Hotels Replace Room Service with Takeout Options

Hilton Herb N Kitchen
Herb N’ Kitchen at New York Hilton Midtown

Hotel guests have begun ordering takeout food as opposed to ordering off the traditional, overpriced room-service menu. In July, GrubHub, an online food-ordering service, released a survey in conjunction with PFK Hospitality Research that said room service revenues fell 9.5 percent from 2007 to 2012, while hotel takeout orders increased by 125 percent in the last three years. Not surprisingly, hotels are taking note and finding creative alternatives to the standard hotel room service—ideal for on-the-go meeting attendees.

The Marriott Marquis Washington, DC, which opened on May 1, is the latest. The hotel offers four F&B outlets, with a specialty restaurant still under development; however, its Dining Your Way concept gives guests an in-room dining experience similar to ordering takeout. Meeting attendees can order off the 24-hour, in-room dining menu and either pickup the meal, or they can opt to have it delivered to their room in a paper bag.

Last year, the New York Hilton Midtown completely did away with room service and launched Hilton’s new dining concept called Herb N’ Kitchen. It is essentially a culinary market that offers New York fare such as Brooklyn pita chips, house-made Italian sausage and a cheese plate from Greenwich Village-based Murray’s Cheese.

At the market, meeting attendees can pick up food from different “zones.” The Arrival zone offers pre-made wraps and salad, while the Barista zone has Illy coffee beverages and house-made pastries. The Oven zone offers more conventional menu items such as flatbreads and burgers—specifically Pat LaFrieda burgers with New York Cheddar—and the Buffet zone provides healthy breakfast options. Herb N’ Kitchen also offers room services (during specific hours) in which hotel staff will deliver food to a guest’s room, again, in a paper bag. The concept is in the process of being rolled out at other Hilton Hotels & Resorts properties.

“We surveyed 22,000 guests, owners and operators and we learned that the way people eat at home is translating into the way they eat on the road,” says Beth Scott, vice president of food and beverage concepts, Hilton Worldwide. “As a result, we decided to reinvent the hotel dining model to better serve the needs, wants and lifestyle of our customers.”

The DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Tulsa Downtown launched a similar Hilton concept called Made Market, specific to the DoubleTree, also last year. It offers gourmet, grab-in-go options to guests, while also having a dining area that acts and feels like a casual gastropub. Guests can place an order at the counter and a hotel staff member will deliver the food to their rooms. A less-extensive version of the concept called Made Market Pantry, which offers ready-made meals, recently opened at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Boston – Cambridge.