"FanFood is the last missing puzzle piece in our operation.” Interview with SLS Brickell Hotel
Summer months are usually when the hotel industry is booming, but with people traveling less now because of the pandemic, hotel occupancy in the U.S. is down. According to Statista, June occupancy rates were just 42.2 percent, a 31.3 percent decline from last year.
This has not stopped Sami Kohen, who oversees F&B operations at the SLS Brickell and SLS Lux hotels in downtown Miami, from coming up with a long-term solution to both safely reopen and increase the profitability of their food services.
“We were looking for a solution where we could create a seamless ordering system, payment system, and really reduce the time we spent on the phone and processing all those payments,” Kohen, the Food & Beverage Complex Director for sbe, said.
SLS Brickell has partnered with FanFood to do just that, servicing both hotel guests and residents of the 450 condominiums on the property. Kohen said FanFood offers “broader reachability” for residents because it “eliminates most of the communication, speeds up the service and the payment process during this time.”
So far, SLS Brickell has rolled out the app in all of its hotel rooms for in-room dining, poolside service and express pick-up, and their site includes menu options from the hotel’s affiliated restaurants. Guests can scan QR codes and order directly from their phones, without even downloading any apps, making for an enjoyable customer user experience.
Kohen said SLS Brickell is still in the development stage with FanFood, as he continues to update photos to the menus on their site and make improvements to its functionality within the hotel.
The hospitality industry is embracing mobile ordering because the pandemic has necessitated contactless ordering and cashless payment. In Chicago, FanFood is bringing food trucks straight to residential and corporate buildings. In Dubai, The Dubai Mall uses FanFood for curbside pick-up from their 50 restaurants. As mobile ordering becomes the expectation for consumers, mobile ordering in the restaurant industry is set to make up 11 percent of all orders and 31 percent of U.S. consumers say they use a third-party delivery service at least twice a week.
“We will continue to work and find easier ways with FanFood down the road to bring more customer, user-friendly operations,” Kohen said.
The sbe network includes seven hotels in the South Beach area, and according to Kohen, the others are evaluating the FanFood app for their own usage. For SLS Brickell, Kohen believes FanFood is “the last missing puzzle piece” in their operation.