Cookie Dough, Queso and Delivery Robots: Here Are the Biggest Hospitality Trends of 2018

Cookie Dough, Queso and Delivery Robots: Here Are the Biggest Hospitality Trends of 2018

San Francisco Business Times

Cookie Dough, Queso and Delivery Robots: Here Are the Biggest Hospitality Trends of 2018
By Katie Burke


From robot-run hotels to mocktail menus, San Francisco’s hospitality industry is bracing for some major changes in the year ahead.

With technology and fast-changing customer demands expected to drive the biggest trends for 2018, hotels, restaurants and others in the business were told at San Francisco Travel Association’s market briefing that they could count on one thing: nothing. The Moscone Center renovation’s impending completion, the influx of new hotel development and a worsening worker shortage will underlie these trends as the industry moves through the year.

From opening a wine bar adjacent to a higher-end restaurant to offering cold brew coffee tastings in the lobby, take a look at the slideshow for some of the biggest trends expected to hit in 2018.

Andrew Freeman, a partner at restaurant and hotel consultant AF&Co., said being able to adapt to the industry’s shifting climate will be key. Whether its incorporating a delivery service into a restaurant, creating an app for hotel guests to remotely check in or cut down on menu items to focus on a more specific cuisine, customers will be looking for whatever makes them feel special, healthy and cool.

So what exactly will be cool this year?

According to a report compiled based on trends AF&Co. studied over the past 12 months, the consultant is expecting 2018 to see the rise of regional cuisine, nostalgia foods, farm-to-shaker cocktails and cashless payment systems, some of which have already begun to pop up throughout the city.

Mac’d in the Marina opened up last year to target millennial customers looking to build their own mac and cheese. Wise Sons Jewish Deli continues to expand throughout the Bay Area as Jewish cuisine and kosher food rises in popularity. Then there’s the impending opening for Yotel’s first San Francisco outpost, which will deliver 203 micro rooms and is expected to kick off a fresh wave of pod hotel developments.

Plenty of changes are expected to come about with the city’s burst of new hotel activity. California set a record last year for opening more than 10,790 hotel rooms last year — breaking a record set in 2008 — and in the Bay Area, the growth will continue, according to a recent Atlas Hospitality Group report. After the opening of 290 rooms last year with Hotel Via and Proper Hotel’s debut, four hotels are expected to be completed this year, contributing another 670 rooms to the city’s supply. The largest of those four will be the 230-room Hyatt Place in San Francisco.

Atlas also reported that San Francisco County has 38 hotels with 5,930 rooms in planning, a 46 percent increase over 2016.

Considering the rise of new hotel and restaurant concepts, Freeman said the need to create experiences will continue to drive existing businesses to adopt new amenities and features, shaping the industry to cater to demands for convenience, customization and exclusivity.

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