The case for interesting and engaging in-room dining menues - The Four Seasons Mumbai
I recently came across an interesting in-room dining menu at the Four Seasons Hotel in Mumbai. Not only did it encourage me to dine in the room and enjoy the view far over Mumbai, but it also reminded me about some best practices, that you only see with some very select hotels. (As our policy is to Never Name and Shame, I will only refer to the high achievers in this blog). In recent years, I have seen some hotels, moving entirely away from a vast in-room dining menu, to a more snack style menu which often was a copy of the bar menu. Issues that often triggered such response included simply not having a well-designed space in the room, or the food could not be kept sufficiently hot until delivered or other operational issues failed to deliver on the 24 hour in-room dining promise. The shortcut often taken by hotels was to take the least trained service employee and let him/her handle the room service. Well, the result was often easily anticipated. Some operators have learned from these mistakes and gone an entirely different route. Catering to the single traveler, some business hotels have understood, that the option of dining is often between staying in the room or go out, but we mean really out, not into the hotel restaurant. So really, should we recover the lost revenue and use our in-room dining menu to promote both, the hotel restaurants and the in-room dining?
Please see above a sample of the Four Seasons Mumbai Menu. This does not represent the full menu! Let’s get back to the Four Seasons in Mumbai. The hotel has done exactly that, combined a menu that was both appetizing to engage guests to stay in the room, but allowing for enough sampling to lure the single diner into the dining room. With a tasting selection spanning through all onsite restaurants this was effectively achieved. The dishes are described in some artful pictures and the structure is simple and understandable. On top of this, for the busy executive, the 15 minute challenge. A menu that comprises of items that will truly be delivered within 15 minutes. And that in an authentic Dabba Walla, a container typical for the locals. Well, what is there more to say, let’s order! The server who promptly took the call, was able to make suggestions and mapped the menu for the guest. As such, when a typical European starter was ordered, a light but authentic Indian maincourse was suggested, referencing the outlet, followed by a dessert cocktail from the rooftop bar. And, would you like to have this served course by course or all at once? Let’s not forget the bottle of sparkling water and the glass of wine, which of course was all poured in the room, almost like you are seated in the dining room. Well done Four Seasons Mumbai! We have taken your great Best Practice and established an online course. If you want to implement such service in one of your hotels, please visit the “In-room Dining” online course module. And don’t forget, have a look at the menu of the Four Seasons Mumbai: Click here
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