Foodservice is a differentiator for many properties as competition has increased. While amenities, service and room appeal remain the primary brand drivers for hotels operators, increasingly the food and beverage program is promoted as a way to stand out from other similarly priced and arranged hotels. Sales in foodservice have been steady with the five-year (2010 -2015) compound annual growth for U.S. lodging foodservice standing currently at 6%. To keep up this momentum operators continue to innovate in order to better serve their clientele. Hospitality operators are taking advantage of business travelers’ needs with increased “grab-and-go” options in lobby and pantry stores. The expanded services are often highlighted in hotels’ advanced menu and breakfast options, such as local meats and vegetables or seasonal menu offerings.
Mini-bars and in-room foodservice are seeing a downturn as they are impacted by guests using mobile ordering and third party delivery food delivery service for their dining needs. Lodging operators are finding that the labor and costs associated with these services are comparatively high and believe there is value in enticing the guest to eat outside of the guest room. Banquets and catering are seeing an upswing as corporate entities flex their event dollars and increase overall travel spending. When surveyed, hotel operators reported that 40% of their total foodservice sales were derived from banquets and catering. Boutique hotels - smaller brands that cater more toward the individual needs - have also seen an increase in traffic over the last several years. The need to focus on niche markets permeates the entirety of the lodging industry for brands to differentiate themselves. Operators are offering food and beverage options to entice customers looking for notable differences in service. For example, craft beer offerings, free happy hours, and gourmet coffee bars are becoming popular to distinguish between hotel chains for the discerning traveler.