Room service is a luxury and a true hallmark of traveling, so having a piping-hot meal delivered right to the hotel room lets guests know that they have arrived. It’s comforting, nourishing and convenient.
When it comes to room service, it turns out that comfort, not time of day, is the bigger factor in determining what guests will order dispelling the notion that it is typically thought of as an early morning treat or breakfast food.
There’s nothing quite like hotel room service whether it is an indulgence or a necessity, a freshly delivered breakfast tray or a late-night snack seems the ideal thing to serve a jet-lagged traveler.
Many of us pause before picking up the phone to order keeping in mind that room service food can seem unnecessarily expensive, taking forever to get to the room and is often tepid and less than tasty when it finally arrives.
The most popular room service items are usually comfort foods like burgers, pastas and pizzas, but regional differences also tend to influence menus. Room service must also cater to guests accustomed to eating light meals or those who arrive late & need a salad or house made soup like a clear chicken broth before nodding off to sleep.
Here are some things that you should know about room service:
The higher up, the damper it gets
When a room service delivery employee takes a tray from the kitchen to a guest’s room, it is typically covered in a metal lid to retain heat and prevent exposure. The higher up you are, the longer it has to travel and the more that lid traps steam, soaking food in moisture. Food sweats under the metal lid and instead of having crispy, toasted bread, it will arrive soggy. To prevent moisture luxury hotels use hot boxes to keep the food warm without creating any excessive moisture.
The chef may not be around
Just because you see a menu in your room, it doesn’t mean the hotel has a kitchen or chef on-site. To cut costs, some hotels are opting to out-source their room service to local eateries. It might be ‘presented’ by the hotel, but it may be from a restaurant down the road. Alternately, hotels might not have an overnight chef. The hotel management may resort to having food pre-prepped so a desk clerk or other employee can just heat it up.
In-room dining menu
The hotel management should pay attention to the in-room dining menu and its compilation. The chef should be experienced enough to only select items on the menu that do not easily deteriorate during the transfer time from the kitchen to the room.
Be properly attired
Guests do answer the door barely clothed and this is rather an uncomfortable situation for the room service attendant. While it’s likely the waiter will use discretion, guests can avoid this from happening by being more discrete themselves and take precaution to be adequately dressed, even if it is simply out of respect for the waiter.
Fill in the breakfast card
Breakfast is undoubtedly the busiest time for room service, and those little cards that allow guests to check off menu items the night before are a huge help. It’s great for everybody involved as the kitchen staff can pace themselves and guests can get their food on time.
Call to pick up the tray
Nobody likes to see and smell leftover food in hotel corridors and it doesn’t have to remain out there. Instead, dial the front desk and let them know that you have finished your meal and the hotel management will dispatch someone to collect it.
People pay a premium for room service, with hotels adding surcharges for the additional time and effort it takes to provide in-room dining. It does mean guests don’t need to feel bad about not offering a cash tip. The service fees in most cases do end up being distributed among the service team.