NEW YORK—Eating healthy away from home isn’t easy for anyone. For brands, the difficulty lies in preparing a menu with enough selections to satisfy a diverse group of wellness guests. Not every guest wants a kale salad or a chopped Cobb salad for dinner. Some guests want the option to pair a local craft beer with a juicy beef burger to end a low-calorie week. Wellness is in the eye of the beholder, and that’s what Even Hotels is betting on with its newly released wellness menu offering.
“One of the things we learned is guests like variety,” said Jason Moskal, VP of lifestyle brands at IHG. “As we introduced our new menu, it was really around giving a variety of different options.”
Known primarily for its wellness concept, the brand, which launched its first property in 2014 and has several locations in the city, revealed the latest menu offering for its signature restaurant, Cork & Kale, during a luncheon at Even Hotels New York Time Square South, just a few blocks from Madison Square Garden.
Even Hotels had been working on revamping Cork & Kale’s menu for about a year, gathering insights from open properties. “We learned that [guests]like heartier options as well, in addition to all the healthy options,” he said. They also enjoy shareable options.
Even Hotels introduced new salads, including the chopped Cobb and Kale Krunch; and new main courses, including a roasted turkey club, chicken wrap and margherita pizza. The wellness brand also added a couple of new desserts to Cork & Kale’s menu, including pineapple coconut cake and chocolate bundt cake.
“We’ve learned as people go throughout the day they like to end the day with a little sweet treat,” Moskal said.
As far as how often the menu changes, Even Hotels is constantly listening to guest feedback. “This, in my mind, is the next stage in terms of of rolling out new dishes in all of our hotels, really gaining guest feedback over the course of the next several months and seeing what we want to continue with,” he said. “Are there new ideas or new dish options that may not be on the menu today that next year we may want to be looking at? I would say that it’s iterative and, probably every six to nine months, we’re re-evaluating to make sure we’re meeting exactly what guests need.”
“That’s the most important, and I think that as we evolve Cork & Kale, like I mentioned earlier, we’re really understanding that [guests]want nutrition, but they also sometimes want hearty. If they’re staying at a hotel three or four nights, by the third or fourth night, they’re actually looking for something maybe a little heartier, or it’s the end of the week and they basically want to celebrate the fact that they’ve been good all week, so give them a little something more,” he said.