Holiday Inn updates food offerings

Carrot cake in a mason jar with cream cheese frosting from Burger Theory.

Carrot cake in a mason jar with cream cheese frosting from Burger Theory.

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LAS VEGAS—More than half of Holiday Inn guests eat breakfast
when they stay—that amounts to four million people per year. But Holiday Inn’s
breakfast offerings are inconsistent, outdated and not making the money they
should, Maurice Cooper, vice president of the Holiday Inn brand for IHG, told
4,300 delegates to the IHG Americas Investors and Leadership Conference held last
week in Las Vegas. At the same time, Holiday Inn’s heartbeat scores, a measure
of guest satisfaction, rise by four points if guests stay onsite for dinner.

IHG has addressed improvements to food and beverage with
three new opt-in solutions that should be in place by this time next year.

The first is the Eat Bar & Grill program – which Cooper
describes as a “restaurant in a box,” that contains elements of Holiday’s Inns’
The Hub and The Active Lobby. In tests, 75 per cent of hotels that implemented
the program grew their bottom line, and some hotels had the system up and
running in three weeks.

A server with a tray of shrimp from Burger Theory.

A server with a tray of shrimp from Burger Theory.

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The second is Burger Theory, a bar-centric, rustic concept
now being tested at the Atlanta Holiday Inn Airport South. “We’re expanding it
to several hotels this year and more next year,” said Cooper, adding that it is
suitable for both renovated and new-build hotels. Cooper said that he has
sampled the “mouthwatering burgers, cravable desserts and craft beer” that are
cornerstones of the concept.

The concept has to be vetted and tested first, said Cooper.
“We’re not going to offer up any solutions until we are convinced it will be
successful.” He added that the cost will depend on whether owners build new
spaces for Burger Theory, or retrofit existing spaces.

The third is integrated solutions that provide an improved
breakfast. There’s the counter to go breakfast, where guests place an order
that is ready in seven minutes or less from back of the kitchen.  There are also yogurts, parfaits and
grab and go items.

“We’re looking at a better breakfast, not just chafing dish
items, with different offerings such as a crepe and pancake cart.  Guests can choose what they want and
pay for what they want,” Cooper said.  He added that there could be signature free items, as in “get
free pastries and coffee – and a warm hug from Holiday Inn.”

IHG is taking the best from each integrated solution and is
testing these in 40 hotels in the U.S. and Canada.  Criteria for test hotels is that they must be passionate
about the shape of the future of breakfast at Holiday Inn, there must be
geographic diversity, and diversity in types of hotels.