This summer, Hyatt Hotels launched a new F&B initiative called: “Food. Thoughtfully Sourced. Carefully Served.” Basically, the brand is making the locavore megatrend standard procedure at all hotels. The concept is based on three pillars designed to align operations with demand: Nutrition, Sustainability and Community.
The Nutrition aspect examines portion control and nutritional balance. Hyatt has committed to reducing sodium, calories and sugars by 20% over the next 10 years. The Sustainability component focuses on using responsibly grown, locally sourced products. Hyatt Hotels was the first major hotel brand to implement seasonal banquet menus and the first to mandate cage free eggs, sustainable seafood and all natural beef burgers on all menus in all restaurants. The third pillar, Community, strives for a more integrated dialogue between chefs, guests and local suppliers.
So who’s responsible for jumpstarting all this?
“It really came from our meeting planners who were saying, ‘We need more healthy options, our attendees have certain dietary needs,’” says Steve Enselein, vp of catering/convention services. “That really was the genesis of us starting to look at these seasonal and sustainable menus.”
Meaning, you won’t see many of those around-the-world buffets anymore at Hyatt. The new F&B initiative also provides a more authentic sense of place, in tune with consumer trends. “In many cases, the hotel will also bring in specific vendors, who might be there to talk about the cheese they made or the honey they made, or even the beer they brewed,” adds Enselein.
Sometimes the hotels offer events already in place, like the farmers markets at Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort in San Antonio.
Susan Santiago, corporate vp of food & beverage, says that even if the hotels don’t bring in local vendors, Hyatt is bolstering the chefs’ role to be more interactive.
“So if not the suppliers, then the hotel chefs can certainly talk about the local food scene,” says Santiago. “Our new internal education programs are designed to accomplish that.”
And what are the primary takeaways?
“It becomes not only fun and entertaining, it becomes educational too, and many people are so interested in what they’re eating and drinking these days,” Enselein says. “For attendees to get to interact with the artisans who are making their food has been a great benefit to everybody.”
Santiago sums up that Hyatt Hotels really sees this as a differentiator. She says, “Meeting planners have told us that the company that can figure out how to deliver this will certainly be their brand preference.”
Lobster & Chorizo, Anyone?
We checked in with Hyatt Key West Resort & Spa for some specifics about the new sustainable menus. “We do a breakfast ceviche with mango, pineapple, banana, strawberry, tangerine and dried cranberries served over a crisp plantain chip,” says exec chef Dan Elinan. “We also offer grilled Florida lobster and chorizo risotto.”
Elinan and his staff are also taking the concept out into the community. He says, “The resort is in the process of introducing a series of cooking classes at a local women’s shelter involving menu planning for families, where all of the dishes revolve around the three pillars.”