4 Ways to Buy Wholesale Snacks for Your Hotel Pantry

Hotel guests demand variety. Whether it’s with room preferences or amenities, they want as many options as possible so they can choose the one that best suits their personal taste. Their snacking habits are no different, which is why hotel pantries have become so popular.

Compared to vending machines–which can be prone to service problems–a pantry provides far more options, is aesthetically pleasing, and has more potential to add value to your hotel. But where do you find all those products to stock your pantry? Here are four ways to get the items you need.

1. Costco

The obvious first choice, Costco (or any wholesale club) is the go-to entity for purchasing snacks and drinks in bulk. You can find just about everything needed to keep your hotel pantry stocked. The only downside is that it requires staff to leave the hotel to spend time shopping when they should be on site helping guests. 

2. Amazon

Another way to buy your snacks and drinks is through Amazon. The leader in online shopping for virtually anything makes it simple to get the products you want delivered to your hotel. However, there’s a chance certain items won’t be available, forcing you to run out to the store.

3. Boxed

Boxed helps make shopping for bulk items easy. The company was founded in 2013 and has distribution centers across the United States. Shop for wholesale products in a variety of categories, including snacks, beverages, baby items, and more. 

4. Supply Wizards

The above companies are all great choices to use for purchasing your wholesale products in bulk. Supply Wizards, however, was designed with busy hotel managers in mind. It connects you with a local snack and beverage supplier. The platform allows you to order in bulk online and receive the products within 1-2 business days. Also, the technology behind it helps you keep track of sales and inventory in your pantry.


Your Hotel Lobby: To Redesign, Or Not To Redesign?

In hotel management, the burden of making a great first impression falls on the shoulders of your lobby. The responsibility of instantly making guests feel like they’re in the right place is no easy task. These days, the lobby is no longer simply a place where guests just check in or out. Design trends in recent years have completely changed the hotel lobby and its function. It’s now an opportunity to make a real impact on guests’ perceptions as soon as you walk through the door.

For managers who find themselves considering a lobby redesign, just the thought of it can be overwhelming. But with the right approach and planning, understanding the challenges of a hotel lobby redesign and how to overcome them can help reduce the stress involved with the project.

First things first: Do you even need to redesign your lobby?

It’s easy to go chasing current trends simply because everyone else is doing it. But redesigning the lobby is a big project, so it’s important to really consider the reasons for doing it. Does it need a complete makeover? Or will a few small changes suffice? Some questions to get you thinking include:

  1. Is there enough room for guests to gather comfortably?
  2. What kind of food and beverage options are currently available?
  3. Are there enough electrical outlets and wifi?

Before taking any real action, you should first evaluate your current lobby. Evaluating your current lobby design before taking any real action can help prevent any wasted time and money. If your evaluation leads you to deciding to redesign the whole lobby, there are challenges you need to be prepared for.

Hotel Lobby Redesign Challenges & How to Overcome Them

Redesigning your lobby has its challenges, no doubt, but if you prepare yourself and your staff for the undertaking the project should run as smoothly as it possibly can. That’s not to say there won’t be issues sprung upon you at that last minute. That’s a given with any construction project. But understanding the challenges will help you get over those hurdles.

Challenge #1: Budget

Redesigning the lobby can be expensive, so it’s important to establish a budget and stick to it. To help you determine the cost, write down all of the ideas you have for the project. Your wants and needs and expectations. Next, get some rough estimates for the project. What you should strive for is an equal balance between price, quality, and schedule. Just be sure to steer clear of anything done too fast at a cheap price.

Challenge #2: Planning & Strategy

Once you’ve established a budget, you’ll need to layout a plan for how you’re going to manage the project. That means organizing the right group of people and making sure everyone is on the same page, from the hotel owner to management to front-desk staff, and (if you’re part of a hotel management group) your brand and design team.

Challenge #3: Choosing Firm

For hotels not part of a management group that might already have its own design resources, the assistance of an interior design firm is invaluable. Here are some tips to help you choose the right firm for your hotel lobby redesign:

  1. Research a list of firms that specialize in commercial design.
  2. Create a design brief or a request for proposal (RFP).
  3. Discuss the project in detail and decide.

Not using a design firm will save you money, but the quality of the project will be much better having had a professional design your lobby.

Challenge #4: Managing Construction

During the construction phase of your hotel lobby redesign, it’s essential to stay on top of progress and keep in regular communication with the construction team. This is especially true if your hotel will remain open during the project. If necessary, you can have the work done in phases to minimize the disruption it will cause guests.

Key Trends in Hotel Lobby Design

The days of pragmatic hotel lobbies are over. Guests expect the lobby to be an space where they can gather and socialize. This means designing your lobby to be a social hub where dining and recreation take precedence over a business-like atmosphere. Features like plush furniture for comfort and unique food and beverage options, such as a hotel pantry, are in demand.

products organized in hotel pantry

3 Small Changes To Your Hotel Pantry That’ll Make A Big Difference

As grab-n-go concepts for snacks and beverages are highly preferred among guests, more hotel managers are choosing to install a pantry to meet this growing need. But managing a pantry can be quite a challenge. If you find that your hotel pantry is lagging in performance, here are three simple changes you can implement to improve sales and guest performance.

1. Sell What Guests Like

Stocking your hotel pantry with items that you or your staff prefer isn’t serving your guests well. Fill the shelves with items your guests want. This might take some time, especially if you’ve only recently set up a pantry. But talk to your guests. Find out what they like. If you’re using a pantry management platform like Supply Wizards, you can view sales data to help you decide which items sell best.

2. Group Similar Items Together

Ever walked into a retail store and couldn’t easily find something? It’s a rare experience. That’s because everything is organized in a particular way. You won’t find sporting good items mixed in with medicine. When it comes to your pantry, you want guests to easily find what it is they’re in the mood for. Keep sweets with the sweets, savory with savory, and so on.

3. Place New Items Among Top-Sellers

Once you do decide to try selling new products in your hotel pantry, be sure to place them between items that are already selling well. The last thing you want to do is place them in a corner where guests won’t be able to easily find them.

a focus on hotel food and beverage

3 Reasons Why Your Hotel Needs to Focus on Food & Beverage

Pleasing the palate of hotel guests is no easy task. Their expectations and demands are always shifting, keeping hotel managers on their toes at all times. Not keeping pace can spell trouble and result in decreased revenue streams due to lost opportunities. Recent trends in hotel food and beverage indicate positive growth opportunities for hotel managers, so it’s time you develop a strategy.

3 Reasons to Focus on Your Hotel’s Food & Beverage Strategy

1. Grab-n-Go Concept Growth

In a recent report from Avendra, a group purchasing organization for hospitality, the changing climate of hotel food and beverage strategies are highlighted. Included is the growth of the hotel pantry concept, where guests have quick and easy access to snack and beverage products.

The concept is an alternative to vending machines, which can sometimes be troublesome and aren’t as visually appealing as a small, well-designed convenience market. Chip McIntyre, VP of marketing for Avendra, says “limited-service hotels are seeing outsized volume growth from grab-n-go type occasions. This lodging segment is seeing a larger share of the 2 percent industry supply growth.”

2. Higher Standards Expected From Guests

When it comes to a food and beverage strategy for your hotel, guests are setting the standards. To remain competitive, hotel managers need to keep up. What are the new standards?

  • Local options
  • Creative cocktails
  • Housemade meals

These three elements combined create a fully unique experience, one they can’t get from a chain restaurant in a hotel. As Fernando Salazar, SVP of food and beverages at Interstate Hotels & Resorts says, “I hate hotel restaurants. I like restaurants that happen to be in a hotel, that have their own concept.”

For luxury and independent hotels in particular, a unique food and beverage experience is easier to accomplish as they are not beholden to any corporate or brand requirements.

3. Demand for Fresh Foods

It’s nothing new that consumers are increasingly health-conscious about their food. That’s why many of the pantry and market concepts offer fresh products for guests. As the Avendra study reports:

“Just over half of the sample of hotel industry participants are selling fresh/refrigerated foods in convenience or a market format today. We expect this segment to see further growth as about one-third of those who do not offer fresh foods in a market concept are planning to do so within the next year. On average, about 45 percent of hotel sites that offer fresh foods within on-site convenience stores are seeing better-than-expected revenue growth.”

While sweet and savory treats are always nice to have, a lot of travelers want healthier options. The proof is there.

So whether you’re a luxury, select-service, or limited-service hotel, there’s a food and beverage strategy for you to implement.


How to Convince Ownership to Install a Hotel Pantry

You’ve seen the success other hotels have had with installing a pantry in the lobby, and you want to do the same. But first, you need to get the approval of senior management or ownership. How do you approach them about it? You certainly don’t want to bring it up in passing, so here are the steps to take to help you pitch the idea of installing a hotel pantry for your location.

1. Show Them How It Benefits Your Hotel

It’s easy to get caught up in explaining how other hotels are using pantries as a way to provide guests with food and beverages. But what ownership will hear is a “they’re doing it, so we should too” kind of argument. That’s not a concrete enough reason. Installing a pantry is small investment, so to get buy-in from your boss you need to show them how it will help your hotel. Get as specific as possible. Take a look at your current program and figure out the problems, then show the pantry will provide solutions. For example, if your hotel has vending, are the machines constantly breaking down? Are guests losing money in them? These issues can be a hassle for both guests and staff. A hotel pantry can help eliminate these problems. Pantries are also great for:

  • Greater convenience for guests
  • More variety of products
  • Increasing ancillary revenue

Once you pinpoint the specific benefits of a hotel pantry for your hotel, it’ll make it easier to convince ownership to consider having one installed.

2. Explain What’s Needed to Do It

We’ve written before about the basic needs for installing a pantry. This is a good starting point to help you determine what’s involved with getting started. But your management and/or ownership will want to know specific costs. For example, you’ll need to figure out how much space you have to install a pantry, then determine how much hardware (shelves and cabinets) you’ll need. You’ll also have to decide how you will stock the shelves with products. Will you have an employee purchase the product from local stores? Will you use an online ordering platform like Supply Wizards?

3. Prepare Visual Aids

Once you’ve shown them what’s involved with installing a pantry, create a presentation with proper visual aids to help persuade them. Visual aids help enhance a presentation and overcome barriers where communication has failed to express your thoughts. Visuals you could use include:

  • Images of other hotel pantries
  • Cost analysis
  • Research

4. Prepare to Defend Yourself

Managers are skeptical by nature. If they weren’t, they’d end up making a lot of rash decisions that would have a negative impact. They will likely push back on why a hotel pantry is so necessary. Be sure to prepare yourself for their questions. You can do this in two ways: research as much as you can on the growing demand of hotel pantries, and by practicing your presentation with someone else, either a colleague or a friend.

3 Basic Needs For Hotel Pantry Setup

Considering a pantry for your hotel? It’s a wise choice. As guest preferences change and become more focused on convenience, a hotel pantry is an optimal way to provide snacks and beverages that are easily accessible.

But if you currently don’t have a pantry, where do you begin? While it can seem overwhelming to have one installed, it’s really not too difficult. With some planning and an understanding of three basic needs to get started, you can have a hotel pantry up and running sooner than you think.

1. Space

Making sure you have the room to install a pantry in your hotel is the first decision to make. It doesn’t need to be huge, but large enough to accommodate the amount of snacks and beverages you will need for guests. When deciding on where to put the pantry, keep in mind that the goal is to have it in a place that is easily accessible and highly visible to attract guests to it. A pantry does no good if it’s tucked away in a dark corner where guests don’t frequently go. Right in the lobby is typically the best choice. It’s convenient for guests and easy for staff to manage.

2. Establish a Budget

There are two primary costs for managing a hotel pantry: the hardware, such as shelving and cabinets, and the products to sell. The cost for installing the shelving units cabinets will depend on the size of your pantry. Generally speaking, the millwork runs about $2,000-$2,500, while the coolers for drinks cost around $3,000 each. Most pantries will use two coolers, so the total cost will be about $9,000. (That might seem expensive, but it’s a fixed price, and with a well-managed pantry, you should make it back within the first several months.)

As for supplies, you’ll need to establish a monthly budget to purchase them. But how do you know how much product to order? There are two options here: First, you can purchase plenty of items and stock them as you run out while keeping track of your sales. Second, you can use a supply delivery service that helps you gauge how much you’ll need. Keep in mind, however, that you don’t want to limit how much you can sell based on a fixed budget. If you find the pantry consistently selling out of product, go ahead and purchase more if it means more sales…therefore more profits.

3. Designate a Manager

A pantry won’t manage itself. For it to be successful and yield profits that add value to your hotel, you need to take it seriously. Designating someone to oversee its operations is important to ensuring the pantry adds value. Develop a system to help keep track of sales and replenish empty shelves when necessary. The worst thing for a hotel pantry is empty shelves. It doesn’t look good and can become an inconvenience for guests.

With these strategies in mind, you’ll be off to a successful start when installing your hotel pantry.

Hotel Pantry Installation

7 Signs You Should Invest in a Hotel Pantry

Should I have a hotel pantry installed? Many hotel managers ask themselves this question as they see many of their colleagues and competitors embrace the pantry system of providing snacks, beverages, and sundry items for guests. If you find yourself asking the same question, below are seven signs that will help guide you in the right direction.


7 Signs That It’s Time to Invest in a Hotel Pantry


1. You’re searching for ways to improve the guest experience

As the hotel and hospitality industry becomes more and more competitive, managers and executives alike need to come up with ways to enhance the guest experience. Doing so leads to loyalty, which leads to referrals, which eventually leads to more revenue. There’s no all-encompassing solution to doing this. Rather, it’s done through multiple channels, and a hotel pantry is one of them. By having wholesale products delivered to you and stocking them on shelves, it makes it easier for guests to grab a quick snack or beverage.

2. You’re trying to increase hotel revenue

It’s in every hotel manager’s best interest to find ways to generate more revenue. A pantry is a great way to increase profit. When managed and merchandised correctly, guests will purchase more product out of impulse. This is a common retail strategy used in all industries. Each of these purchases add up over time and can help increase revenue. The Supply Wizards platform is designed to get you the wholesale items you want, delivered right to your location, and help manage inventory to maximize sales.

3. Constant issues with vending machines

How many times have guests come to you about a vending machine stealing their money? Dispensing the wrong drink? Just not working in general? Probably more than you care to count. Vending machines might still have their place in the world, just not in your hotel lobby. In other words, vending machines are out. A hotel pantry helps eliminate most, if not all, of those problems. Sure, you’ll still need a cooler for drinks, or a freezer for frozen products like pizza or ice cream. But what you won’t have is a steady flow of complaints. Not when the items guests want are easy to obtain.

4. You recognize changes in consumer nature

Today’s consumer is all about personalization and convenience. Services like Amazon, Netflix, and Uber have set the bar pretty high for many businesses, including hotels. These companies and their business models have tapped into every consumer’s desire to get what they want when they want it, and with as little hassle as possible. A hotel pantry offers them a different experience altogether, one that provides ultimate convenience.

5. Guests are frequently asking for sundry items

It happens to us all: we rush out of the house to the airport, only to arrive at your destination and realize you forgot your razorblades, deodorant, medicine for a headache…or increasingly likely these days, a phone charger. How many times have guests asked for these items? There’s plenty of untapped potential in generating a nice profit by supplying these products.

6. It’s time to redesign the lobby

If you’re looking for a way to spruce up your hotel, a pantry is a surefire way to enhance the look of the lobby. When done right, the pantry can have similar qualities to an amazing kitchen with gorgeous marble countertops and an island. And the goal of every hotel should be to provide a place of comfort for guests, a home away from home.

7. You have a sneaky suspicion that you’re the only hotel without a pantry

If it feels like every other hotel has a pantry, it’s probably because many do. More and more hotels are embracing the pantry system, and it’s time for you to get on board, too! Get all the wholesale snacks, beverages, and sundry products delivered to your hotel with Supply Wizards.

5 Tips for Creating a Planogram for Your Hotel Pantry

With hotel pantries increasing in popularity (and for good reason), it’s fallen on the shoulders of hotel managers to become merchandising experts in order to get the most out of the pantry. The right tools and knowledge can help make managing the pantry easier. One such tool is a planogram. This visual diagram helps you understand where to place certain items on the shelves to maximize revenue and make it easier for guests to find the product they’re looking for. But how do you create a one? Perhaps more importantly, what exactly is a planogram?

What is a planogram?

A planogram is a diagram of how items should be displayed on a shelf in a retail store. The purpose is for management to plan correctly, not just throw things up on the shelves. It might appear to you that retailers just stack the shelves without thinking, but it’s quite the opposite: products are very strategically shelved. The purpose is to help maximize purchases such as impulse buys. Other purposes include:

  • inventory control
  • related product positioning
  • visual appeal

In other words, there’s a lot of planning that goes into placing items on shelves.

While you’re not a retail professional, understanding and planning in this way can help you manage your hotel pantry better.

5 Tips to Help You Create a Planogram for Your Hotel Pantry

1. Use the correct product assortment.

If you’re just beginning with a hotel pantry, you might not have any history of what type of products guests like. A good place to start would be the vending machines if your property had them before. Try thinking back to what items sold the most? If you can’t recall or didn’t have vending at your hotel, start with these categories:

  • Beverages–sodas, juices, energy drinks, and water will suffice.
  • Snacks–chips, candy, granola bars, fruit cups
  • Sundries–pain relievers, bandaids, shaving items, toothbrushes, phone chargers
  • Frozen–pizzas, ice creams, tv dinners

Stick with the more popular flavors and brands to begin with. If you eventually get many requests for different or specific items, make a change. Also be sure to group items that are alike when creating your planogram. For example, keep sweets grouped together and salty items separate. You want to make it easy for guests to find what they’re in the mood for, not searching all around which can make them leave without purchasing anything.

2. Conduct research to gain more insight.

Once your pantry is established, conduct your own research to see what sort of items guests want or expect. One way you can do this is through a survey. If your hotel management software already has the capability to create a survey for guests, add a section for them to review the pantry. This way you can target guests’ desires better, increasing chances of them purchasing an item and therefore increasing revenue.

3. Create reports.

Creating a planogram isn’t just about creating a pretty picture of your pantry. It’s to help you get the most out of it. To do that, you’ll want to compare the way your current setup is to the changes you plan to make. Once changes have been made, take note of how guests use the store. Is it any different than before? How so? Are there adjustments to make to the planogram? These analytics give you the insight into how to manage your pantry better.

4. Make sure staff is in the loop.

It’s important to be consistent. If you’re not always going to be the person stocking the shelves, make sure employees who help with the pantry understand the planogram and overall strategy. A lack of consistency can result in missed opportunities and reflect negatively on the pantry.

5. Start simple.

There’s no need to make it overly complicated at first. Doing so can lead to issues down the road and cause you to burn out over it, which will result in a poorly managed pantry. As you learn more about managing your new hotel pantry, you’ll gain the confidence and knowledge to make bigger decisions that you previously thought were above your expertise.

Hospitality Trends 2018

8 Hotel Trends to Watch in 2018

We’re so fickle. Just when we settle into a routine of any sort, something new comes along and we all jump on it. Most times it’s just a fad, but every now and then a trend comes along that sticks.

The hotel industry is no different.

Consumer nature changes so frequently that it almost seems impossible to keep up. So what’s trending in hospitality now that will be more than a temporary fad, and be seen as progress for the industry? Here are eight trends to consider this year to help increase reservations and revenue.

8 Trends for the Hotel Industry in 2018

1. Mobile Payments

Look, it’s 2018. The iPhone has been around for an entire decade now. There’s really no need to go into detail about why mobile payments are a big deal. But what is important to note in respect to the use of mobile for your hotel goes beyond just making a payment.

Millennials, who now make up a huge demographic of travelers, expect brands to offer a full-range of benefits via mobile, beginning with their initial research. Maintaining a continuous relationship even after they make their purchase is essential to help convince them to choose your brand again. In other words, your hotel should offer mobile support with booking, on-property services, and continue to delight guests after their stay.

2. Food & Beverage

A strong food and beverage strategy for your hotel can bring in $16k in profit per day, so it’s a category hotel managers would be remiss to ignore.

In 2018, there will be a focus on simplicity and healthier food options from locally sourced suppliers, a trend likely to bring back some revenue to hotel restaurants. Additionally, retail will be a focus for many hotel brands. Pantry supplies are easier to source as a result of new pantry management services that help keep track of sales, inventory, and revenue.

3. Data & Analytics

Tired of hearing the term ‘big data’ yet? Well, it’s going to be here a while, and for good reason. Collecting information from your guests provides you with the opportunity to understand them better, which then affords you the ability to provide products and services specific to their desires.

4. Personalized Experiences

All that data you collected? That’ll help you offer a better overall experience for guests. You’re not just selling a service, in 2018 you’re selling a relationship. You need to use the data you’ve collected from guests to help you offer services that speak to them individually. Did John watch an action movie during his stay? Did Jane order a salad from room service? You can use this information to market to them even after they’ve left, and to  offer them similar experiences when they return.

5. Local Experiences

Many travelers will seek to experience where they are as ‘a local.’ That means hotels need to be knowledgeable about the best local entertainment, restaurants, or other cultural centers that are unique to that area. Tourist sites will still be popular, but guests are longing for those unique experiences that they can only get in your town or city. Provide them with all the local spots to hang out.

6. Cloud-Based Technology

Upgrading to a cloud-based property management system (PMS) makes it easier to manage everything. As Hotelogix explains: “Using a cloud-based property management system allows you to run your hotel operations, manage reservations, allot room bookings and do much more from a single dashboard. It’s easy to check data, assign duties, manage folios, run your additional Point of Sale (POS) counters and reduce time spent on manual updates.”

7. Smart Rooms

In an effort to make the guest experience as convenient as possible, many hotel brands are in various stages of making rooms more technologically advanced. Dimming the lights, turning on the TV, adjusting the temperature, and perhaps other abilities are options that will soon available to guests through their phones. Hilton uses an app for these kinds of adjustments, and Marriott is developing voice-activated technology.

8. Online Reputation Management

Consumers search for reviews online before purchasing virtually any product or service. Hotel managers need to focus on managing how their hotel is being reviewed and talked about online. Many hoteliers are using tools specifically designed to help streamline this management process. Hubspot, Salesforce, and Infusionsoft are just some of the tools out there that can help manage your relationships with your guests.

Questions about hotel pantry

10 Questions to Ask Before Signing Up for a Hotel Pantry Supplier

As more and more hotels make the transition to using pantries instead of vending machines as a way to provide guests with snacks and other items, it’s becoming more clear that a strategic approach to managing the pantry is essential for its success. Without a good plan in place, hotel managers run the risk of wasting time and money. That’s why a reliable wholesale snack supplier is important.

Before signing up for a supply delivery service, you need to do proper research. The last thing you want is to jump into something only to realize it was a bad decision. Here are ten questions to ask your prospective pantry supply service before signing up for their program.

10 Questions to Ask Before Signing Up for a Hotel Pantry Delivery Service

1. How long does delivery take?

It’s be great to have a set schedule for deliveries of snacks and other supplies, but that’s just not feasible for hotels. There’s really no set standard for how many guests will stay each week. If a high school sports team stops by for the night and ransacks your pantry, will you have to wait a full week (or more) for your next delivery? A supplier that can deliver in 24-48 hours is ideal.

2. Do they use software to manage inventory?

Keeping track of sales and easily placing new orders on paper is time-consuming and the antithesis to proper pantry management. When choosing a supplier of wholesale goods for your pantry, make sure they offer an easy-to-use platform to place orders and track sales.

3. Does the software require integration with a property management system (PMS)?

The software doesn’t necessarily have to integrate into your PMS, but it should be flexible enough that it can if needed.

4. What is the extent of reporting?

A good pantry management service should be able to track all aspects of your pantry. At the property level, managers should be able to see total revenue, total cost, shrinkage, profitability, and item-level sales that show top-/least-selling products. For a national plan, corporate should have access to national, regional, and local drill-down analytics.

5. Can they provide a demo?

As with any software application, a demo provides optimal insight into the service and will show you how robust the service is.

6. How are orders billed?

Will it be monthly? Per order? Be sure to find out how the supplier will send you invoices for purchasing product.

7. What margins can they produce?

Your pantry is a source of extra revenue for your hotel, so you want to be sure you’re not just breaking even on the items you’re selling…or worse, losing money. A good pantry management service will be able to produce margins of up to 50%, depending on the item.

8. How do they reduce shrinkage?

Good pantry management software should allow managers to track inventory and shrinkage. This will give both the manager and the supplier the information they need to determine what steps should be taken to prevent shrinkage. Such steps could include security cameras or having staff more present in the area of where the pantry is located.

9. Does the supplier provide any market research?

A successful pantry is one that is managed using the latest information on trends and best practices. Ask the supplier what they can do to help make your pantry more successful. Find out if they provide expert merchandising and use planograms.

10. Ask for References

As always, find out what others think of the supplier’s services. Ask at least two or three customers so you can be confident in your decision to sign up with the supplier or not.

Healthy Items to Keep in Your Hotel Pantry

Hotel Pantry Installation

People are eating healthier these days, and not just because it’s the new year. According to this study, people from all over the world have become more conscious about their eating habits, trying to make better and healthier choices with their food. Here are some key facts from the research:

  • 49% of people who participated in the study believe they’re overweight, and 50% are trying to lose weight
  • people are more likely than ever to seek fresh, natural, or minimally processed foods
  • millennials are more likely to pay higher prices for healthier foods
  • healthy categories are growing faster than indulgent ones

This is not to say people have stopped eating sweet and salty snacks like chips and candy bars all together. But it’s a trend that the food and beverage industry has noticed and will have to take into account to keep up with consumer demands.

So what does it have to do with your hotel? It’s important to take note of these trends when purchasing wholesale snacks for your hotel pantry. As a manager, your focus is always on accommodating guests. So if they want healthier choices from the pantry, give them some.

10 Items to Stock in Your Hotel Pantry for Health-Conscious Guests

1. Hormel Chili Cups

The meat in chili is a good source of protein, and the beans provide iron. Combined with low carbs, this is a great alternative meal for guests.

2. Tuna Kit

Tuna fish, in addition to being high in protein, contains several essential vitamins and minerals to keep guests going.

3. Lean Cuisines

Lean Cuisine is great for those trying to keep calories to a minimum.

4. Oatmeal

Oatmeal is another great food that provides plenty of essential vitamins and minerals, including fiber.

5. Granola Bars

A great alternative to a candy bar, granola bars like those from Nature Valley provide a good source of fiber and protein.

6. Nuts

One of the best heart-healthy snacks, nuts are high in protein and provide unsaturated fats.

7. Fig Newtons

Fig Newtons contain real fruit and are high in fiber.

8. Pretzels

For guests in the mood for some chips but don’t want the fat content they come with, offer them some pretzels. They’re low in fat and tasty!

9. Baked Lay’s Chips

But if you do provide chips, include the line of Baked Lay’s from Frito Lay. They have up to 80% less fat than regular potato chips.

10. Dole Fruit Cups

Dole fruit cups are low in calories and contain less sugar than traditional fruit cups.

Guests recognize that they won’t have access to all the fresh foods available to them in their own homes, but these items make it easier for them to keep up with their health and fitness goals while traveling.

Why Your Hotel Pantry Should Be A Priority

make managing hotel pantry a priority

Of the many challenges hotel managers face, one of the most difficult tasks is keeping up with the ever-changing expectations of guests. Instant gratification is (and has been) in high demand across all industries. Consumers want what they want when they want it, and services like Uber, Amazon Prime, and others have set the bar pretty high.

Hotel guests are no different.

In fact, a recent study shows that 61% of business travelers want free WiFi access. In other words, they don’t just want access to information…they want it now!

How does this translate to hotel pantry management?

In two ways: convenience and profits.


While vending machines are still a viable option for many locations, your hotel pantry provides these bleary eyed travelers with more variety and ultimate convenience. Think about it, how many times have you had money stolen from you by a vending machine? A pantry eliminates that hassle. After traveling all day and (sometimes) being away from family, guests can simply walk into the market, pick an item or two, and pay for it just as they would in a convenience store. This added convenience leads to more sales.


A hotel pantry can be an excellent source of revenue, but it has to be managed well. It has to be a priority. That means pricing items effectively, merchandising, and keeping the pantry well-stocked and clean. An attractive pantry filled with guests’ favorite snacks and treats will influence impulse purchases, which will lead to higher profits.

4 Tips to Help Reduce Theft from Your Hotel Pantry

Preventing theft from hotel pantry

One aspect of managing a hotel pantry that initially gets overlooked is theft. Shrinkage from your pantry is unavoidable, whether it’s due to stealing or reduced prices for employees. So it’s important to take the proper measures to prevent guests and employees from stealing or abusing the pantry. Here are four tips to help reduce theft from your pantry.

1. Surveillance Cameras

Some suppliers will have security cameras installed to monitor the pantry. If you don’t work with a supplier that can install cameras, we suggest investing in them. While it might seem like another expense, the money you make (and save) from the pantry will quickly cover the costs.

2. Maintain Physical Presence

Managing a hotel can be like juggling  glass bottles while running full speed across a balance beam. It gets hectic. But being able to maintain a physical presence near and around your pantry as much as possible will help deter would-be thieves.

3. Inventory Monitoring System

Knowing is half the battle. Without having a firm understanding of what your pantry inventory looks like at any given time, it’s much more difficult to keep up with shrinkage. Having a solid pantry management system to keep track of inventory that you have can help reduce theft and shrinkage. If you know certain items are likely to disappear, you can limit the amount of product you put on the shelves.

4. Monitor Employee Use

It’s well-known in loss prevention circles that employees steal more than customers. Knowing this, it’s incumbent on managers to make sure employees understand that the pantry is–first and foremost–a convenience for guests. It’s not a break room. Some managers choose to not let employees use the pantry at all, while others decide to let them purchase items at a reduced price. Whatever your approach, stick to it and monitor employee use of the pantry.

How to Set Pricing for Items in Your Hotel Pantry

Hotel pantry pricingOne of the most difficult aspects of managing a hotel pantry is determining the prices for the items. It’s an exciting yet challenging element to successful market management. Price the products too low and you run the risk of losing money. Price them too high and you might scare off guests from purchasing anything, which also leads to losing money.

If you’re in this predicament, don’t worry: you’re not alone. Many hotel managers struggle with pricing products in their pantry, because–after all–they’re hotel managers, not retail professionals. So what do you do?

Ultimately, it comes down to perspective. It’s essential that you view the pantry as a both a convenience for guests and a way for your hotel to make an extra profit. Why put in all the time and effort in managing the pantry if you don’t stand to benefit from it?

Determine Your Profit Margin

Before you price an item, you need to understand two important factors: your guests and the labor involved.

If you’re charging $300/per night, your guests won’t be as price-conscious as guests of a low-budget hotel where rooms go for $59/night. Likewise, if you’re managing an economy hotel, guests will be less likely to buy items that are marked up 50% or more.

Once you understand your guests’ pricing expectations, think about the labor you put into managing your market. Even when using a hotel pantry management program like Supply Wizards, there’s still work involved like stocking the shelves and keeping it clean and organized. You should earn revenue from that work.

Use a Pricing Formula

Now that you know what your profit margin will be, you can use this simple formula to determine the price:

Price = [(Cost of item) ÷ (100 – Markup Percentage)] x 100

So for example, let’s say you wanted to price a candy bar that costs you $1.00 at a 40% markup. Here’s how you would calculate it:

Retail Price = [(1.00) ÷ (100 – 40)] x 100

Retail Price = [(1.00 ÷ 60)] x 100 = $1.67

It might seem like a lot to manage a hotel pantry. To a certain extent, it is. But with the right understanding and perspective, the market can be a great amenity for your hotel. Guests like the convenience of them, resulting in more sales and extra profit for you.

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.