Secrets Of A Hotel, From Room Service To Hotel Supplies

There’s nothing like checking into a clean, tidy, air conditioned hotel room, complete with quality bouncy mattress, crisp white sheets and every TV station known to man. A club sandwich is but a phone call away and as many cold beers as you want linger in the mini bar awaiting your attention, along with all the usual hotel supplies you would expect. But the often seamless hotel experience requires a great deal of work behind the scenes to make your break a memorable one. So who exactly makes your hotel tick?

The reality of a hotel’s underbelly can be very different from what you experience when you check in. The most chaotic place is often the kitchen, where the chef, 2nd chef or kitchen assistant takes in all the food related hotel supplies before beginning preparation of breakfast, lunch and dinner. The mornings can be very busy, as everything that can be prepared, usually is. Cakes, vegetables and various other foods are baked, sliced, chopped and diced.

The lowliest job of all falls to the Pot Washer, sometimes called the Plongeur, or less kindly referred to as the Dish Pig. Often awarded the muckiest jobs, such as refuse removal and cleaning the multitude of surfaces found in a hotel kitchen, their key task is to scrub the chef’s burnt on masterpieces found on various pots, pans and dishes.

If the chef hasn’t paid the Pot Washer to do his job, he will wake up early and start preparing breakfast and lunch. Encouraged by a myriad TV chefs, real chefs might sometimes consider themselves auteurs of the food industry, frequently using a selection of infamous small words in reference to waiters, hotel managers, hotel supplies personnel, guests – and of course the humble pot washer.

The hotel manager is the one invariably found haggling with the chef over hotel supplies – usually cost-related. The chef wants saffron, but the manager thinks vanilla extract is just fine. The manager is involved with menu creation, room cleaning, bar management – and indeed every facet of the hotel environment, delegating to his or her minions.

Waiters and receptionists are the front-line staff, dealing with customer complaints and problems of all kinds. Receptionists keep their smile in place and use their most polite tones, when confronted with tales of noisy guests, hairy plug-holes, soup-drowned flies and depleted hotel supplies.

Careful to keep their thumbs out of all food-stuffs the first trick learned by a waiter is the ability to carry several courses on each arm. This balletic display, often whilst under chef-exerted pressure, is a classic sight in any hotel experience.

Last but certainly not least, the hotel’s resident agony aunt – or bar person – is often the most popular of hotel workers, and can often be seen secreting away the odd tip in their back pocket. His or her omnipresence behind the bar makes listening a crucial skill to have. Perhaps more important than the ability to pull the perfect pint. Many a beer loosened tongue has delivered the most closely guarded secret – this is particularly true in hotel bars because they don’t tend to shut until the final guest has retreated to his or her comfy room.

So the next time you call for a midnight sarnie, or criticise the chef’s Creme Broule – just remember all the work that goes in to your unforgettable hotel experience.

Shaun Parker is a travel specialist with many years of experience in the tourism industry. Find out more about hotel supplies at

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