Reshaping menus to meet changing times

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People’s habits have changed dramatically in the last two years. Outside influences are causing changes to what we eat, how we view the dining experience, and for the hospitality industry, how we interact and meet guest expectations. Optimizing products and enhancing menu creativity is how your hotel can keep up with the changing times while continuing to exceed guests’ expectations.

Cory Dellinger, Avendra’s VP of operational consulting and Avendra Clubs, recently hosted a webinar on food trends that can keep your property at the forefront of your guests’ minds. Joining Dellinger was Naomi Van Til, senior manager with Datassential.

“It’s no secret that the marketplace is becoming increasingly competitive,” Dellinger said. “Avendra is sharing these food trends and industry changes to spur ideas that will help attract consumers to your venue while managing today’s challenges.”

Menus have started to adapt to changing consumer tastes, incorporating more ingredients that meet health-related initiatives. Many places have added plant-based, vegan and gluten/dairy-free options. These healthier choices may not be as abundant, but it doesn’t mean that they can’t be tasty.

Plant-based alternatives and ingredients are debuting in many dishes. For instance, JUST Egg by Michael Foods is a plant-based, liquid alternative to conventional eggs that has a lot of versatility. Dairy milk alternatives beyond the typical soy, rice or almond milk are often featured in ice creams. Doozy Pots, for example, are gelatos made with organic hemp hearts and whole oats, creating an indulgent texture with less saturated fat than traditional ice cream.

Another healthy option that can easily be added to your existing menu is hearts of palm. “These are really great as a plant-based seafood replacement,” said Van Til. “As they are native to South and Central America, they are also being subbed into a lot of Latin-inspired dishes.”


Grab-and-go, pre-packaged food and beverages in healthy variations have also become increasingly popular with hotel guests. “Avendra has relationships with a variety of vendors that offer great options in terms of natural, organic, and other specialty foods,” Dellinger said.

Other items that have been trending are non-alcoholic beverages. Adding strawberry lemonade or slushies to your menu has shown to “boost purchase intent by 12% and 8% respectively,” said Van Til. Some non-alcoholic beverages have also been adding mood-boosting ingredients. For instance, Recess brand offers a sparkling water drink infused with hemp extract and adaptogens.

Incorporating trendy items and buzzwords into your menu can aid in the selling process. Dellinger also highlights the value of seasonality. Dishes that are “grilled” and “smoked” or beverages that are “slushy” “are perfect examples of ways to enhance your menus and take advantage of seasonal suggestive selling trends.”

With all these trends, it’s important to be aware of what your local market is doing when curating your menu. Consider what other food establishments in the area are offering to capitalize on both similarities and differences. “Your competitors can indirectly help you create and even eliminate different concepts or themes in your various food and beverage offerings,” according to Dellinger, as well as provide insight into menu market prices.

Avendra’s sourcing experts examine data from Datassential and other forecasters to ensure your menus are always at the forefront of food and beverage trends. We can provide new and unique insights into how these food trends can be incorporated effectively to meet changing tastes. Find out how Avendra can help enhance your existing menus and create an unforgettable experience for your guests.

Cory Dellinger

Vice President, Operational Consulting & Avendra Clubs

Cory has over 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry ranging from extensive operational expertise in hotels, restaurants, and catering to supply chain management. As Vice President of Operational Consulting & Avendra Clubs, he leverages his experience across a multitude of segments. Cory leads our golf and city club businesses and oversees operational consulting services that are designed to assist clients in developing profitability improvement plans. Cory began his career in the “back of the house,” where he leaned on his professional culinary training to advance in operational roles, later using that knowledge to progress into supply chain management with US Foods and eventually with Avendra.

About Avendra

Avendra is North America’s leading hospitality procurement services provider. Our supply chain management solutions are tailored to our clients’ business strategies and deliver benefits beyond great savings. We combine years of hospitality expertise, purchasing power, services and software to help customers impact the bottom line, improve operational performance, and better serve guests. More than 10,000 customers rely on Avendra as a trusted partner. Visit to learn more.