From Farm to Fork: Success in Sourcing Locally
By Shawn McGowan Senior Director Food & Beverage Brand Initiatives & Programs, Hilton Worldwide | August 16, 2015
Iconic restaurateur and chef, Alice Waters, couldn't have foreseen that she would be a driving force in the way we source our food when she first opened Chez Panisse in 1971. Her decision to source foods locally and work directly with the farmers and purveyors caused a major shift in the way we approach the plate – both from a nutritional perspective and a sustainable one. What was once a regional trend, held in high esteem by food critics and gastronomes alike, has since permeated every aspect of our lives – from the abundance of farmers markets to the restaurateurs and chefs who continue to design their menus with notes and annotations of local farms and artisan purveyors.
However, the way that this evolving food sensibility translates for hotels is an entirely different proposition. There are a number of variables that need to be considered when beginning to rethink your food and beverage infrastructure including cost, supply chain, and quality assurance. Sourcing locally is well worth the time and investment, as hotels who embrace local sourcing attract more diners, gain more visibility for their food and beverage program and increase revenues for their outlets.
At Hilton, we're committed to incorporating local and hand-crafted ingredients into our food and beverage operations and have seen great success at properties that have been running locally sourced programs for years. We even have properties that produce their own artisanal products in-house – from charcuterie to pickling and even harvesting bees for honey. I've learned that there's a lot that goes into sourcing locally and successfully transitioning food and beverage operations internally, as the degree of implementation of local sourcing will vary and the adaptation of local sourcing will be equal to the resources within any given hotel.
Recipe for Success: A Pinch of Imagination and Dash of Ingenuity
The following are suggestions for modifying your food and beverage strategy. There are some straightforward, easy-to-execute ideas, such as rethinking your purveyors, to some larger ideas, such as developing an onsite garden to supplement your needs. All of these suggestions are scalable and will grow as your program develops.
Sourcing Local Purveyors