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Culinary Renaissance

Hilton Garden Inn Continues To Increase F&B Options For Guests

Friday, November 08, 2019
Dennis Nessler
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When it comes to food & beverage, the bar continues to be raised among increasingly discerning guests even within so-called limited or focused-service hotels.

In what has been referred to as a “culinary renaissance” by Hilton’s John Greenleaf, consumers have prioritized the importance of convenience, a social setting, and fresh and healthy food, among other things.

In fact, Hilton Garden Inn—which was launched in 1996 and now has more than 840 locations—underwent a global refresh in 2017 with food & beverage as a major focus of the initiative, according to Greenleaf, global head, Hilton Garden Inn.

“The refresh was grounded in insights, capitalizing on industry-wide trends to brighten our F&B and provide a unique experience that is elevated, unexpected and always delicious,” he said.

Greenleaf elaborated on the brand’s commitment. “We’re communicating to consumers that Hilton Garden Inn is delivering simple things at a higher standard than what you would expect for a hotel in our category. To put a strong emphasis on food and beverage, elevating the typical hotel dining experience, our bar and restaurant use the simple approach in that we listen to our customers and deliver targeted items that resonate with our audience and meet their needs.”

Some of the brand’s offerings include a cooked-to-order breakfast, on-trend small plates, handcrafted cocktails and local craft beers. In addition, the full-service restaurant and bar Garden Grille & Bars continues to gain momentum within the brand as it is now in more than 550 U.S. locations.

Greenleaf noted that while there are certain staples within the brand that guests can get at location, such as its signature Mobley Burger and a beer, the brand has acknowledged regional differences exist as well.

“One of the best ways to experience a destination and its culture is by sampling its food. We know today’s travelers are attracted to F&B offerings that are reflective of where they are visiting, so our approach allows hotels to customize their menus with offerings that showcase locally-sourced ingredients and reflect the regional cuisine,” he said.

Greenleaf also acknowledged the importance of grab-and-go items with what is called The Shop. The 24-hour, grab-and-go retail space offers an upscale mix of healthy, indulgent and fresh foods, according to the company. The Shop also features items unique to each property, such as local snack brands, craft beers and beverages, and a specialty, self-serve coffee bar.

The brand also offers its own take on in-room dining with meals delivered to guests in biodegradable “take out” style packaging. The packaging--which is provided by Your Green 2 Go--is designed to require less clean-up and enable easily stored leftovers. “This has been well received by guests for efficiency and flexibility,” said Greenleaf.

Meanwhile, the company also offers light options for breakfast, such as oatmeal, cereal or yogurt or a breakfast buffer near the open display kitchen. The brand is also testing a number of additional healthy items both on the buffet and as cooked to order features.

“The initial feedback has been positive with guests appreciating the options and experimenting with new breakfast flavors,” said Greenleaf.

In an effort to continue to keep things fresh, the menu is changed twice a year with seasonal items added. Nevertheless, Greenleaf insisted it is thoughtfully designed for franchisees as well. “With a new menu we always strive to simplify it for our owners as well, focusing on items that require less time to prepare with simplified procedures,” he said.

Greenleaf explained that the entire program is designed to be owner friendly as well noting it was extensively “tested and evaluated.”

He further described the process. “Significant research went into the planning for the Hilton Garden Inn brand refresh and the changes to our F&B platform…We’d make changes in hotels, request feedback from owners and guests and refine as needed before we asked hotels to make the investment and implement the updates. This thoughtful approach and constant improvement process ensures a positive outcome and owner success,” he said.

Finally, Greenleaf touted the impact of the revamped F&B program thus far. “The food and beverage platform has really had an impact on the guest experience with an increase on all of our satisfaction scores, especially those of the bar,” he said.
Dennis Nessler    Dennis Nessler
Hotel Interactive®, Inc.
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