With COVID-19 putting the kabosh on most vacation and business travel, the hotel industry continues to struggle. But Jumeirah Hotels & Resorts is taking the initiative to lure vacationing families—once they start traveling again.
The draw is a new culinary concept called FoodieKIDS, an upgraded children’s menu based on parents’ responses to a global survey commissioned by the hotel brand. The menu, created by Jumeirah’s Chief Culinary Officer, Michael Ellis, offers healthier, more varied choices in colorful, eye-catching presentations.
According to the study, 77% of parents think that hotels around the world need to provide more healthy options for kids and 79% say that an attractive, varied and healthy food menu would enhance their vacation experience.
Parents also report that their children were most likely to eat food with lower nutritional value while on holiday, citing pizza (44%), chicken nuggets (35%) and chips (32%) as the top three favorites. American parents, in particular, are unhappy with current children’s menus, with 30% saying their kids tend to eat much more unhealthily while on vacation.
The respondents point out that healthier kids’ options often don’t look very appetizing and 18% feel they aren’t very imaginative.
To counteract that perception, the new FoodieKIDS menu was created with input from children themselves. “A group of young diners tasted our healthier options, had fun with our ‘theatre on a plate’ and told us what they wanted from their menu,” said Ellis. “We found that when prepared and presented in a way to appeal to kids, our dishes with more fruits and vegetables, whole-meal options and less salt were a huge hit.”
More than 5,500 parents of children under 12, from six different markets, were interviewed about their children’s eating habits for the survey. The research took place on three continents, with respondents from the U.S., UK, Russia, Germany, Saudi Arabia and UAE.
The FoodieKiDS menu will be piloted at the hotel group’s flagship family resort, Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai, before being rolled out across its wider portfolio. In the lead up to the upcoming launch and beyond, Jumeirah Beach Hotel is offering complimentary meals to kids under 16 when staying with their parents at the hotel through the end of October on its staycation package.