On the Menu: Five Hotel Restaurant Trends That Are Here to Stay

Bill Kohl knows what makes a successful hotel restaurant; after all, he and the other principals of Greenwood Hospitality Group have been creating hotel restaurant concepts for the past decade. According to Kohl, Greenwood’s hotels have “very strong food and beverage personalities that position our restaurants to be competitive with any freestanding restaurants in the market.” Below are five hotel restaurant trends that Kohl believes will stick in 2020.

1Embracing responsible and sustainable suppliers.

Vegetables Farm

“I don’t know of many types of food that don’t come from a farm,” Kohl says, debunking the idea that farm-to-table dining is just a fad. Guests are still very invested in whether their food is sourced responsibly. “Greenwood has embraced this trend at many of its restaurants.”

2Serving shared and small plates.

shared meal

Kohl notes that more guests want to share smaller plates rather than have an entrée per guest because the concept is more interactive. “People love that,” he says. “It’s a non-traditional coursing, where the food comes out when it’s ready, and guests share the plates that are there.”

3Replacing “battleship buffets.”


Shaking up how banquet meals are served is among 2020’s hotel restaurant trends that are here to stay. Kohl adds, “On the banquet side, we’re getting away from traditional five-course banquet menus, or what I call ‘battleship buffets,’ where there are soups, salads, salad ingredients, the proteins, and the pasta. We take the buffets and we scatter them throughout the room into different tables.”

4Creating cocktails correctly.

Set of classic cocktails: Dirty Martini, Sherry Cobbler, Brandy Crusta, Margarita, Cobras Fang,Tom Collins and Captain James Cook arranged on the bar counter

Guests want to try new beverages with all the bells and whistles. Kohl says the trend with cocktails is that they come equipped with “custom and different shapes of ice cubes, the proper glassware, and are correctly made, like shaken or stirred with house-made infusions and bitters, as opposed to purchased.”

5Hiring knowledgeable and service-oriented staff.

Hiring knowledgable staff is among 2020's hotel restaurant trends.

Bar arts are increasingly important to hotel guests, according to Kohl. He says, “Bartenders need to know the drink, the producer of that drink, and the history behind the drink. They know the proper tools to make the drink with flair and make it consistent with the recipe. They also need the ability to host and entertain the guests as well. There are a bunch of fundamentals, but when put together and done right, the bartender stands out in your market.”



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Robin McLaughlin is digital editor of LODGING.