How Hilton, Best Western do breakfast spatial planning

(Home2 Suites Baltimore)

Breakfast spaces at various levels of hotels can range from simple grab-and-go stations to traditional sit-down restaurants for multi-course meals. As these hotel segments continue to stratify and seek to attract ever-widening demographics, the breakfast area has become a vital element to the identity of a brand as well as an individual hotel.

“The functionality of hotel spaces has changed dramatically over the past five years,” said Ron Pohl, SVP of brand management for Best Western Hotels & Resorts. Each space, he said, must now be multifunctional, so new design elements are needed.

The company’s new Glo boutique brand integrates concealed breakfast display areas to easily convert the space into a lounge area after breakfast is closed. “To avoid displaying an empty counter where breakfast was served earlier in the day, the concealed displays give us the opportunity to pull down decorative panels to cover up the counter and reveal niches where artwork can be displayed,” he said.

Hilton Worldwide’s three all-suite brands (Home2, Homewood and Embassy Suites) all offer complimentary breakfasts, but the options—and the design to accommodate them—vary greatly from brand to brand. In the midscale Home2 hotels, for example, a breakfast of pastries and microwavable sandwiches is served in the lobby. When the team found that more guests than planned were taking advantage of the food, they made changes to handle higher occupancy levels.

“We moved our coffee station away from the breakfast line, so there’s no bottlenecking,” said Bill Duncan, global head of Hilton’s all-suites brands “We also shifted some of the tables around in the lobby area to allow for more volume flow, which helps. Another thing was to add additional seating around the perimeter of the lobby, against the walls, like you would see in a coffeeshop to allow for individual seating. That is how we, as a brand, have to respond when we see changes in our customer profile volume and how we have to be able to adapt.”

Many Homewood Suites have open-plan breakfast rooms, so pop-up stations have become a popular option for high-traffic breakfast times. “We want our design to be flexible and moveable to be able to handle everybody,” Duncan said. Similarly, Embassy Suites are adding remote stations for eggs and bacon, separate from the omelet stations. “There are different types you can get to work with your design scheme, and [they are] made to be stored easily,” he said. “Sometimes, the bigger issue is a lack of storage space.”

Best Western properties have found similar success with keeping stations separate. “We set up a coffee station in a separate area [from] the rest of the serving stations,” Pohl said. The company also increased the recommended length of its breakfast spaces from 20 feet to 25 feet. “We recommend electric connectivity every 4 feet to 6 feet, and want to make sure that design and functionality meet in the layout. Placing electric boxes underneath the counter and using well-placed holes are also a strategy we use to hide cords.”