Presentation and variety are crucial for minibars

This article is part two of a three-part series on managing minibars. Part one can be found here.

Presentation is everything with minibars, said Walt Strasser, EVP at Minibar Systems North America. “Snacks need to display up and out—on top of cabinets and minibars have glass doors so guests can see what’s available,” he said. “The minibar is an impulse item and visual displays impact that desire.”

External snack trays and bottled water, which can be on sensors for automatic capture, are an important part of the visual appeal of minibars to guests along with glass doors on the minibars, Strasser explained. “It all leads to increased revenue capture,” he said.
Bartech tracks the top 20 minibar items and the Four Seasons Houston, which uses Bartech minibars, always keeps those items in stock in its minibars as well as local and business specialties. “I also go to supermarkets and go through the checkout lines,” said Michael Pechlof, assistant director of food and beverage at the Four Seasons Hotel in Houston. “Supermarkets are definitely the specialists in what’s needed and what’s selling.”

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The No. 1 selling in minibars is water, said Pierre Agrario, VP of account management for Bartech. “It’s always water—morning, noon and night,” he continued. There are spikes in minibar consumption from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. and another spike around midnight. Alcohol consumption is biggest right before dinner time, Agrario said.
Non-F&B items are increasingly becoming popular in minibars, according to minibar experts. Technology kits, offering phone chargers and USB devices, are popular, and so are intimacy kits. Souvenir items are big in tourist cities such as Las Vegas, Agrario said.