The Coronavirus crisis could act as a catalyst for hotels to host so-called dark kitchens within their premises for guests that do not want traditional room service once restaurants and cafes reopen later this year, it has been suggested.

With prolonged social distancing measures expected to be announced in the coming weeks, the sector will have to consider a new approach towards dining experiences. According to EP Business in Hospitality, hotel operators may pivot towards delivered-in models or dark kitchens as they respond to the ongoing crisis. 

“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,” says Chris Sheppardson, CEO at EP Business in Hospitality. 

“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.”

The idea of delivered-in food from suppliers such as Deliveroo and Just Eat replacing hotel room service could be the model that many establishments pivot towards. Similarly, the concept of hotels having dark kitchens within their premises for delivered-in services to operate from has been suggested on many occasions prior to the crisis and may now be the answer that many hotels are looking for. 

Sheppardson said hoteliers would likely be evaluating their F&B operations as they come to terms with the dramatic change in hospitality landscape since 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,” Sheppardson adds. “In terms of the hotels sector, many sit almost between these two schools and believe that the sector will return to some kind of normality as of Q2 in 2021.