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06

Dining, distancing, and still driving great experiences

As restaurant dining begins to reopen across the country, it has been great to see trends emerging around providing guests with special experiences. Here are a few of our favorites:

Picnics

For hotels and resorts that have the space, private picnics are a great way to promote special experiences that also incorporate social distancing. From lunch under the redwoods in Big Sur to canapes and Champagne at the Beverly Hills Hotel, properties have created memorable opportunities for guests with unique picnic menus, maps of secluded locations, and more.

In-Suite Dining

Basic IRD is so yesterday: These days, smart hoteliers are rebranding in-room dining experiences under their restaurant brands, elevating the in-room experience with a full menu while alleviating capacity pressure on other dining spaces. In addition, matching the restaurant experience by utilizing the same flatware, china, and glassware transforms the meal into a kind of pop-up restaurant right in the guestroom. Other memorable touches? Try including a hand-written card from the sommelier describing the wine or beverage selections. A note from the chef thanking guests for ordering. Or even take-home recipe cards. It's not just about delivering the food—it's about delivering something guests will cherish long after.

QR Codes

Believe it or not, they are back! To avoid wasteful one-time-use printing, we are seeing a lot of restaurants opt for QR codes that guests can use to order. Consider including one within your welcome kit—it's the perfect addition to a letter from the chef encouraging guests to dine in the restaurant or in their suite. "Scan this QR code to preview our new menu offerings. My personal favorite right now is XXXXXX." Take every opportunity for a personal guest interaction!

Pop-Up Farm Stands

A pop-up grab-and-go dining experience with curated lunch offerings is not only convenient, it will be much appreciated—whether it's a "design your own picnic" offering or just a selection of house-made snacks, fresh fruits and vegetables. 

Fun Kids' Offerings

Unicorn hot cocoa? Make-your-own cake-pop kits? Waffles with over 30 toppings to choose from? When you provide kids with unique and fun dining experiences, you keep parents happy, too. And for restaurants looking to turn tables quickly, a unique offering like a to-go gourmet s'mores menu—packaged and ready to take to the fire pit after dinner—will have the young ones eying the door immediately.

Vegan/Vegetarian Offerings

Inclusivity matters, and we love how restaurants are catering to dining preferences in a whole new way. Showcasing the abilities of talented chefs to think beyond the traditional is an important trend we have been seeing for a while, of course. But now more than ever, chefs are proving their commitment to inclusivity with offerings like the separate vegan tasting menus our friends at Chileno Bay have created. These aren't afterthoughts—they are as carefully constructed and considered as the other menus.