Exclusive Feature: Your guests are craving something delicious: It’s late night, they’ve had a long day of travel, and they’re hungry, not hungry enough to order room service and devour an entire meal, but just hungry enough that the small bag of peanuts in the mini-bar won’t cut it, and the potato chips are too salty for a before-bed snack.
The quest for a healthy midnight snack begins, but where to start? Marriott Hotels thinks they have the right solution: healthy hotel vending machines.
The hotel company launched its first healthy vending machine in the lobby of the Chicago Marriott O’Hare hotel. The vending machine features salads, sandwiches and snacks made fresh everyday.
The idea, conceived by a 21-year-old college student, was one of the first “innovations” incorporated into Marriott hotels as part of the chain’s Travel Brilliantly campaign.
To help bring the concept to life, Marriott Hotels reached out to Chicago start-up Farmer's Fridge, which specialized in making healthy food easier to access on-the-go. The healthy vending machine will include items prepared daily by Farmer's Fridge including:
Farmers Fridge Details - The Detox Salad (also known as the Junk Food Eraser) made with organic Kale and Quinoa with fennel, fruits and beans served in white balsamic vinaigrette.
Greek Yogurt and Berries (also known as Breakfast of the Gods) made with low-fat Greek Yogurt, berries and locally sourced honey.
Lemon Pepper Chicken made with chicken breast from chickens that have been humanely raised without antibiotics, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper.
As you might expect, the items will be priced at a higher premium than your typical bag of M&Ms or pretzel sticks. The Farmers Fridge vending machine items will range in price from $3 to $12.
The profits are yet to be seen from this installation. The vending machine just launched last month and will be in place for 5 months.
However, based on the influx of requests from road warriors these days, I would wager that this type of healthy food option will do quite well.
However, I’d challenge the hotel industry to think bigger: a vending machine stocked daily with fresh food is a great start, but when can see this type of initiative in guest room mini bars?
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Melanie Nayer is a hotel reviewer and expert on luxury travel around the world. She has covered all aspects of hotels including corporate restructures, re-branding initiatives, historical aspects and the best of the best in luxury hotels around the world.
Melanie writes a weekly exclusive column for 4Hoteliers.com