’s gardens) and support for local communities (at least five local ingredients on every menu).
To up the ante Hyatt announced an affiliation with Partnership for Healthier America to hold the company accountable for nutritional improvements. The goal: cut sodium, sugar and calories by 20 percent over the next decade.
Given the hotel industry’s competitive instincts – remember the impact of Weston’s Heavenly Bed? – we predict healthy food will be the next hotel megatrend from California to the Carolinas. And not a moment too soon.
Though gleeful to be first at the finish line (this time), Hyatt representatives say they expect – and want – others in the industry to follow. One reason is the dearth of suppliers for sustainable, organic and additive-free food. “If we can get more hotels on board, prices can come down,” says Susan Santiago, vice-president food and beverages, Hyatt North America.
Hyatt’s food overhaul was in the works for two years. In response to demand from guests, Hyatt tested the waters, tweaking the menus at a sampling of hotels across the country. At breakfast, guests had a choice of conventional eggs and sausage or cage-free eggs and hormone/antibiotic-free sausage at a slightly higher price. A conventional beef burger and a pricier grass-fed version were also offered.
If 10 percent of the guests opted for the premium foods, Hyatt planned to drop conventional meat and eggs from its menus, Santiago says. The final tally? 30 percent ordered the healthy fare. Case closed. Look for cage-free organic eggs and Neuske’s natural bacon on your breakfast plate, if you check into a Hyatt.
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