Are you one of the increasingly smaller number of hotel guests who love getting your breakfast or dinner delivered to your room on a cart with a real fork, knife and glassware? Or would you rather have a streamlined, faster version of room service that involves less fuss and saves you money?
Vote in Travel Update’s poll below to weigh in on the issue now – because change is already underway.
Room service in a few upscale hotels such as Hiltons and Marriotts is in the very early stages of getting a makeover. The change comes as travelers are used to grabbing quick meals to stay or to go in fast-casual restaurants such as Chipotle, Starbucks and Panera Bread.
Last week, Travel Update readers became the first to learn that the No. 1 biggest hotel in New York City – the New York Hilton Midtown – is declaring its streamlined room service system a financial success, which means it is more likely to be copied by the industry. Brand executives expect the concept to pop up in other hotels. Marriott’s also testing a faster, cheaper version of room service in two hotels in Washington D.C. and San Diego – but Marriott executives see the concept as a viable option for resorts, too.
Traditional room service probably won’t go away everywhere, of course. Expect it to remain a staple in luxury hotels, New York-based food and restaurant consultant Michael Whiteman told me.
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“High-powered execs need to work while eating and you can’t rehearse a sales pitch or make confidential calls in the dining room,” said Whiteman, president of Baum + Whiteman. “But everywhere else it is up for grabs.”
Whiteman’s currently consulting for the developer of a new, full-service hotel in Manhattan that’s setting up a system similar to the New York Hilton’s system, which involves delivery people running up orders to guest rooms in to-go bags with disposable wares. No more ugly trays with half-eaten meals left in the hallways, he noted, plus hotels can save money on pilferage, breakage, dishwashing and second employee visits to retrieve dirty dishes.
“No more carts to set up, no more sterno-filled hot boxes, no intrusive waiters while you’re still in your underwear,” Whiteman said.