Hotel room service
Hotels are bagging traditional room service.
Don’t expect your room service meal to arrive underneath stainless steel plate covers on rolling tables at many hotels across the country. Your grub may show up on paper trays or brown paper bags, albeit sturdy ones embellished with hotel logos or designs. The fare is upscale even if the delivery method is not.
No frills room service is increasingly showing up at high end hotels known for their frilly approach to everything else. PUBLIC Chicago has the “PUBLIC Express” with a menu designed by famed French chef Jean Georges Vongerichten. Guests get gourmet meals in less than 10 minutes and at no additio michael kors nal delivery charge. Human contact is not required: The waiter leaves the bag on the doorknob.
Hilton Worldwide is testing out the brown bag approach at properties across all its brands. Among them: Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu and DoubleTree by Hilton in Tulsa, Okla., which is piloting brown bag delivery in conjunction with its new MADE Market casual eatery.
The Hudson Hotel in New York, a Morgans Hotel Group, has the “Hudson Common Express.” Available items include steel cut oatmeal with black quinoa for breakfast and kale Caesar salad with asiago cheese for dinner. Breakfast is delivered in brown paper trays. Lunch and dinner items show up in plastic stackable containers placed in clear p michael kors lastic bags.
Hotels are trying out the new spin on room service partly becau michael kors se the way it’s been done has not made them much money. Last year, room service represented 1.2% of total hotel revenue, down from 1.3% in 2011, according to PKF Hospitality Research. Guests might not order much room service, but they still want to have the option to do so, especially at a high end hotel, hoteliers say.
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One of the biggest complaints travelers have about room service is that it is expensive. Ian Schrager, founder and chairman of Ian Schrager Company, which owns the Public Chicago, says the brown paper bag method eliminates the labor costs of cleaning tables, dishes and silverware. And that means hotels don’t have to charge exorbitant prices for food. “You’re able to pass those savings to the customer,” he says.
Costs aside, guests no longer want a formal dining experience in the room, he says. Food must arrive fast and with little human interaction.
“Something had become antiquated with room service as it was constituted, especially for breakfast,” Schrager says. “I think it was an intrusion when waiters came and you were in your pajamas and hadn’t washed your face and they were wheeling in a table.”
Schrager, widely credited for pioneering the boutique hotel concept, was inspired by New York delis and bodegas to come up with the brown bag idea when Public Chicago opened in 2011. “I can take that idea and bring it into a hotel, but dress it up and take it up a notch,” he says.
Beth Scott, Hilton Worldwide’s Vice President of Restaurant Concepts, says the approach is part of an industry wide move toward more casual dining.
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“This whole idea of a three meal dining room where somebody wants to be waited on has not really been working for us in certain markets,” she says.
Yet, guests still expect the kind of food you would get in a dining room, says Alan Philips, vice president of food and beverage for Morgans Hotel Group.
“We want to be able to give them the high quality food experience they are looking for without the stuff surrounding it the excess service, the trays, the things we don’t think are important to a modern customer,” he says.