As of late, a number of clever twists on room service have been popping up in the hotel industry. The Amway Grand Plaza Hotel in Grand Rapids, Mich., opened a free-standing pizzeria, Piezelli’s, a couple of years ago after realizing how many guests ordered outside delivery from national pizza chains. “Our approach allows guests the convenience of signing the costs to their room while eliminating the need for them to wait in the hotel lobby for their food to be delivered,” says Andrew Bowen, associate director of food and beverage for Amway Hotel Corporation.
The Amway Grand has experienced a steady decline in overall room service revenue in the last decade, Bowen says, which is why the staff has been looking for ways to manage costs more effectively and better appeal to guests’ needs. The hotel still offers a traditional room service menu, but Bowen says there has been a cultural shift away from in-room dining across the board. “The business of packaged, grab-and-go foods has blown up over the last decade and travelers are well acquainted with where they can get the most bang for their buck,” Bowen says. “It’s our job as hoteliers to listen and implement new and innovative concepts to keep them happy and satisfied when they are guests in our hotel.” Piezelli’s now represents for roughly 15 percent of room service revenue, and that number continues to grow.
Mandelbaum says more hotels are forming partnerships with local restaurants and grocers where they can arrange for delivery and get a commission for every order. “It’s just reinventing the way you continue to offer that service but making it profitable for the hotel,” Mandelbaum says. Other innovative concepts include Affinia Hotels’ partnership with Fresh Direct to provide grocery delivery service to all New York City guests, and the Trump Hotel Collection’s express in-room menu of healthy meals that are delivered in 15 minutes or less. Guests who order room service at the Public Chicago will receive a brown-bagged gourmet meal at their door within minutes. The recently opened b2 Miami Downtown is also brown-bagging its tavern fare for guests.
The recipe for room service may be changing, but hotels that pin down the right ingredients can satiate guests.