What Can Butler Tell us About the Future of Hotel Food Service

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The hospitality industry is constantly looking for alternatives to outdated pain points, and Butler Hospitality is leading the way.

With rapid changes in technology and guest preferences in recent years, there has never been a better time for hotels to experiment with new forms of food service. The hospitality industry is constantly looking for alternatives to outdated pain points, and Butler Hospitality is leading the way. 


The sharing economy is the new frontier these days. Delivery apps like Uber Eats and DoorDash allow ghost kitchens to feed people without the customer having to leave their home. Another upside of the success of the sharing economy, is the return of room service. Launched in 2016, hospitality technology company Butler is allowing hotels to forgo the expensive costs of in-house restaurants and kitchens. Butler Hospitality works out of large hub kitchens, giving the company the capacity to service tens of thousands of hotel rooms.


Restaurant Operations: An Antiquated Luxury for Hotels


In the late 1990s, hotels began to really invest in their on-site restaurants. Celebrity chefs like Wolfgang Puck were even recruited to bring status to hospitality eateries all over the world. However, what almost all hoteliers discovered was that no matter how much money and talent they put into these on-site restaurants, they never made the profit they were expected to. Running a restaurant costs money, and running a restaurant with room service costs even more money. 


In the hotel world, food and beverage is an amenity, not a reliable business model. There are countless reasons why a hotel restaurant comes with so many more pitfalls than a regular restaurant. For instance, extended hours of operation become a problem because hotel restaurants usually need to serve early breakfast. Following this, the kitchen needs to stay open through the day and night no matter how busy or empty the hotel is. While most restaurants can close during slow periods or days, a hotel restaurant has a duty to be open almost permanently. This requires staff to be paid, and food to be bought and prepped. There’s no avoiding slow shifts. Add free breakfast (as 96% of midscale hotels do) and 24/7 room service into the equation and you’re almost throwing money down the drain.


Hotels no longer have the demand for on-site restaurants and most are finding it hard to justify the costs - or more accurately the losses - associated with restaurants. If a hotel is struggling to stay open, closing its on-site restaurant and investing Room Service by Butler instead is an obvious panacea. Butler solves the operational problem of endless operating hours during slow periods by operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Moreover, with a larger operation, Butler can afford to keep a sizable menu and offer guests the variety that they expect. Reduced hotel occupancy in 2020 means that menus are being shrunk down to the bare minimum or eliminated altogether. Room Service by Butler offers a level of high-quality service that other forms of food delivery cannot: food brought directly to your door and charged to your room. Additionally, they are able to offer their food at “market New York prices” that are competitive with other popular food delivery options. 


In Conclusion: Ditch the Kitchen


Ultimately, with travel rates remaining low, hotel occupancy will also be considerably lower for the foreseeable future. Hotel operators will be forced to contend with two options. They can either shut down, putting hundreds or even thousands of people out of jobs. Or, they can choose to invest in companies such as Butler. The success that Butler has already had in the hotel industry is proof that room service delivery - and one that provides high quality service - is the only way to stay afloat.


A low volume of food orders in a restaurant always leads to low profits. Not only that, but the food quality at many of these smaller properties suffers due to a reliance on premade and frozen food items. Butler is able to work with a much higher volume and provide fresh, high-quality items at all times of the day. Already, Room Service by Butler has allowed restaurants to cut costs by letting them relinquish the demands and costs of running a restaurant. With in-person dining being reduced in capacity or eliminated at many restaurants, Butler makes more sense than ever. The costs saved on rent (from not having a dining room) can be passed onto guests. Hotels will also feel the benefits of returning guests, as customers will be happy to return to the property that has affordable room service. 


Butler proved its ability to be flexible with the ever-changing nature of the travel industry in 2020. throughout the pandemic Butler kept first responders, medical professionals, and even quarantined Covid-19 patients going too. Butler quickly ramped up production and were able to meet the demand of approximately 300,000 meals in April. That doesn’t include an extra 100,000 meals that the company donated to hospitals such as New York-Presbyterian and Mount Sinai. 

Butler turns the room service dilemma on its head by providing hospitality businesses with high quality hotel room service. They currently service tens of thousands of hotel rooms in New York, Chicago, Miami, and Washington D.C. The combination of Butler’s unparalleled efficiency and immaculate eye for detail results in an upgrade for all. Get in touch with Butler now!