Reinventing Room Service – what’s your take?

Room service has been an ongoing Food & Beverage operation in many hotels over the years. It has been incorporated as a brand standard in many properties and to some extent, a differentiator for various hotel brands i.e. you would find room service in certain star or graded properties. The thing with room service is that historically, it costs a bomb to run and makes very little money. Hospitality trends for 2014 indicate that room service is due for a shake up! So how would you change room service if it was all up to you?

A traditional room service approach. Image by ©www.acbnews.go.com

A traditional room service approach. Image by ©www.acbnews.go.com

The concerns

It was reported by Lodging Magazine  that the New York Hilton Midtown (New York’s largest hotel) recently closed its entire room service operation because it wasn’t financially viable any longer. So is the writing on the wall for other hotels who offer room service? Do guests even want a room service option given that its reputation is battered because of cold, uninteresting food that is served at ridiculous prices? 

The bottom line is that guests still want room service because it’s convenient. Here are some ideas that we think may help:

Quick and simple breakfasts

What about breakfast bags to go? Pick up your breakfast bag on your way out the door and enjoy a fresh fruit juice or coffee, croissant, yoghurt or a ‘breakfast roll’ which could be in a veggie option or standard bacon and egg roll. These items are easy to prepare, bags are easy to make up and if it’s displayed in reception, chances are, you’ll grab a few extra customers for breakfast than you normally would.

A new approach to Breakfast ©www.lodgingmagazine.com

A new approach to Breakfast ©www.lodgingmagazine.com

Lunch to go

Again, sandwiches, wraps, pre-made salads, sushi and fresh smoothies are a great ‘to go’ option. Eat in or out with the pre-prepared options that take minutes to assemble. Fresh, fast and reasonably priced.

Dinner time grill option

Many South African resorts have a braai/grill on the patio of each room. Hotel Interactive reports that Boulders Arizona offer a ‘Grill Your Own’ menu where they provide a picnic basket of ingredients for starters and mains and you are able to grill your own meal, at your own pace, with all your dips, accompaniments and sauces at your fingertips.

Whichever way you go, know that room service needs to change in order to move with the times – like technology changes, so our service offerings will need to be tweaked continuously to ensure we are satisfying what guests want, and that we’re making money whilst we’re doing it – we are in business after all to satisfy both.

If you have some cool and clever room service ideas, give us your thoughts in the comment section below. We’d love to hear from you!

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Amarula Cheesecake – a South African culinary favourite

We found a really amazing no bake, flop proof, fuss free, ‘anyone can make this’ cheesecake that will have your guests begging for the recipe. We’ve adapted it slightly from the original that we loved so much from the SmittenGlutten blog, but we’ve kept the step by step pictures from the original for your enjoyment!

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Amarula Cheesecake

Ingredients (Local is lekker)

200 grams digestive biscuits (about 13 biscuits)
100 grams butter, melted
200 ml whipping cream (very cold)
150 ml Amarula cream liqueur (if you’re stuck, you can use Cape Velvet or leave out the booze for a plain no-bake cheesecake)
4 teaspoon gelatine powder
500 grams cream cheese, softened to room temperature
130 grams caster sugar
30 grams dark chocolate, melted

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Plus, you’ll need loads of bowls (so nominate your mates to do the cleaning up) and a 9-inch springform pan

Method:

Step 1: Smash up the biscuits into smithereens! Such fun

Step 2: Melt the butter and mix it into the crumbs until it feels a little mushy, squishy, and pliable.

Step 3: Press the mixture into a 9-inch springform pan until it’s a pretty firm and even layer, and then pop it into the freezer (easy peasy)

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Step 4: Whip the cream into stiff peaks (but don’t go too far and make butter. That’s not cool)

Step 5: Open the Amarula and give it a taste test. Why not!

Step 6: Place the booze and the gelatine into a bowl and leave it to stand for 3 minutes. Then place the bowl into a pan of boiling water and heat the mixture until all the gelatine has dissolved. (The start of the many bowls you’re going to have to wash at the end)

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Step 7: Beat the sugar and cream cheese until light and fluffy. (Unless you’re fit, use an electric beater.)

Step 8: strain the gelatine and liqueur mixture into the cream cheese and sugar mixture, and mix together gently. (It’s a delicate process, concentrate!!)

Step 9: Fold in the whipped cream (you deserve a shot of Amarula for all this effort)

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Step 10: Take your frozen base out the freezer and spoon on the cheesecake filling (save a little in the bowl for a sneaky spoon licking session later)

Step 11: Melt your chokie wokie and drop small (ten cent piece size) drops onto your mixture. Use a toothpick to make swirly wirleys and get carried away

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Step 12: Refrigerate for a minimum of 5 hours or overnight if possible (which gives you plenty of time to taste test more Amarula)

Step 13 – indulge in a little cheesecake heaven. Happy baking and let us know how your Amarula Cheesecake turned out.

Futuristic kitchens that would rock your culinary training…or your next house party!

In an effort to create an easier and more enjoyable cooking experience in the kitchen, a number of leading brands are designing the most incredible futuristic kitchens. Imagine listening to your favourite tunes blaring from your fridge whilst you search your dinner menu on your interactive stove’s internet? Then, you could upload images of your dinner creation from your stove so that your mates can check out your latest efforts and high-five you on Facebook.

Cooking on stoves with a dash of digital

Mashable reports that the Whirlpool Interactive Cooktop can certainly help you achieve these fun kitchen experiences either with the touch of a finger or by using a voice command to help you. Let’s say you’re keen to make Chicken Cordon Bleu. A command to your stove to come up with recipes and images from the net, Facebook or Pinterest will provide you with plenty of inspiration. Instead of having to flick through your cookbook, you can simply scroll down your stove’s ‘page’ and follow the recipe next to your pan. When you’re done, you can upload those images and any tips you have and show off your culinary skills.

Whirlpool

The Whirlpool Interactive Cooktop

What music would your fridge play?

Of course having Whirlpool’s upcoming connected refrigerator that can stream music from any Bluetooth-enabled device will set the tone for your cooking experience. In fact, the cool vibe in your kitchen may well redefine the new ‘house party’ concept because it’s more fun to be in the kitchen.

But these are just design ideas for now – as technology grows, we can look forward to new and exciting kitchens. What would you like to see in your culinary kitchen when you do practicals? Maybe it’s a sink that can double as a stove? Or stove/fridge combo so that you don’t have to wonder far for your ingredients? Or a fridge that can scan your products and tell you how many calories are in each product or it can work out recipes for you from scanning your ingredients? Perhaps lecturers won’t need to watch you in the kitchen because you can submit that practical via your stove when you’re done. Who knows…but it sounds like fun!

worlds-first-intelligent-refrigerator

Worlds first intelligent refrigerator

It’s definitely a great way to share your tips with friends – become your own recipe blogger straight from your kitchen, whilst you’re cooking. Upload your recipe, photo’s and tips in one easy and instant step. Imagine…instant fame! But for now, we can simply dream and look forward to some rather hip and happening kitchens down the line.  If you’ve got some awesome kitchen design ideas, please share them with us in the comment section below – we’d love to know your thoughts.