September 25th, 2013 | Elliott Mest

New York Hilton Midtown unveils Herb N' Kitchen, room service alternative

25 Sep, 2013 By: Elliott Mest

The New York Hilton Midtown (renamed from the Hilton New York earlier this year) made waves in late May when it announced it would no longer offer room service to its guests. The decision to end the service came due to lowered guest interest in the program, but was met with confusion by developers and traveliers alike. Now the hotel is unveiling its new F&B concept, the Herb N' Kitchen restaurant, which offers breakfast, lunch and dinner at either grab-and-go speeds or a sit-down experience. Hilton executives also shared plans for an associated room-delivery service from Herb N' Kitchen when Hotel Management sat down yesterday with Beth Scott, VP of global product development, food & beverage, Hilton Worldwide.

Hospitality Net cited a food industry research group report by Technomic showing that 85 percent of casual dining consumers say they visit fast casual dining outlets at least once a month and one third of consumers say they order from the healthy menu more often than they did one year ago at fast casual restaurants. In that vein, Herb N’ Kitchen has an open-kitchen model showing the full kitchen to guests so they can watch their meals prepared.

The Herb N' Kitchen concept consists of five different zones. The 'Arrival' zone is a traditional retail market; 'Barista' is an area offering coffee, pastries, fruit and yogurts; 'Oven' serves flatbreads and burgers; and the 'Buffet' provides breakfast options in the morning. The fifth zone is a three-room 'Dining Room' capable of being sectioned off for private groups.

Much speculation has been reserved for alternatives to room service, but the New York Hilton Midtown is offering a simple one. Rather than a traditional room service cart, the hotel will package a guest's ordered meal into a bag and deliver it to their room, or even to other locations outside of the hotel. Speaking on the change, Scott said changes such as these have been a long time coming for hotels. To her, Hilton simply took the risk first, and sees the changes as necessary to improve the hotels F&B space.

"There was a lot of trepidation when it came to changing the F&B, from guests and operaters alike," Scott told Hotel Management. "But the fact was, the guests weren't using it as it was. We don't want to force feed what won't work."

External Source : Hospitality Net, BroadWay World

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