September 16, 2014
Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts is driving down the East Coast through Nov. 11 to treat consumers to food from its top chefs.
The food served on the truck will vary at each destination to reflect the different styles of each culinary team. This concept effectively promotes the brand's culinary roots and will likely earn many consumers along its journey who will now see the chain as an ideal place to stop for a bite to eat.
"We had a lot of success last year with the truck from a number of perspectives," said Sorya Gaulin, director of corporate public relations and social media at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, Toronto. "From a media perspective, there was novelty there with the juxtaposition of Four Seasons and everything that is conjured up by the notion of a food truck.
"It was cognitive dissonance for a number of people," she said. "But it made total sense, because with our food and beverage offers we are trying to connect with the community in a way that is fun and relevant.
"We realized that this is a gold mine for individual properties to promote who they are."
Food and fun
The FS Food Truck will travel down the Eastern seaboard from Boston to Miami, visiting a total of nine cities. In each destination, the local Four Seasons team will helm the truck and treat customers to their specific cuisine.
For instance, Boston will feature lobster rolls, pastrami sliders will be in New York and the Atlanta team will cook up Savannah crab cake sandwiches with old bay remoulade.
Food served on FS Food Truck
Some of the events that the truck will entertain include farm dinners to charity events with local universities.
The nine cities include Boston, Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, Washington, Atlanta, Orlando, Palm Beach, FL, and Miami.
Four Seasons will stop for up to six days at each location, dividing time between coordinated events and hotel visits. Ultimately, the truck offers an unprecedented opportunity for consumers to experience the brand's culinary offers, especially considering that all food options will be under $10.
Throughout the journey, the hotel brand will team up with a host of other brands at and outside of properties, including Bacardi Superior Rum, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Cointreau Orange Liqueur, elit by Stolichnaya, The Macallan Scotch Whisky, Patrón Tequila and Cambria Estate Winery Katherine’s Vineyard Chardonnay. Other tour sponsors include Evian/Badoit Waters, Red Bull energy drinks, Coca-Cola, Caffè Umbria Artisan Coffee Roaster, Rishi Organic Teas, FeverTree Beverages, PSAV, OpenTable and IHS.
Food served on FS Food Truck
Fans can follow the food truck on the brand's food Web site, Taste, or on social media with the hashtag #FSFoodTruck. The social media component provides the brand with a chance to gauge just how engaged guests are with the truck. If a lot of content appears on Twitter and Instagram, then the truck may get more space to grow.
Last year, the brand took its culinary skills to the road with a food truck that toured three states and covered 1,000 miles on the West Coast.
Last year's food truck
Similarly, The FS Taste Truck featured different Four Seasons chefs working together or against one another and the cuisine varied depending on location. The informal nature of food trucks allowed the brand to entice consumers who may not have considered traveling to a Four Seasons property beforehand (see story).
Ms. Gaulin said that last year's food truck experience allowed the brand to make several adjustments to this year's trip.
For instance, the interior of the truck was enhanced to better fit the chefs, the logistics of going from one city to the next was made more efficient and the brand recognized that it could expand the marketing potential with partnerships.
In the future, the brand may extend the duration of the truck, bring it to Europe and experiment with other forms of on-the-go food -- it all depends on how consumers react.
Hotel brands are enlisting social influencers for road trips to build communities and showcase possible itineraries.
For travelers contemplating summer plans, an unfolding road trip on social media can inspire excursions. Also, the captive audience of many social influencers can drive new guests to brand properties (see story).
Generally, these road trips do not have the overt branding that Four Seasons' food truck does. There are some exceptions.
For example, LVMH-owned Veuve Clicquot sent a branded truck around the United States and encouraged individuals to send hand-written letters to friends and family.
The signature yellow truck honored Madame Clicquot, the woman who helped create the brand, and her letter writing style behind the business. The truck traveled the U.S., bringing awareness to the brand and the unique packaging style the brand has adopted (see story).
Joe McCarthy, staff writer on Luxury Daily, New York