Blurring the line

Be it late night check-ins after a long haul or the need to grab a quick bite in between regular dining hours, snacks are fast gaining popularity. Hotels are making sure that they not only have enough snacking options but that they are also available at odd hours.

This trend is completely understandable when one looks closely at the guest profile. Eating habits in general have changed drastically in the past few years. Global market research firm NPD in its March report on snacking attitudes said, “Although most snack foods are eaten between meals, snack foods eaten at main meals now represent 24 percent of all snack food eatings, which is up from 21 percent five years ago.” Each year the global food, restaurant, and hotel consultancy Baum + Whiteman releases a list of predictions of the hottest trends. In their “13 hottest food & beverage trends in restaurants” report the firm says that “everything’s going to be a snack.”

A look at the Four Seasons Hotel in New York late night options validates this. The options include organic blue corn chips with guacamole and salsa, Mediterranean platter with baba ganoush, and spicy chicken wings with blue cheese dressing. The hotel also has a very witty listing of “Breakfast before bed” which offers options such as lemon ricotta hotcakes with Vermont maple syrup or organic eggs any style with rosemary home fries with salad. End it with the NY cheesecake with lime glaze and crushed graham. This could very well be a three-course meal. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is also offering a rather lavish array of items to satiate those midnight cravings, be it to cure your hangovers or simply have a meal after a long night out. The Henry is open 24 hours a day, with the late night service running from 10 p.m. through 6 a.m. In room services also allow the guest to choose from an elaborate menu, which is not just limited to a few sandwiches or salads.

Orlando World Center Marriott has introduced the Central Pantry, which offers snacks daily from 6 a.m. to 2 a.m. The pantry is filled with grab and go snacks such as freshly prepared bakery items, whole fruits, crudités and hummus, salads, gourmet flat breads, chips, and drinks. Hilton Garden Inn’s Pavilion Pantry also offers guests the option of an open pantry 24 hours a day. The quick-stop market has an array of sundries, microwavable meals, snacks, and beverages.

For those hotels which do not have restaurant options, there are quite a few startups that deliver food late into the night. Indy All Night based in Indianapolis allows online orders until 4.30 a.m. Try the classic spaghetti, fish ‘n chips, or a signature smothered potato bowl. Be sure to save room for fried cheesecake.

While the discussion is still ongoing as to whether hotel restaurants are profitable or not, and whether it’s wise to keep the kitchen working late into the night, we can all agree that customers want what they want―when they want it.