If you offer room service, you have to do it with flair, quality, professionalism, and confidence.
Welcome to another edition of Hospitality Property School.
Today, I am going to look at “How to Offer Great Room Service”.
What is Room Service?
Room service or in-room dining is a subdivision within the Food & Beverage Department of a hospitality property were guests are able to choose menu items for delivery to their room.
Some of the Advantages of Room Service Include
Guests enjoy meals in the privacy of their own room.
They can place orders even when the dining area is closed
Food is delivered to the room, therefore it saves time.
Guests can stay casual or even in the night clothes while enjoying a meal.
Disadvantages of Room Service
Room service often receives some of the lowest scores on hotel comment cards for reasons that include, slow delivery time, lukewarm food and expensive prices.
If you are going to offer room service as an option at your property, it is important to learn successful techniques you can employ to make your room service program more satisfying for your guests as well as improve your bottom line.
If you want to offer room service, you have to do it with flair, quality, professionalism, and confidence.
Here is a list of successful techniques that have worked with many properties
- All telephone calls have to be answered with a clear unhurried voice within 3 rings. If it takes more than 3 rings, an apology has to be offered.
- All telephone calls to be answered with “Room service, good morning/afternoon/evening, how may I help you.”
A phone operator functions much in the same way a server would in a dining room setting. This person is the critical link between the guest and kitchen and perfectly situated to sell. Keeping phone operators in the know on specials and what dishes may not be available will help streamline the ordering process. Phone operators should taste menu items in order to make suggestions the guest may not have thought of.
- The order and room number must be repeated to the guest for clarification.
- The guest will be advised of the estimated delivery time and thanked for their order.
While it is important to improve delivery times for room service orders, you do not want to assure guests to expect their meals to arrive in an unrealistic timeframe. Guests are likely to make a complaint about a meal being served “late” and look unfavourably on your overall service because of it.
- The telephone receiver will be placed after the guest has put theirs down.
- The maximum delivery time for a room service order is 30 minutes.
- The service tray will contain necessary accompaniments and cutlery and if possible, fresh cut flowers.
A good trick for the room service staff is to keep a picture of how a tray should be set up. Having a visual representation of what should be included on each tray makes it quick and easy for servers to check that they have everything before leaving the kitchen.
- The guest door should be knocked gently. The knock should be twice followed by a verbal prompt “room service.” When the door is opened, the tray will be placed at the guest’s convenience.
When bringing an order, have your servers present the name of each dish as they remove the lids. This helps to make sure the guest has everything they need and allows for any questions to be answered while the server is still in the room.
It is good practice for beverages to be poured in front of guests. Train your staff to always bring a bucket filled with ice and an ice scoop when serving sodas and mixed drinks. If a guest orders wine, the corked bottle should be brought to the room for opening and serving. The server can then offer to leave the bottle and add the cost to the check later. Great opportunity for an upsell.
- The guest is presented with the bill and thanked;
Train your servers to openly communicate with guests regarding gratuity and pick up protocols. If gratuity is included on the check, servers need to inform the diners when presenting the check. This helps to avoid guest frustration with inadvertent double tipping. Also, have your servers notify guests of their options for tray removal. Present a service card that includes the server’s name and tray pick up times or place a note on your room service menu.
- The server leaves the room after checking guest satisfaction.
- The guest will be called after 15 minutes to check if they are satisfied and happy with their meal.
“Is everything satisfactory with your meal?” Guests appreciate follow up after receiving room service. Checking back shortly after delivery allows for a guest to inform you of any unmet need or displeasure with their order. It also gives your server or phone operator another chance to sell an additional menu item, beverage or coffee.
- All trays should be cleared from guest rooms within 45 – 60 minutes after service. If for any reason, the tray cannot be cleared immediately, the guest will be advised to leave the tray outside the room for clearance.
Ways to get your guests to think about room service
A great way to get guests to order from your room service menu is to offer a sample. Set up a station in the lobby with bite-size menu selections for guests to taste as they walk in. Include a sign letting people know they can find these dishes on their room service menu.
Guests are unlikely to order room service if they don’t know about the option.
In addition to placing notices in traditional areas such as near the phone or television in the room, consider where you could promote this service outside of guest rooms.
Place signs in the elevator or lobby as well as train your front desk to alert arriving visitors that they have the option to order room service.
I have had many hospitality property owners and managers tell me that room service is a necessary evil, a revenue loser and a burden on reviews.
This does not have to be the case.
By putting step-by-step strategies in place and ensuring your staff are well trained, room service could not only become an extra steady stream of income but a source of pride within your property.
If you have any stories about at “How to Offer Great Room Service” and would like to share or have any questions or feedback you can leave them in the comments section of the show notes.
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That’s it for this session of hospitality property school.
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Until next time, have a fun day.
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