The New York Hilton Midtown, the city’s largest hotel, will discontinue its room service in August, with a cafeteria-style, grab-and-go restaurant replacing the amenity that is so synonymous with hotels.
A spokesman for the property told the New York Times that the move, which will force the Hilton to lay off 55 workers, is in response to declining demand for room service.
The New York Hilton Midtown is not the first hotel to bring down the ax on room service; the move comes as newer hotels have found alternative ways to serve its guests' food.
PUBLIC Chicago recently implemented the "PUBLIC Express," with a menu designed by famed French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Guests get gourmet meals in less than 10 minutes and at no additional delivery charge. Human contact is not required as the waiter leaves the brown bag on the doorknob.
The Hudson Hotel in New York is also trying the brown paper bag concept with its "Hudson Common Express." Available items include steel-cut oatmeal with black quinoa for breakfast and kale Caesar salad with asiago cheese for dinner.
Hilton Worldwide is also reportedly testing out a similar concept at its Hilton Hawaiian Village in Honolulu and DoubleTree by Hilton in Tulsa, Okla., both of which are piloting a brown bag delivery in conjunction with its new MADE Market casual eatery.
USA Today recently reported that room service represented 1.2 percent of total hotel revenue, down from 1.3 percent in 2011. The data gathered by PKF Hospitality Research concluded that while guests might not be ordering much room service as of late, they still want to have the option to do so, especially at high-end hotels.
My name is Carey Vanderborg and I'm a journalist working in New York City. I love food, travel, craft beer, live music and writing about all of the above.