Wednesday, September 23, 2015
Hotels, food trucks form unique partnerships
Food trucks are the epitome of grab-and-go dining and have become a cultural trend, as well. Hotels often partner with food trucks to offer variety or in the case of Four Seasons, have their own truck to promote their brand.
The Aloft brand has featured food trucks alongside their Live at Aloft Hotel music events when large crowds demand a greater variety and volume of hot food items than the brand's re:fuel food-and-beverage area provides. Food trucks assembled on-site make for a fun event and engage guests with the local foodie community, according to Jeremy Cooper, direction of global guest initiatives, specialty select brands for Aloft's parent company, Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide.
"For an Aloft hotel in a location with limited restaurant options, a carefully selected food truck partner can certainly enhance the guest experience—particularly at night at the W XYZ bar," he said. "Ethnic and cultural cuisines (e.g., Korean, Indian) and trends (e.g., grilled cheese, crepe) can serve as an enhancement to the W XYZ vibe and core bar food offerings. Depending on the situation, individual hotels might be able to negotiate a commission-based agreement with the food truck operators."
Four Seasons had a FS Taste Truck Tour in 2013 and 2014, making stops across the West and the East Coast. Chefs from each of the Four Seasons properties along the way crafted unique menus specifically for the tour, highlighting regional flavors.
"For us, the popularity of the Four Seasons food truck was that people were very curious that a luxury hotel brand was operating a food truck, offering street food cooked by very well-trained chefs," according to Guy Rigby, VP of food and beverage for Four Seasons.
Cooper advised that food truck offerings and partnerships must be carefully managed to ensure the proper level of quality and reliability—as well that the food truck complements the hotel offering in a unique and engaging way, ultimately driving overall sales through beverage and ancillary food sales.