Guy Rigby, VP of Food and Beverage, Four Seasons, Shares Insights and Food Trends for 2015.
By Eleni Tzotzis
Tuesday, 25th November 2014

Exclusive Feature: Why are we so fascinated by Food Trends? 

Is it because we desire the new, we want to be in the know, or we simply love to eat? All true, for hoteliers however, the fascination goes beyond these reasons: food trends fuel innovative concepts that drive sales.

If there’s someone who keeps a close watch on food trends, it’s Guy Rigby (right).  As Vice-President of Food and Beverage, Americas, for Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Guy oversees food and beverage experiences for over 40 properties. 

For Guy, understanding food trends is key to creating memorable experiences in interesting environments " at a profit.  I asked him about some of his insights on food trends and his predictions for 2015. 

Here’s what he generously shared with us at 4Hoteliers.com:

In your experience, what influences trends in Food?

Trends are formed in the market place so we need to be aware of what is happening in that space.  So like everyone else, I dine out constantly and stay very connected with what’s happening in the food and beverage world, especially in cities that are key feeder markets for our hotels and resorts, i.e. NYC, LA, Chicago.  I read their key journals and meet with top restaurateurs.  This is how trends are formed and we need to stay abreast of them and adapt them for our guests.

What do Food and Beverage trends mean to you and Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts?

Four Seasons is committed to an ongoing evolution of its food and beverage offerings to remain relevant to both guests and locals.  Therefore, it is important to understand what is important to our guests and what they want to eat and experience.  Whether that is part of a bigger ‘trend’ or not, we always need to be aware of, and embrace change.

Should trends in Food and Beverage influence a hotelier’s business strategy?

Hotels need to adapt their menus to meet the demands of today’s customer.  If people want simple dishes creatively prepared with local flavors, then that is what the hotel needs to deliver.  That said, it is important to remain true to what your brand represents regardless of what today’s trends dictate.

Do Food and Beverage trends build customer loyalty?

Staying on top of food and beverage trends, while staying true to your brand’s mission, shows your guests that you understand what is going on in the world of F&B and how to adapt it to your brand.  The biggest challenge for a restaurant is how to stay relevant and top of trends, but also distinguish itself in a crowded space.

What do you predict are the top trends in Food for 2015?

Offering shared dishes on menus will be a big trend for 2015.  As people want more choices and things done ‘their way’, having shared dishes on a menu allows for increased choice and to enable people to have more of what they want.  Guests are also requesting healthier menu options for breakfast, which is quite interesting and something our chefs are considering when designing their menus.

Any other predictions for what’s ahead for Food and Beverage?

Meeting both guests’ needs as well as those of the locals in each property’s respective community is something Four Seasons is committed to.  This is an approach that has become a ‘trend’ for us as a company and has resulted in the new restaurant and bar concepts that marry the brand’s signature service standards with dynamic settings and local flavors to create individualized experiences.

Considering health in general is a food and beverage trend.  We have just launched a campaign called Energy by Four Seasons, which offers a customized approach to wellness through several avenues, including dining.  For example, at Four Seasons Westlake Village California, guests benefit from a team of registered dieticians who create Sustained Living menus to be enjoyed on property, and the Hotel offers Life Balance consultations and hands on cooking classes to reap all the benefits of healthy living at home.

It’s clear that Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts takes food trends very seriously.  They recognize that food trends fuel innovation.  For Four Seasons, this led to launching the Four Seasons Food Truck, and to Four Seasons TASTE, a website entirely dedicated to food and drink.  Both are innovative concepts and a result of food trends.

Guy described Four Seasons TASTE as a “‘virtual kitchen table’ for amateur gourmands and oenophiles to connect with Four Seasons chefs, sommeliers and experts, and engage in a lively conversation about all things epicurean, including recipes, Q&A’s and food news”. 

And the Four Seasons Food Truck?  It just finished its 2014 tour with tremendous success, visiting nine locations along the East Coast from Boston to Miami.  It gives chefs an opportunity to share their creativity, craft and passion for food with the local community.

Want to stimulate innovation and increase your hotel’s profitability?  Start by watching food trends like a hawk.

This is strictly an exclusive feature, reprints of this article in any shape or form without prior written approval from 4Hoteliers.com is not permitted.

Eleni Tzotzis is a writer and consultant whose love affair with food was passed on to her by her father, a former chef at a Toronto hotel. She writes about food, wellness, and hotels. Eleni is a regular contributor to Travel to Wellness magazine. Reach out to her through LinkedIn: ca.linkedin.com/in/elenitzotzis or by email: writetoet@gmail.com

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