Prevue: How does your brand meld F&B and wellness?
Shannon: At Odyssey, we have seen an increased focus on pre-conference yoga experiences or morning events that include a cookery school setup where guests can blend their own juices. These will then be available throughout the conference at a station during breaks. This company then works with the venue to arrange composting of the remains.
What are some of the trends you are seeing when it comes to being creative with the menus?
One trend that we are seeing and practicing are menu items that mirror what guests can see at the property. One of our properties—The Merrion Hotel in Dublin—has an extensive art collection that is displayed throughout the property. Our menus feature a creative assortment of desserts and afternoon tea items that have been designed to correspond with the artwork that guests can explore on a curated tour.
Prevue: Are you finding that mocktails are becoming more mainstream with groups?
Weinstein: Mocktails, especially healthy ones made with real fruit juice, fewer additives, and ‘clean’ ingredients, are more and more in demand. At the Omni, we have tons of play around our brand. For example, our Bobs Steak and Chop House has a specific section for hand-crafted mocktails such as The Big Carrot—a playful nod to the carrot served with every steak. It’s made with fresh carrot juice, tangerine, and lemon. It's plant-forward, not overly complicated, and contains clean ingredients. Our ‘Summer of Tea’ promotion has a fun section of summer mocktails built around tea, wellness, and health benefits associated with the main ingredient. For example, our SPF mocktail contains aloe vera water, fresh lime, dragon fruit, and tea.
Are plant-based F&B options a growing trend among groups?
Vegan, vegetarian, and healthy menu items take up a good amount of menu space and are all here to stay. Above all, nutrient and fiber-packed whole vegetables and fruits are the items most sought after by our health-conscious guests. The chefs at our hotels and resorts are in step with the latest trends and incorporate healthy options into our menus in several ways. Our menus feature wellness sections, which include symbols for noting items that are gluten friendly, vegan, or plant based. This is mandatory on most of our restaurant menus across the brand. We regularly audit items during the menu approval process or when creating new menus. We also have mandates that push for plant-forward and modern plant-based offerings at every level of the menu design. In addition to food items, we also offer plant-based dairy alternatives.
What are some of the trends you are seeing when it comes to being creative with menus?
Show-stopping menu items are trending as it pertains to being creative with menus. When it comes to menu design for Omni Hotels & Resorts, items that are shareable, Instagram-worthy, or that feature local flavors all take the lead. Trick Rider, our signature restaurant at the Omni PGA Frisco, offers an “Instagramable”, chef-crafted vegan eggplant dish served with sesame puree, crispy chickpeas, and tomato passata. Another dish, which features crispy artichokes with garlic aioli and rosemary, is another popular dish. Both are modern, well-crafted, plant-forward dishes that are nice vegan surprises for those who expect to go to a fine dining restaurant featuring a protein-heavy menu.