Ever wondered if outside food is allowed in hotels? While spending a fine holiday in a five-star hotel can you order food from local outlets or your favorite restaurant? Well, the resounding answer is a big Yes, while most of us believed that it was not permitted. Though each hotel may have its customized policy, general rules regarding outside food are more or less similar.
Why Five-Star Hotels Restrict Food from Outside
While some hotels may follow a lenient guest policy and allow outside food, some restrict doing so and they may have their own justified reasons for banning outside food.
With the advent of technology and the sudden surge of delivery apps and their lucrative discount policies, customers are tempted to order food from outside even if it means delivery from a restaurant that is owned by the same hotel in which they are residing. Most hotels may discourage this practice by imposing a ban and rightfully so as it affects their business.
Some other genuine reasons that lead five-star hotels to adopt a ‘no outside food policy’ include:
- To avoid contamination of food that may be caused by the entry of outside food. Hotels believe that food cooked in other restaurants or cloud kitchens may lack food safety standards and may not adhere to the hotel’s hygiene and food storage guidelines.
- Ordering food from outside and allowing guests to enjoy food in their rooms may give a hard time to the housekeeping staff. Guests enjoying food on the beds can soil hotel linen and leave behind stains that damage hotel property.
- Entry of delivery agents and outside vehicles within the hotel’s premises may pose a threat to the safety of guests and hotel staff and may therefore be against the hotel’s safety policy.
Refer to the Hotels Policy before Check-in
Every five-star hotel has a sound guest policy that clearly defines the do’s and don’ts during your stay in the hotel. But do five-star hotels allow outside food in India? Well, to get that answer you need to do a simple homework. Before you check in or plan to bring outside food along with you during your stay in the hotel try to read and understand the hotel’s policy. Some hotels allow guests to bring in light snacks, non-alcoholic beverages, and baby food while others have a stringent policy allowing only light-packaged food. Most hotels forbid complete meals, confectionery, and alcoholic drinks.
Moreover, for hotels that allow food from outside, check with the hotel policies to know whether the food shall be delivered to your room or dropped at the front desk from where you can pick up your food package.
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What Should Hotels Do in Case of a ‘No Outside Food Policy’?
In this age of customer-centric business, hotels need to maintain a fine balance between customer service and their business strategy ensuring that both aspects have a win-win situation. Here are some easy ways in which hotels can effectively apply their ‘No Outside Food Policy’ without denting their business.
- Have a well-defined and pre-framed policy clearly stating the clauses for ‘Food from Outside’
- Cleary educate guests about their policy at the time of bookings and check-ins to ensure smooth enforcement of rules and guidelines.
- Charge guests for extra utensils, cutlery, or crockery or sell them disposable cutlery to avoid the cost of extra dishwashing and staff expenses.
- Frame clear corkage policy and communicate the same to their guests. Corkage charges levied by a hotel or restaurant include the labor and cost involved in serving food and drinks ordered from outside. Besides this direct cost, it also includes some hidden charges like recovering the revenue lost by the hotel for not purchasing or ordering from the hotel. It also includes the cost of using the hotel space to dine and the cost of damaging or soiling linen. Besides, in the case of room service, it very aptly includes the staff expenses and the service cost of offering food in the room.
Rules Guests Should Follow in Case Hotels Allow or Are Silent on their ‘Food From Outside’ Policy
In case hotels have no well-defined food from outside policy or allow guests to enjoy their favorite dishes in rooms then there are some general guidelines that guests should follow.
- Request your hotel to provide you with utensils or cutlery. Before ordering food, call the front desk and inform them that you are planning to order food from outside and would need extra cutlery and utensils to dish out the same.
- If your hotel is hesitant in offering utensils and cutlery, make sure that you instruct the delivering food outlet to send along disposable cutlery.
- Avoid eating your food on the hotel bed as it can reduce the chances of soiling the linen. In case you have no other furniture to spread and dine on, ensure that you spread a towel, or newspaper on the bed or request the housekeeping staff to provide you with a bedspread.
- Don’t expect the hotel staff to bring your food to the room. For a hassle-free dining experience of your ordered food ensure that you collect your food package from the hotel’s front desk or the point where the delivery agent is allowed to enter.
What do Five Star Hotels do with Left-Over Food?
Imagine the tons of food processed in a five-star hotel every day and add to it the outside food that guests order. So, how do they handle this food bulk and what do five-star hotels do with the leftover food? It all depends upon the hotel’s policy. Some hotels have a food control policy to avoid food wastage, while others have deep refrigerators to store food at the right temperatures. Some five-star hotels prefer to distribute the left-over food amongst their staff members while others have tie-up with NGOs or orphanages where the left-over food is supplied to feed the needy as part of the CSR initiative of the hotel.
Most hotels design their food strategy to ensure minimum food wastage and best practices for food storage so that all food items can be re-used or recycled and not lead to unnecessary wastage.
The Final Word
Carrying your food or ordering food in a five-star hotel is not cumbersome as believed by most guests. All you need to do is check with your hotel and have a clear understanding of their guests and food policy. Follow a few simple guidelines and order your favorite food dish and enjoy your stay and dining experience with no fuss. Get the best of both the hotel services and relish your much-liked delicacy while making your stay memorable and enjoyable.