3 Reasons Why Your Hotel Pantry Benefits From Brand Name Items

Use brand names for your hotel pantry

Successful hotel pantry management depends on a lot of elements. Among the most important is providing brand name items for guests. Even though it’s tempting to buy generic products to save some money up front, you stand to make more money by using branded items. Below are three reasons why.

3 Reasons to use Brand Name Products in Your Hotel Pantry

1. Brand Recognition

When someone gets a desire for a certain product, whether it be an ice-cold, fizzy soda or a particular type of snack, they’re not thinking of just any old soft drink or bag of chips. They want their favorite. And when they see the logo or uniquely shaped package on the shelf, there’s a good chance they’ll make a purchase. This is called brand recognition.

So, what does this have to do with your hotel pantry?

Let’s say a guest named John just arrived at your hotel. He’s been traveling all day. He’s probably tired and just wants to relax while watching some television for a little bit, then he realizes he wants a soda and a snack.

He remembers passing by the pantry near the lobby and saw the bottles of Coke in the cooler and the Doritos on the shelf–his favorite. There’s a good chance he’ll go purchase those items not just because they’re his favorite, but also because he knows what he’ll get.

Do you think the same would happen with generic, store-brand items?

Probably not. That’s the power and effectiveness of brand recognition. Fill your pantry with recognizable brands and guests will flock to it, increasing the revenue from your pantry.

2. Consumer Trust

The big brand names you see in any market have a huge following. Think about it: Apple, Nike, Delta…whatever the market, those big brands have a huge customer base and loyal following. This doesn’t happen on accident.

Those companies spend an enormous amount of time and money on ensuring they provide the best product or service they can offer. Apple’s products deliver on user experience. Nike’s apparel is always comfortable. Delta’s service is top-notch. As a result, customers keep coming back. Why? Because they’ve come to trust these products and services.

The same holds true for choosing the items to sell in your hotel pantry.

While it’s important to save money in whatever way possible, your pantry will be more successful if you offer products that guests know and trust. If your pantry is full of store brand items, guests might not necessarily know what they’re getting for their money. This inevitably results in expired products as they sit on the shelves for too long. Give them what they know and like.

3. Customer Loyalty

Loyal customers will continuously purchase products from their favorite brands regardless of convenience or price. This is great news for your hotel pantry, because branded items allow you to set higher pricing, which can then increase your profit margin from the items sold.

So instead of buying a generic item for $1.00 each and selling them for $1.25, you can pay $1.50 per item and sell it for $2.00.

This doesn’t mean you should set pricing too high (there’s always a limit). But the goal then becomes setting the prices for items sold in your hotel pantry at the highest possible price that customers will pay for them. It works out for both the consumer, who gets what they want, and your hotel, which makes a nice profit.




The Ultimate Guide To Installing & Managing A Hotel Pantry

Hotel Pantry Installation

Hotel managers are increasingly embracing the pantry system as a way to provide drinks, snacks, and a variety of items for their guests. And for good reason: pantries (also called markets) offer a much better user experience for guests while benefiting hotels in several ways.

Traditionally, vending machines were the go-to way to provide snacks and beverages for hotel guests. But with vending, you’re limited to what kind of products you can sell, and the equipment can be quite fickle, requiring regular maintenance. The pantry system has opened a whole new world for both hotel managers and guests.

But what about the hassle of setting up a pantry? Not to mention managing one.

While it might seem like a lot of work–and even more headaches–it’s really not. If you approach it equipped with the right knowledge and a plan, you can’t go wrong with installing a hotel pantry.

7 Steps To Installing A Hotel Pantry

1. Determine Your Needs & Estimate the Cost Of Installation

budgeting for hotel pantry

The first step towards setting up a successful market for your hotel is to determine what your budget will be for installing it. The average cost for installing a pantry is about $8,000-$10,000. It can be done for less if you choose to install it on your own.

If you go that route, the main Items needed to install a hotel pantry include:

  • Shelves & fixtures
  • Drink coolers
  • Shelf organizers
  • Microwave

The shelf organizers and microwave can easily be purchased at any local big box store like Wal-Mart or Office Depot, and a drink cooler can be purchased or rented from Coca-Cola or Pepsi.

In the case of having a supplier install the equipment, make sure you take time to discuss what your needs and expectations are for the pantry with your supplier of choice so they can provide an appropriate quote for installation. Tips for choosing the best supplier in your area are discussed in more detail below.

2. Decide on Where to Put The Pantry

Once you’ve determined the cost for installing a pantry, the next step is to decide where to put it. An empty wall in your lobby or near the lounge are good locations. If you’re concerned about theft, install the pantry behind the front desk if there’s enough room.

Keep in mind that, much like vending machines, you want the pantry in a high-traffic area. If it’s tucked away in a dark corner where guests rarely pass through, sales will be low and theft–most likely–will be high.

You’ll also want to be sure that electrical outlets are available to plug in the coolers needed for beverages and other products that need to be refrigerated.

Pro Tip: If you’re going to install the pantry on your own, be sure to keep shelves and other hardware in line with the decor of the hotel. For example, if the interior design of your hotel consists of a lot of dark brown or mahogany, you should select shelves of the same type. Not something like oak, which would only clash with the design of your hotel.

3. Research & Decide on a Supplier

Choose the best supplier for your hotel pantry

This step is important, and it’s best not to rush through it. When you’re searching for a supplier to install a pantry and routinely deliver products needed for it, you want to choose one you can trust. But just as important is keeping the supplier source simple, meaning you don’t want too many suppliers delivering products.

Having multiple vendors deliver different products just to save a little money will only lead to headaches and make managing the market more of a hassle than it should be.

The best way to choose the right supplier is to thoroughly research a variety of companies and evaluate them based on certain criteria. Things to look for in a supplier include:

  • Reliability
  • Responsiveness
  • Communication
  • Years in service

These are important characteristics that need to be evaluated closely before deciding on which supplier to use. Take the time to properly assess the company you choose.

4. Set Appropriate Pricing

pricing for hotel pantry items

Pricing items in the pantry is a sensitive area for some hotel managers. There’s a fear of setting prices too high, leading to guests not purchasing items and/or complaining about it. While you don’t want that, you also don’t want to lose money from setting prices too low.

So what do you do?

It’s important to understand that your hotel pantry can be a source of ancillary income. In other words, you stand to make a nice profit from the market if managed correctly.

It’s also important not to approach your pantry with a fixed monthly budget for the products you sell. Let the sales dictate how much you spend. If your budget falls short of the demand for items, the result will be empty shelves, which is unsightly to guests.

For example, if you budget $300 per month for sweets but they’re always selling out, you should spend more on those items since you know they’ll sell and make a profit. Hotel pantry management software like Supply Wizards makes this process simple. It calculates all of your par levels and will tell you when and how much product is needed.

5. Choose the Right Products

select products for your hotel pantry

While it’s tempting to purchase generic brands for items in order to save money, name brands ALWAYS sell better. There’s a reason why companies like Coca-Cola, Nabisco, Campell’s Soup, and Band-Aid spend millions on branding and advertising.

Because of the brand, you’ll be able to set higher pricing and capitalize on the trust and loyalty consumers have with those brands.

In short, you should take advantage of the effort those companies put into branding to help profit from your hotel pantry.

6. Organize Items Logically

items in hotel pantry

Retailers spend a lot of time shelving their products for both profit and appearance. You should do the same with your hotel pantry. Not only is an organized shelf appealing, but it helps your guests find what they need faster, since they’re usually in a rush or tired from a long day of travel.

There are four main categories of items that you want to group together:

  1. Sweet
  2. Salty
  3. Healthy
  4. Sundry

Remember, the whole purpose of installing a hotel pantry is to improve the guest experience. Items scattered throughout the shelves without any order will only make it more difficult for them to find what they need.

7. Take Pride In Your Pantry

The final step in setting up a hotel pantry is to be proud of it. When you walk into a bakery or local family-owned deli, the owners are proud of their business. You should view your hotel pantry the same way. Don’t treat it as a side project that gets worked on in your spare time. It will show and guests will not be compelled to use it, thus wasting any time and money you do put into it.