Hotel Ovolo executives say all-vegetarian menus are both planet-friendly and cost-effective
Hong Kong-based Ovolo Hotel Group says it is the first hotel group in the world to offer vegetarian cuisine, and its executives said the move makes sense both from an economic and sustainable perspective.
Executive Chairman Girish Jhunjhnuwala, who founded the company’s first serviced apartment offerings in 2002 and hotel group Ovolo in 2010, says his commitment to “ethical eating and conscious cooking” has been reinforced through its “Plant’d” and “Year of the Veg” campaigns in which the group’s hotels promoted vegetarian and plant-based cuisine.
The family business operates four hotels and three restaurants in Hong Kong, and eight hotels and seven restaurants across Australia, in Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne and Sydney.
All of these assets began their journey to full vegetarianism in 2020, a process that continues.
Additionally, the group manages the By Ovolo Collective, a collection of four hotels that includes Nishi Apartments in Canberra, The Sheung Wan by Ovolo and The Aberdeen Harbor in Hong Kong, and Mamaka Kuta Beach in Bali, Indonesia.
These four hotels serve meat dishes.
Earlier this year, Dave Baswal was named CEO of Ovolo Hotel Group. Like Jhunjhnuwala, he was raised in a vegetarian household where he was exposed to “alternative and more sustainable choices from an early age”.
“From our family, we learned the art of experimentation and were shown that there are many vegetarian options to improve not only your own health, but also the environment,” Baswal said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced leaders’ beliefs about food and drink.
They said the pandemic inspired them to lead the successful operations of the group’s vegetarian restaurants, Veda and Alibi.
According to Baswal, OvoloThe food and beverage recommendations are threefold:
- “Environment – The need to treat the environment with love and respect, to be self-sufficient, self-sufficient and locally sustainable;
- “Vegetables – The band’s determination to be part of the change they want to see by elevating vegetarian cuisine and celebrating the best in indulgent vegetarian cuisine;
- “Wellness – To capture businesses of a huge change in attitude towards vegetarianism over the past two years, as people globally become more educated and aware of the health implications of vegetarianism and unsustainability environmental impact of meat consumption.
“The Ovolo Group has the unique opportunity to be a leader in providing customers with healthier choices often before they seek them out. Our carefully curated menus put the well-being of our customers first, and while this is a long-term choice, it offers a tasty short-term payoff,” Baswal said.
Although the group received positive feedback on their bold decision, Baswal said he felt that “it is important for us to educate the public about the benefits of becoming vegetarian, and to emphasize that vegetarian food can always be indulgent, flavorful and hearty, without the need for Meat.”
“The Year of the Veg/Plant’d has proven to be financially viable,” Baswal said.
He acknowledged “significant savings in food costs”, but that the longer preparation time with chefs becoming “more determined in their presentation” offset some of the total savings.
With seasonal vegetables being readily available and much more cost effective than buying meat and seafood, the economical solution is to find ways to use the whole vegetable in the kitchen and reduce food waste.
“And organically, we’re improving the health of our environment and ourselves at the same time,” he said.
Baswal said the company’s changing and developing menu allows for creativity and happy guests.
“[We] thrive by doing things a little differently, and it’s amazing what can be achieved where there is no creative barrier. … We have always trusted our flavors and our menu.
“Becoming completely vegetarian was a bold strategic move to show that these same flavors can be applied to meatless dishes as well. We have a team of world-class chefs who have perfected this initiative to satisfy a range of palates,” he said. -he declares.
Dishes such as the Southern fried chick’n burger and Chicken Peri use alternate ingredients to replicate the taste of meat.
“The concern with limiting food groups has reversed entirely, and we now see our places thriving with inventive dishes used with sustainable resources,” Baswal said.
“Culinary culture is magnified through the sharing of new experiences and conversation, and Ovolo has built a solid reputation as a leader. We surprise and delight … and know people are willing to try new things,” he said.
He said he has witnessed increased curiosity about plant-based alternatives which he says will only grow with time.
He said the company’s vegetarian philosophy is available in its “Veg Pledge Playbook” document on its website.
Waves of COVID-19 restrictions in the Asia-Pacific region have also resulted in occupancy peaks and troughs at Ovolo hotels.
“In Australia, Bali and at the start of 2020-21, we had to focus on a lot of stays as no international travel was allowed during this period. We stayed creative in all of our hotel offerings while emphasizing promotion and promotion of our restaurants because food was something a lot of people were turning to,” Jhunjhnuwala said.
“Hong Kong was a more interesting market as it remained completely closed to international travel throughout the pandemic. Of them [of our] properties in Hong Kong have partnered with Dash Living to become long-stay properties,” he said.
Jhunjhnuwala said that with Australia reopening, domestic and international travel has increased, and the new Mamaka in Bali hit 100% occupancy within weeks of opening in October 2021.
Buoyed by the success of its Australian properties, further growth in Australia is high on Baswal and Jhunjhnuwala’s list.
“We are open to all opportunities and hope to complement our presence in Australia by expanding into Western Australia and South Australia (States) as we do not yet operate in these areas, eventually expanding into New Zealand as well. “, said Baswal.
Future targets also include Southeast Asian cities such as Bangkok and Singapore, and European assets are also a possibility.
Along with the expansion, Jhunjhnuwala said environment, social and governance will be “an integral part of the future”.
“Companies can’t ignore it for too long, as customers, employees and investors will all demand this move forward. … At the same time, well-being is another major focus resulting from the pandemic. We believe that “This is not just a trend, but a movement that is here to stay. It is increasingly embedded in our ethos and will continue to play a role in our offerings,” he said. declared.
Back to Hotel News Now homepage.