By Tabitha Barda www.hoteliermiddleeast.com
Although room service is another valuable marketing platform for a hotel’s F&B offering, it is often neglected, leading to guests ordering in takeaway from fast food chains instead, according to five-star hotel executive chefs.
“For a lot of hotels the room service is an afterthought,” said Joe Vock, executive chef of the Taj Hotel in Dubai. “It’s often prepared in a small environment and the menu is very limited, but there should be the same choice as there is in other hotel F&B outlets.”
“Room service should be run like another outlet,” agreed Anston Fivaz, executive chef of Dubai Ibn Battuta Gate hotel. “People judge you by it. The food has to be of restaurant standard in terms of service, presentation and quality.”
Charging a premium price for room service is a thing of the past, said Fivaz.
“In the old days there was always a service charge included in the room service but with today’s economy as it is, it’s just another revenue generator and needs to be treated like any other restaurant. It needs to still be competitive and on a par with the other outlets.”
Furthermore, Jean-Luc Morcellet, executive chef of The Palace – The Old Town hotel in Dubai warned “If you are too expensive the guests will go shopping. Or they will even order in takeaway.”
It’s not uncommon to see hotel guests bringing in fast food produce from chains such as KFC and MacDonalds in preference to the hotel room service, said Morcellet. “The problem is that people react to brand. They don’t want your gourmet burger, they want MacDonalds.”
Morcellet said he is working on a new room service menu that will be easy finger food, packaged and delivered in the style of a takeaway in an attempt to meet this demand: “You have to give the guests what they want because it’s too easy to go somewhere else here, he said.
When done well, room service has the potential to work as an effective marketing tool, said Christophe Prud’homme, executive chef of Al Bustan Rotana in Dubai: “Room service is a tool to tease your guest to come down and try your restaurant.”
“It’s this whole concept of making sure that your guests in-house stay in-house and you maximize your revenue,” added Fivaz.