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Crisis could be catalyst for hotel operators to adopt ‘dark kitchen’ model

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The idea that hotels could host ‘dark kitchens’ within their premises for guests that don’t want traditional room service could gain more credence once the lockdown is over, it has been claimed.

At a business forum held by HGEM and EP Business in Hospitality last July, a senior executive from Deliveroo confirmed that conversations had already started within the hotel sector about the way F&B operations might look in the future.

If hotel restaurants and cafés do reopen in the coming weeks with social distancing measures, the sector will have to consider a new approach to dining experiences.

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And that could act as a catalyst for ‘delivered-in’ models or ‘dark kitchens’, according to Chris Sheppardson, CEO at EP Business in Hospitality.

“Although nothing is clear-cut, there are a number of discussions emerging in terms of how hotels and restaurants will continue to serve guests post-lockdown, if social distancing measures are still in place,” he said.

“Certainly the fall in those staying in hotels may prompt managers to look at other models such as delivered-in services to accommodate in-room dining.”

It has been suggested previously that delivered-in food from suppliers such as Deliveroo and Just Eat could actually replace hotel room service in the future.

Mr Sheppardson said hoteliers would likely be evaluating their F&B models as they get to grips with a market landscape dramatically different to the one they knew at the beginning of the year.

“There are those who believe the economy will face a long, hard road to recovery and those who believe that it will simply bounce back. In terms of the hotels sector, many sit almost between these two schools of thought and believe that the sector will return to some kind of normality as of Q2 in 2021,” he said.

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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