In the summer of 2013, the New York Hilton Midtown—the largest hotel in New York City—announced it would no longer offer room service. The decision shocked some guests who have come to associate the silver tray with luxury hotels, but it only confirmed what hospitality professionals have known for some time: room service is rarely profitable.
Room service contributes just 1.22 percent of a hotel's average revenues as of 2012, according to PKF Hospitality Research. That represents about $3.25 per occupied room. Not only that, but room service requires a significant staffing commitment.
Guests still need to eat—and they don't always want to commit to a full-service meal. But large hotels in urban environments, where takeout choices abound, can step back from their obligation to provide 24-hour dining, HotelNewsNow.com's Jeff Higley told Entrepreneur magazine. Hotels are coming up with novel ways to give business travelers and others easy dining options.