Food &Beverage Trends Panel Discussion- Key Takeaways
By: Alanna Seto, Sales Manager, Loews Kansas City Hotel, Kansas City, MO
The PCMA Heartland Chapter hosted a Food & Beverage Trends panel on Thursday, August 18th. The hospitality professionals speaking at this event were:
- Cesar A Diaz Romero, Executive Chef at Hilton President Hotel
- Danica Tolen, Director of Sales at Hilton President Hotel
- Missy Johnson, CEO at MJMeetings, LLC
Cesar has been working at the Hilton President for 12 years and is originally from Mexico. Danica has been in the industry for 22 years and started her career out in catering. She went on to talk about the hotel and how it is a historic building. It opened its doors in the 1920’s and used to have 400 guest rooms which has changed to 213 after a 45-million-dollar renovation. Lastly, Missy introduced herself and has been a PCMA member since 2000 and was a past PCMA president in 2010.
What is your favorite food trend?
- Cesar: COVID has made a lot of people cook at home which allows people to transfer that over to restaurants
- Missy: Cutting back on red meat! Lots of restaurants now are also using local product and we are now seeing banquet menus that showcase produce from the city itself.
- Danica: Gluten free options and action stations.
Is it harder to source plant-based products?
- Cesar: Vegan cheese is specially ordered. Vegan meat is easy to order too but it needs to be done ahead of time.
How often are you seeing requests for specialty menus?
- Danica: not on corporate meetings but definitely on social groups and we are seeing hotels increase service charges to balance that out.
- Missy: Associations need to understand that foods costs have gone up. A $25.00 chick dinner is no longer that same price three years ago. Groups need to budget more and cannot lock in menu pricing for an event that is three years from now. Labor is also more expensive as well.
- Cesar: if someone has a vegan meal or allergy the kitchen will typically make a separate plate to accommodate.