How to Turn a Challenging Pantry Program Into a Retail Success
By Janine Roberts Director of Sales and Marketing, Tradavo | October 24, 2010
Over the past 4 years at Tradavo, I have spoken with thousands of General Managers to analyze the retail efforts of the hotel pantry or gift shop: the challenges they face, the approaches they take to increase their revenue, and what they wish they knew when it comes to managing a retail effort. The consensus that I have encountered is that most hotel managers have little to no retail background and find the pantry a daunting task to manage much less improve.
I have also worked with numerous brands, ownership groups, and management companies to help them overhaul their pantry programs, and the overall consensus at the corporate level is: "We know there is an opportunity to increase revenue and guest satisfaction through our retail operations, but we don't know how to develop and sustain a profitable retail effort that our GMs can manage."
Often I find there is a tremendous disconnect between what the corporate level would like to see from their pantry programs and what the GM's are capable of doing given their lack of retail expertise and the limited time they have to invest in such a small portion of their operations. This article addresses issues both sides face in the hopes that, with some minor improvements, both sides can minimize the frustrations involved and maximize the profits that are easily achievable when a retail effort is managed successfully.
Challenge #1 – A Lack of Direction
The majority of national pantry programs like Marriott's "The Market" and Hilton's "Pavilion Pantry" have a well thought out program including what it should look like in the areas of fixtures, assortment, margins, preferred vendors, and merchandising.