Sarah Jane- Grant, partner at Dubai-based hospitality interior design consultancy LXA shares her thoughts on the latest trends defining hotel F&B.
Hotels are constantly challenged to evolve and adapt to meet ever-changing consumer expectations. They are no longer considered places to just eat and sleep, but representative of lifestyles that are interwoven into the cultural, social and business fabric of their location. With hotels prepared to invest into food and beverage (F&B) experiences, restaurant design has to highlight and communicate this, while keeping in mind the need for operational functionality. The most successful dining experiences seamlessly bring together the environment and the experience into a unique space. There is no longer a traditional single way of thinking when it comes creating and designing these outlets of the future. Here are our eight trends defining hotel F&B.
Predicted to be in action in the next few years, the Robobutler will be there to serve your needs. Programmed prior to your arrival, the Robobutler will speak your language and will be tailored to your needs and requirements – from ordering room service to informing you of the happening events in town. The Robobutler will also provide companionship without intrusion – we all enjoy our privacy after all. This innovation is expected to create a highly personalised in-hotel experience.
2. A home away from home
From gourmet genomics (food tailored to your personal taste and health/ fitness/ allergy requirements) to the future wellness spa (imagine a Robodoctor that provides predictive health diagnosis and personalised nutrition and DNA analysis to design a lifestyle, diet and exercise plan to promote a long life) the hotels of the future will be a home away from home.
To support this, LXA proposes to offer an in-room dining area for the hotels of the future, offering the ultimate in convenience and functionality. As designers it is important to maximise space to make the dining comfortable with a strong brand identity.
3. Based on a true story
Consumers have been romanced by product origin, ingredients or inspirational stories. Now they are starting to ask big questions about the integrity of their food so chefs are now using ‘just-picked produce’ to source much of their culinary inspiration. This best reflects a restaurant’s ‘farm-to-table’ philosophy, which has never been more important. LXA is now considering plant-based protein bars and self-juicing areas sitting alongside the lobby coffee shop.
From locally-sourced and home-grown food and vegetables in the hotel’s restaurants to naturally and locally sourced building materials, the future hotel will embrace the “green” revolution and appeal to the more astute and perceptive future traveller. With the multi-cultural, religious and cosmopolitan lifestyle that modern society provides, travellers want to experience and immerse themselves in the “real deal” when abroad without feeling guilty about carbon footprints. As water quality and sustainability are issues we face in the Middle East, design will also have to adjust to satisfy the desire for transparency. Materials sourced in sustainable way such as recycling, reclaimed wood and biodegradable materials will continue to be used in an exciting and innovative way.
5. 3D printing
Are you ready for digital cooking? Using three-dimensional food printers, this exceptionally unique experience uses 3D printing to turn food preparation into an automated activity. LXA is noticing how these emerging technologies are rapidly challenging and changing the way we eat, share, create and live. Already being used in care homes, this could be applied to the hotel room dining experience, allowing personalised balanced meals adjusted to your taste to be digitally printed within your hotel room. This solution could be the ultimate in combining personal dining, convenience and health.
6. Catwalk influences
Fashion and retail brands are emerging within hotel F&B. Concepts such as Intersect by Lexus, Armani Cafe and Harpers Bazaar Cafe are the latest F&B projects, designed to communicate and engage with clientele allowing them to immerse themselves in an interactive experience with their favourite brands.
Appealing to your target by offering a space where people can congregate and potentially socialise with like-minded people is a big plus. This also aims to encourage guests to form an emotional connection with their hotel experience.
7. Grab & Go with mobile apps
Like many current food trends, this trend is driven by busy, tech-savvy millennials. Guests and meeting attendees can use hotel or meeting points to access interactive menus through personal mobile devices, ordering freshly prepared menu items for quick pick up without the wait. Mobile apps for vendor booths or breakout meeting space can also speed up the service.
8. A third place
Where people once sat at dedicated desks in their hotel rooms, portable technology now allows them to bring their laptops and tablets into lobbies and bars to work in a communal setting. LXA has already started to see a shift in the use of lobby spaces with the physical boundaries of traditional all-day dining restaurants blur into universal “social spaces”.