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By Lockyer, Timothy Publication: Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Management Date: Friday, April 1 2005 You are viewing page 1
The dining experience in the hospitality industry is complex. This complexity is due to the extent of customer participation in the service process (Kandampully, 1997; Parasuraman, Zeithaml, & Berry, 1985). Customer perception of the dining experience is strongly influenced by emotional and experiential reaction from the encounter with the service provider. Nightingale (1979) suggested the model in Figure 1, which illustrates the relationship between provider's service system (dotted lines), and the customer's service experience (solid lines). Also, the service system is refined in response to customer feedback, suggesting that service quality exists only in the perception of the customer, not in that of service providers (Kandampully, 1997). As a result, understanding customer needs about the dining experience becomes essential to the success of a restaurant business.
FOOD & DRINK
Hotels keep up with changing dietary trends
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unreliable temperature. which researched travelers’ room service preferences last year. Send up a house red if they ask for it. And some high-end hotels deliver food from a fancy restaurant on site. room service was looked at as. however notes such options are especially scarce on late-night menus. ‘Gee we have to do it. like a breakfast that can be eaten on a plane. Among the findings: cravings are the No.Gabriel Levy.: For all that hotels have done to make their bedding more luxurious. one area that hasn’t gotten much of a makeover is the in-suite dining experience. like the Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York.” Beam said. many hotels just sweep it under the rug. The ongoing hurdles of room service are never more glaring than when one is trying to get a glass of wine up the elevator. “For many years.” —NY Times / Susan Stellin utdated menu. otherwise known as room service. replacing deep-fried snacks with Baked Lay’s potato chips and PowerBars. nonstop work schedules and desire for healthful meals. With so many ways to go wrong. rice. Even the most ambitious programs limit the number of wines offered. That may be about to change. otherwise. MD of HVS/American Hospitality Management. Loews Hotels plans to eliminate artificial trans fats from its restaurants. however. For instance. but. the effort cannot fail to make a distinctive impression. applesauce and toast—to calm an upset stomach. their decor more stylish and their lobbies smell better with a signature scent. menu. oatmeal cookies and warm milk to ward off insomnia and a “Havana treat plate”—bananas. For the Michelangelo Hotel in New York. and delivery. “You can get burgers and sandwiches but that’s exactly what I don’t want to eat when it’s late.’ but now I think more hotels are looking at it as. MAKING THE MENU Scope and style are logistical issues as much as sales concerns. room service has not gotten the kind of attention that has been lavished on fancy spas and high-thread-count linens — at least not yet. promises to “revolutionize” in-room dining with menus that could include meals that are packaged to go. as more hotels focus on their food and beverage services. in-room wine service is a headache. “It’s a move away from traditional ‘healthy’ items to what I’d call balanced. Sommelier and Partner . Certainly. befuddled delivery staff. a music executive. If a hotel is willing to make a deliberate investment in training. offering low-fat. But at the hotels where most business travelers stay. which lets guests enjoy meals from JeanGeorges and will even send a chef to cook in your in-suite kitchen (for an extra $75 an hour). low-cholesterol or Atkins-friendly options as the weight-loss winds have shifted. room service menus and minibars by June. Marriott Hotels and Resorts. sales. with an eye toward keeping up with their guests’ increasingly sophisticated palates. Westin Hotels and Resorts has been testing a Travelers’ Renewal Menu in 20 properties that includes a smoothie to combat jet lag. hotels have tweaked their menus to keep up with changing dietary trends.1 criteria—the research found hamburgers to be among the top choices—followed by healthfulness. ‘How can we solve our customers’ problems?”’ said Michael Beam.
“Champagne sales are high. the Carlton Hotel has to attend to the details. They think about it. fifteen whites. it’s a convenience option. “They are the ones who can speak about the wine. Manager Deborah MacDonald has preprinted wine menus with six whites. the stand-alone Manhattan restaurant complex serving guests of the nearby Carlton Hotel. at least at this point in time. The key point is the in-room dining experience must mirror the café . Maine. Both programs spring from strong independent restaurants serving upscale properties with demanding Manhattan guests. “There is not someone in the room service department with that range of knowledge or access to the cellars. “It’s been very good for us. For that little village in Italy or France. then the person who takes the room service call is the key to in-room sales. a sampling from his cellar at related restaurant Insieme. guests can sip their wine on wicker chairs overlooking the harbor. and fifteen reds. whites come out nicely chilled. “We go for a European sensibility. my average bottle is about $75. but most wine sales are one or two glasses Monday through Friday to the business traveler. All red wines are in a temperature. but any larger operation requires careful planning. guests are informed when they book their room that in-room wine service is available.” At the Lord Camden Inn. It’s not a high-end list. GETTING IT THERE The small inn may have the advantage of quick service to a manageable number of rooms.” For the more romantically inclined.” says Sturno. and they don’t want to go out and buy a bottle. “I write out as much as I can for the people who work on the phones so they can inform the guests. And both men pride themselves on their nuanced selections.” Grieco is a passionate advocate for his choices.” Grieco concurs. six reds. It’s from a region or label the guest won’t necessarily recognize—not just a little off the beaten path. “There is certainly a luxury market in midtown Manhattan.” says MacDonald. TAKING THE ORDER If the server is the road to wine sales in the restaurant. I’m proud of every wine on there. “We avoid the standard big-box brands. “Beverages come from the café. At 315 rooms. but not your typical Woodbridge. this is what they drink. and we make it an easy choice at $14 to $37 per bottle. if we anticipate longer term.” Greico says. “It’s not eclectic just because you’re not familiar with it. and a couple of sparkling wines displayed in the 37 rooms at the Lord Camden Inn in Camden. “I would love to offer our whole menu. assembled in the kitchen. so not every table is willing to drop hundreds on a bottle. but guests familiar with the restaurant’s full list may select any wine available in the restaurant for delivery. “You have to provide a certain amount of continuity because you can’t change the wine list for 315 rooms very quickly or easily. able to accommodate luxury requests from a cozy klatch of guestrooms. “We train our room service order takers.” says Sturno.” says Sturno. “There’s a Chardonnay.” David Sturno is GM of Country. but we’re also a tourist mecca. then I can include all the descriptions to make it even more user friendly. In a program started last year.Paul Grieco assembled a relatively robust list of six sparkling.controlled room. “Everything is done from a smaller room service office. but the functionality is overwhelming.” Grieco says. In the village. His single-glass prices range between $12 and $20.” says Grieco. things close early. Carts are outfitted with wine buckets and chilled cylinders. “For our guests.” “These wines don’t sell themselves. They can also get a sommelier off the floor to talk directly to the guest.” says Sturno.” The bread and butter of in-room demand is not the romantic splurge but the brass-tacks business traveler. we’ll use an ice bucket. We’re trying to put up a system on the TV with menus and wine list. The other segment sporting a burgeoning inroom wine trade is the smaller boutique property.” Sturno has pared down the café’s list of 450 wines to a manageable handful.
Loews Hotels is placing healthier. as more hotels focus on their food and beverage services. 2007 For all that hotels have done to make their bedding more luxurious. But at the hotels where most business travelers stay. Calif. nonstop work schedules and desire for healthful meals. otherwise known as room service. Loews Hotels plans to eliminate artificial trans fats from its restaurants. room service has not gotten the kind of attention that has been lavished on fancy spas and high-thread-count linens — at least not yet. these examples of exceptional in-room wine service may provide the earliest hints of where guest expectations may develop along with the American wine palate. replacing deepfried snacks with PowerBars and other options. through their PCs.” Today’s luxury is tomorrow’s expectation. And some high-end hotels deliver food from a fancy restaurant on site. Certainly. Westin Hotels and Resorts has been testing a Travelers’ Renewal Menu in 20 properties that . with an eye toward keeping up with their guests’ increasingly sophisticated palates. which lets guests enjoy meals from JeanGeorges and will even send a chef to cook in your in-suite kitchen (for an extra $75 an hour). Our speed of delivery is thirty-five minutes or faster. That may be about to change. low-cholesterol or Atkins-friendly options as the weight-loss winds have shifted. hotels have tweaked their menus to keep up with changing dietary trends. room service menus and minibars by June. For instance. like the Trump International Hotel and Tower in New York. one area that hasn’t gotten much of a makeover is the in-suite dining experience. Guests can order room service at the Marriott in San Jose.. their décor more stylish and their lobbies smell better with a signature scent. Rewriting the Room Service Menu By SUSAN STELLIN Published: January 30. trans-fat-free snacks in room minibars.experience. offering low-fat. Like the premium bedding and bath products of yesterday.
1 criteria when they select from the menu — the research found hamburgers to be among the top choices — followed by healthfulness. potentially. which has offered health-conscious “Fit for You” options for several years. but that’s exactly what I don’t want to eat when it’s late. Beam said.” Scott Kraft. like a breakfast that can be eaten on a plane. managing director at HVS/American Hospitality Management. But the latter category does not mean a preference for bland tofu stir-fry or poached salmon. “It’s reasonable portions of good things that you wouldn’t necessarily call health food. would welcome any moves in that direction. Among the findings: people who travel 10 to 15 days a month order room service the most. promises to “revolutionize” in-room dining with improvements this year that will include new menu items that are consistent across its hotels.” Mr. it seems. and cravings are the No. oatmeal cookies and warm milk to ward off insomnia and a “Havana treat plate” — bananas.” said Gabriel Levy.includes a smoothie to combat jet lag.’ but now I think more hotels are looking at it as. ‘How can we solve our customers’ problems?’ ” said Michael Beam. rice. the executive vice president for marketing for a San Francisco software company. more regional specialties and. Marriott Hotels and Resorts.” Business travelers. a consulting firm that spent several months last year researching travelers’ room service preferences. adding that he would like to see more distinctive dishes. ‘Gee we have to do it. “I’d love to be able to get a chicken breast and vegetables and some light starch that’s prepared nicely. an executive with a digital music company in New York City. “You’re paying $250 a night minimum in most . echoed that desire for well-prepared vegetables and appetizing mixed greens. “If anything. “For many years. meals that are packaged to go. room service was looked at as. applesauce and toast — to calm an upset stomach. “You can get burgers and sandwiches and that kind of stuff. noting that these options are especially scarce on late-night menus. it’s a move away from traditional ‘healthy’ items to what I’d call balanced. or a selection of healthy soups.
and Marriott and Hilton have introduced services that allow guests to pre-order items to be waiting in their room upon check-in. then you have to transfer the food to a table that has to be perfectly set.of these places. Mr. “I go to Whole . and then you’re getting this generic room service experience. suggesting items that do not involve much skill to prepare. Another hurdle for hotels is that travelers expect to be able to nosh around the clock. Peyton’s first job was working as a room service attendant at a luxury hotel in Australia.” he advised. Marriott has been testing technology that lets guests use interactive touch-screens to place orders. president of HVS/American Hospitality Management. “Be really careful about what you order after midnight.” Plus. which is a lesson Lewis Peyton. a Los Angeles photographer. then you have to roll it some distance around the hotel. it’s costly. it’s only marginally profitable and at worst.m. Janet Feldstein. which may speed up delivery. which he said also involved some cooking duties after the chefs went home. travelers tended to think that orders took 40 to 45 minutes to arrive. may not have the same qualifications as the chef on duty at 7 p.m. But despite the high charges — and hotels sometimes add a delivery charge on top of a 15 to 20 percent service charge — room service is not a cash cow. like a salad or a club sandwich. Others point to the seemingly outrageous prices sometimes charged for the smallest room service order. a fund-raiser for a nonprofit organization who lives in Los Angeles. For travelers on a budget. there is the challenge of making sure soup arrives hot and ice cream cold. Payne.” said Kirby D.. According to research by Mr. “Room service is a real complicated logistical deal.” he said. though in reality they usually arrived within 30 minutes. You have the normal prep time that you have in a restaurant. has another tip. Nevertheless. learned firsthand. Payne’s firm. in the time frame promised when the order was placed. But the person who cooks an order at 1 a. “At best.
rather than just pushing the tray into the hall. travelers should call to ask for a pick-up. Although some hotels do not allow food deliveries. Feldstein says she avoids that problem by giving her cellphone number so she can pick up her pizza box outside. said hotel staff should call to see if a guest is ready to have the tray picked up — and failing that. a salad or chips and guacamole — and sometimes I order pizza. Payne.Foods or a takeout place and bring food back to my room — like sushi. Mr. Ms. it’s a relationship of mutual respect — these aren’t servants there to pick up after you. On that note. the hotel consultant. he offered some advice most travelers have probably heard at home: “Remember.” she said. That raises another thorny point: what to do with the remains of your meal once you have finished dining.” .
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