An article about the New York Hilton Hotel eliminating room service has been everywhere these last few days. Originally appearing on Crain’s New York Business site, we’ve seen similar articles everywhere from the Yahoo front page to the New York Times. From the Crain’s New York Business Article:
The New York Hilton Midtown is the largest hotel in the city, with nearly 2,000 rooms. In August, it will earn another distinction: It will discontinue room service. The move will eliminate 55 jobs. It could also ignite an industrywide trend. Other hotels, such as the Hudson in New York and the Public in Chicago, are already nibbling at the concept, offering meals delivered in brown paper bags.
The hotel will be adding cafeteria-style dining instead. From the article:
The Hilton property on Sixth Avenue, between West 53rd and West 54th streets, will open a downmarket grab-and-go restaurant this summer called Herb n’ Kitchen, a cafeteria-style eatery that will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner. The plan was announced in October as part of a larger initiative at the hotel chain, which is simplifying its food offerings at Double Tree by Hilton and Embassy Suites as well. What it didn’t mention then, however, is that Herb n’ Kitchen will replace the room-service operation at the midtown hotel. “Like most full-service hotels, New York Hilton Midtown has continued to see a decline in traditional room-service requests over the last several years,” said a spokesman in a statement. The Hilton Hawaiian Village was the first Hilton to eliminate room service. In October, it put away the china and linen in favor of takeout.
Starting at the end of 2011, Four Seasons will offer 15-minute Room Service in all of their hotels (20 minutes in some locations with kitchens not easily accessible). From the Four Seasons press release:
“Whether needing to quickly replenish after a workout or wanting to toast the perfect sunset, 15-Minute Room Service provides quick and delicious meals for those who want it right away,” says Christopher Hunsberger, executive vice president, global product and innovation at Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. “It’s also ideal for those who are on the go. Ideally, every meal would be enjoyed at leisure, but at times we really just need to grab a bite quickly – and there’s no reason that it can’t be freshly-made with quality ingredients, and entirely delicious.”
I am the In-Room Dining Manager of a large hotel. Our In-Room Dining sales have really dropped over the last year. Our service scores are also suffering. Where do a start?
Great question! Many hotels are reporting a drastic decrease in F&B sales per occupied room. The In-Room Dining sales have taken the biggest hit during these tough times. Guests are really cutting back on the more expensive amenities of the hotels and room service is usually at the top. Here are our recommendations:
1. Revisit your menu and specifically your menu prices. Many hotels dramatically increased their room service menu prices over the restaurant prices. We recommend that the prices are similar, especially if your hotel is near many other restaurants… especially if they are within walking distance. Guests typically look at the room service prices and assume they are the same as in the restaurant. If a guest feels they are too high, you have lost them as a customer in both room service and the restaurant. Guests will grab breakfast from a quick mart and eat dinner at the restaurant next door.
In our last article, we told you how to perfect your hotel’s in-room dining service. If you have mastered your service, you should be ready to increase your room service revenues (and tips) up to 50 percent! In-room service, your team has an incredible opportunity to sell. Room service guests are typically not price sensitive and often want to splurge. Here are the secrets of selling and increasing your revenue:
Before we talk about suggestive selling, the first thing we have to talk about is how to ask the right questions. The most important thing to keep in mind is to never ask open-ended questions. When I call room service, the room service operator typically asks, ‘what can I get for you?’ or, ‘what would you like this evening?’ If you ask either of those questions, you have lost all opportunity to sell. At that point, you are only an order taker. Your questions have to be specific and lead the guest to buy.
The first question you should ask the guest is, ‘how many guests should I set the tray for?’ Almost nobody ever asks this question. They usually just guess based on the number of entrees ordered or just assume that the order is for one person. Without knowing how many guests the meal is for, you cannot set up the tray properly… but more importantly, you cannot sell correctly!
Once you know how many guests to prepare for, you can start selling. Selling is simple. It is about anticipating the guest’s needs and making recommendations to match.
The next question you ask is to take the guest’s appetizer order. With all of the questions that you will ask the guest, keep the following in mind: Continue reading →
Does your hotel’s room service delivery program operate like this? The room service delivery person throws some lukewarm food on a tray and covers it with saran wrap, tosses it on a cart, and dashes up to the guest room. He knocks on the door, darts in, and tosses the tray on the desk. He asks the guest to sign the guest check which includes the food at a 10 percent premium over the restaurant price, a $4 delivery charge, and an automatic 20 percent gratuity. He then tells the guest to just leave the tray out in the hall for a day or two and someone will pick it up. Enjoy your meal!
It is no wonder why Room Service is often one of the lowest scores on hotel comment cards and one of the lowest areas we see during our hotel inspections.