Partner with Local Purveyors to Bring Guests a Local Experience

By Thomas McKeown Executive Chef, Hyatt Regency Atlanta | August 21, 2016

Faced with new, demanding guests, hotel restaurants are relying on local sourcing, quality ingredients and authentic experiences to return to the glory days of hotel dining. Not all that long ago, the best dining you could find in any city in America was in a hotel.

In cities like New York, Chicago, San Francisco, even in my city of Atlanta, grand hotels offered acclaimed restaurants known for their fine cuisine and memorable experiences. People got dressed up to enjoy steak and lobster, oysters and fine wine. For their discriminating guests, chefs served surprises like shrimp cocktail, baked Alaska and smart cocktails.

Hotels and their restaurants became recognized and beloved brands. Even their special recipes were famous – think Waldorf Salad. In those glory days of hotel dining, a large hotel like mine would have half a dozen restaurants of all types and price points, just to keep up with demand.

Unfortunately, things changed, and not for the better. And our industry is at fault.

In more recent decades, hotel dining earned a reputation – like airline food – for offering bland (or worse) meals at exorbitant prices. High quality, chef-driven restaurants increasingly became a thing of the past.

Not surprisingly, our customers reacted and new competitors emerged. The modern guest gravitated to freestanding boutique restaurants, which excelled at providing expert service and surprising, delightful cuisine, successfully mimicking the hotel experience of years past.

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