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Ovation: Hotels Packing Lunches For Business Travelers.


BrownBagLunchDuring my early school years, when a little carton of milk cost two cents, one of the many many wonderful things that my mother used to do for me was pack my lunch.  How she managed to find the time to assemble lunches for my siblings and I to carry with us each day I’ll never know.  Now, “packing a lunch”, for me, means grabbing a little box from the freezer as I leave the house.

My mother was very consistent in her lunchtime preparations.  Each day we got a sandwich (bologna, ham, tuna or, PB&J were staples in her lineup), a few chips or another salty/crunchy snack, and (be it a HoHo a DingDong anything from Little Debbie or an apple, something sweet).  She would lovingly write our names on the outside of the brown paper bags and would always include a smiley face.  That brown bag of love made many of bad days a little bit better.

Now business travelers staying in hotels can pack a lunch to take with them to the airport.

Many hotels across the country are offering gourmet meals for their guests who aren’t particularly fond of airport or airline food.  The takeout orders are packaged to fit in a carry-on and follow all of the Transportation Security Administration’s requirements for liquids.  Hotels are finding that the meals are popular with travelers who don’t want to get stuck eating fatty fast foods in airport terminals or the tiny portions sometimes provided by airlines.

“Offering meals-to-go can provide hotels with several opportunities, such as differentiating their brand from other hotel brands.  Furthermore, providing branded meals extends a positive guest hotel experience beyond checkout as long as guest expectations are managed carefully for meals to go versus in-hotel dining.” – Maryam Wehe, SVP of hotel consultant Applied Predictive Technologies

Some examples include …

  • The Hotel Bel-Air in Los Angeles offers a “Meals on the Move” menu prepared by Wolfgang Puck and his team.
  • The Four Seasons Boston has a “For Your Trip Menu” located on the reverse side of the pre-order breakfast menu that guests hang on their doors before bed.
  • Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco in Denver prepares a reasonably priced “Breakfast with Wings” with options including fresh fruit, Greek yogurt and granola parfait.
  • The Four Seasons Seattle’s “Want It To Go, Let Us Know” menu features a la carte items that are boxed, wrapped and bagged for travel.

“We really just wanted to offer something more convenient, affordable, healthy and better quality than what they can get at the airport.  We have many guests leaving the hotel early to catch a flight and they don’t have time to stop for the most important meal of the day, so we thought we could help them out with that.” – John Mayo, general manager of Panzano, the restaurant at the Hotel Monaco in Denver.

(Photo: Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles)

(Photo: Hotel Bel-Air, Los Angeles)

The hotels are careful to package items so that they can easily pass through airport security.  For example, liquids offered at the Four Seasons Seattle are each only three-ounce servings.  When one encounters delays , the airport restaurants are closing for the night or actually run out of food, it would certainly be nice to have a nice meal in your carry on.

I’ve noticed on my last few trips that the airlines appear to be cutting back on peanuts and pretzels and I understand that some actually charge passengers for boxes of snacks in flight.  Why not buy a nice boxed lunch from a fancy hotel to enjoy on the go rather than waiting in lines (while holding carry-on luggage) to buy expensive airport food?

I think this is a great idea.  Of course, it would be even better if someone drew a smiley face on the package.

Did your mother pack your lunch for you, too?  Would you buy a packaged meal from a hotel restaurant to take with you to the airport?


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Copyright © 2013

From → Ovations

  1. My mother didn’t pack lunches for us because we walked the half mile home to & from school for a hot lunch every day. The only exceptions were blizzards (when walking home would be a hardship for us & only if my mother couldn’t pick us up on those days) & field trips. Then we got a bag lunch, with the two pennies to buy a milk. I always envied the kids who stayed for lunch because they got to play longer, but I think they envied me because I had a hot lunch every day.


    • For several years I, too, went home for lunch every day. I always lived within walking distance from the school and going home in the middle of the day made for a nice break. But, oh, it was hard to go back some days!

      Thanks for reading!


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