Simplifying Room Service

Room service can be tricky to get just right, and there are many little complications which stop the process from running smoothly.

Andrew Brown has more experience than most working in the accommodation food and beverage sector, having worked for 13 years as the executive chef at luxury five-star hotels like The George Hotel and Millennium Hotel in Christchurch. He’s also had the chance to view the operations and work in big name hotel brands like Hilton, Sheraton, Shangri-La and Grand Hyatt, and so he how and why hotels can struggle with room service.

“The transition between kitchens and rooms certainly has some issues, maintaining the heat of the dish would be the most important. However, delivering a meal that potentially would be served in the restaurant brings in the difficulties of dish structure remaining intact as it travels to the room on a trolley or serving tray,” said Andrew Brown, marketing and production development manager, United Fisheries Ltd.

The all-day availability of room service is another element which creates problems for hotels. The menu must change between different meals throughout the day, which creates issues with making dishes that can be served at both lunch and dinner while also offering a good menu structure with enough variation.

“Late night or overnight room service menus often transition into easily prepared or ready-prepared dishes on a heavily reduced menu selection. These dishes will often be prepared by late night porters or less skilled food handlers so a cook by numbers approach will often be used to achieve the end result.”

Each hotel has its own approach to room service. This means there is no simple answer to making the process easier, although a good first step would be taking a simplistic approach. It also helps to consider the guests’ needs and their reasons for ordering room service instead of dining at the hotel restaurant or further out.

“I believe guests often want very simple low fuss options that can be delivered hot and quick. Comfortable and relatable food options often match their reasons to stay in a room for a meal. Often the meal is only for one person, so they are unlikely to step outside of their comfort zone opting for a burger or simple pasta dish,” said Brown.

“Many of the new modern style hotels offer in-room food options choosing an almost ‘grab and go’ menu approach which has been received well. This stripped-down format removes many of the costly formal elements appealing to their target market demographic who are used to it and happily order these products in a similar way that they would order Uber Eats to their room and ultimately maintaining a revenue stream for the hotel.”

United Food Co recently brought to market a new range of authentic, tasty finger foods, which are excellent function menu options as well as a great solution for room service. The United Food Co range includes classic Spanish style croquettes in tuna or prawn varieties, crab and corn or squid and prawn empanadas, crab cakes, tempura sole fillet and the trending dumpling range.

United Fisheries’ range is designed to capture cultural flavours from around the globe inspired by the authentic street food experience which international travellers will be familiar with.

For the convenience of staff, these tasty handmade products go from the freezer to plate in under ten minutes. This reduces waste and labour costs, simplifies the required skills to cook, present and deliver an authentic flavour experience.

The products all maintain a good heat core temperature for an extended period after they have been cooked.

For more information contact your local distributor or United Accounts Manager at orders@unitedfisheries.co.nz