Smell of fresh bacon part of HIEx breakfast

Hockey greats, Guy Carbonneau (left) and Doug Gilmour, show off their creations.
Hockey greats, Guy Carbonneau (left) and Doug Gilmour, show off their creations.

TORONTO, ATLANTA — Holiday Inn Express’s new breakfast includes real eggs and fresh-cooked bacon. In Canada, the new breakfast kicked off by having hockey greats Doug Gilmour and Guy Carbonneau use the ingredients to show off their culinary skills. Hockey analyst and former player Mike Johnson acted as host, referee and judge, deciding that The Power Play Pancake Cup, put together by Carbonneau beat out Gilmour’s creation, The Gloves Off Breakfast Sandwich.

The event took place and was captured on film at the Holiday Inn Express & Suites Mississauga Toronto Southwest, an Easton’s Group property.

“I was really excited that we could work together on this,” said Jennifer Gribble, vice-president, Global Holiday Inn Express, Mainstream Growth at IHG. “It was a great way of showing off our breakfast bar and highlighting some of the items.”

“The new Express Start breakfast bar has been in works since 2016, when IHG realized that breakfast was a key reason guests were choosing hotels in this category,” Gribble told CLN. “We wanted to create one of the best-loved breakfasts in the industry. People eat with their eyes, so it had to have incredible design and taste great too.”

Jennifer Gribble.
Jennifer Gribble.

Owners are an important ingredient in making key decisions at IHG. “A handful of them — including a Canadian owner — rolled up their selves and helped us pilot the breakfast,” Gribble said.

The differences between the Express Start breakfast and those of competitors include all-new high-level vessels and menu items. The signage is also new and encapsulates the look, Gribble said. IHG wanted to make sure they had the latest technology to regulate food temperature. The breakfast features fresh eggs and meats, a new oven and new cooked products. The new pancake machine has been particularly popular.

“We improved our healthy options too,” said Gribble. “We have hard-boiled eggs, turkey sausage, and fresh eggs and meat.”

The rollout has been in phases, and 70 per cent of Canadian hotels now have this breakfast bar. “From a guest perspective, the rollout is seamless. The old breakfast bar closes one day; that afternoon the new one is implemented; and the next morning breakfast is an entirely different experience,” Gribble said. “It’s turnkey — it literally happens overnight.”

The look of the breakfast bar is in line with Holiday Inn Express’s Formula Blue design, Gribble added.

“The reaction of owners is that by having fresh meats and eggs, they have considerable savings, as there is a premium price for pre-cooked items. Operational ease is important, and guest satisfaction ratings have gone up.”