Gourmet food trucks – are they the next big thing?

What are Gourmet Food Trucks?

Gourmet food trucks have taken America by storm and they are now becoming a regular contributor on the food scene in South Africa (particularly in Joburg and Cape Town). Essentially they are a mobile eatery that can serve delicious coffees and confectionaries to the trendy in various locations and at various times of the day.


Gourmet Food Trucks are taking South Africa by storm

Why are they so cool?

It’s a revolutionary way to tackle location issues – if your guests can’t come to your restaurant, you can travel to your guests. Eat Out reports that these mobile trucks are “giving diners the opportunity to indulge in Nutella bombs overlooking the ocean, gourmet coffee in the heart of inner-city Jozi and oolong tea at rock festivals.” It’s Al Fresco dining at its best!


The Balken Burger Bar, Jozi

What are the ups and downs?

Well, licensing can sometimes be difficult to arrange when you’re operating a mobile unit, but once you get the hang of it – there’s so many wonderful places you can serve your tasty creations. Getting people to know where you are next is half the fun – social channels like Twitter are an easy and cheap way to let your customers know where you’re going to next, what time they can expect you and what’s on the menu. So easy and simple to arrange.

If you’re looking for an entrepreneurial angle to pursue after your studies at The International Hotel School, this may be a really great project to start with – and you can rope in your industry mates to help out! Get outside, travel, cook, work, play….what more could you want?


Place your order on the fly

Where can you find out more?

Here’s the Eat Out guide to the ultimate alfresco dining: a list of food trucks currently operating in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban. Take a look and enjoy some gourmet treats from a trendy mobile food truck near you! http://www.eatout.co.za/article/21-food-trucks-to-follow/


Reinventing Room Service – what’s your take?

Room service has been an ongoing Food & Beverage operation in many hotels over the years. It has been incorporated as a brand standard in many properties and to some extent, a differentiator for various hotel brands i.e. you would find room service in certain star or graded properties. The thing with room service is that historically, it costs a bomb to run and makes very little money. Hospitality trends for 2014 indicate that room service is due for a shake up! So how would you change room service if it was all up to you?

A traditional room service approach. Image by ©www.acbnews.go.com

A traditional room service approach. Image by ©www.acbnews.go.com

The concerns

It was reported by Lodging Magazine  that the New York Hilton Midtown (New York’s largest hotel) recently closed its entire room service operation because it wasn’t financially viable any longer. So is the writing on the wall for other hotels who offer room service? Do guests even want a room service option given that its reputation is battered because of cold, uninteresting food that is served at ridiculous prices? 

The bottom line is that guests still want room service because it’s convenient. Here are some ideas that we think may help:

Quick and simple breakfasts

What about breakfast bags to go? Pick up your breakfast bag on your way out the door and enjoy a fresh fruit juice or coffee, croissant, yoghurt or a ‘breakfast roll’ which could be in a veggie option or standard bacon and egg roll. These items are easy to prepare, bags are easy to make up and if it’s displayed in reception, chances are, you’ll grab a few extra customers for breakfast than you normally would.

A new approach to Breakfast ©www.lodgingmagazine.com

A new approach to Breakfast ©www.lodgingmagazine.com

Lunch to go

Again, sandwiches, wraps, pre-made salads, sushi and fresh smoothies are a great ‘to go’ option. Eat in or out with the pre-prepared options that take minutes to assemble. Fresh, fast and reasonably priced.

Dinner time grill option

Many South African resorts have a braai/grill on the patio of each room. Hotel Interactive reports that Boulders Arizona offer a ‘Grill Your Own’ menu where they provide a picnic basket of ingredients for starters and mains and you are able to grill your own meal, at your own pace, with all your dips, accompaniments and sauces at your fingertips.

Whichever way you go, know that room service needs to change in order to move with the times – like technology changes, so our service offerings will need to be tweaked continuously to ensure we are satisfying what guests want, and that we’re making money whilst we’re doing it – we are in business after all to satisfy both.

If you have some cool and clever room service ideas, give us your thoughts in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you!