Minibar companies and F&B experts tell Hotelier what the future holds for minibars, and what they consider when designing and choosing the perfect in-room refrigeration solutions to meet guests’ changing needs
What are the main considerations when designing, or choosing, minibars?
Reiner Kaltenbach, general manager, Hartmann Tresore Middle East: Our main consideration when designing a minibar is to create a classic, yet modern, design that harmonises into an interior setting with ease. A hotelier does not want to arrange the room around the minibar – the minibar has to fit into the room!
Göran Anninger, regional director, Dometic AB Middle East and North Africa: Dometic is a pioneer company as regards noiseless absorption minibar technology. The starting point was in the late 1960s when the first noiseless absorption minibars were launched.
Since then focus has changed very much to designing energy reduced absorption technology. With every new generation of Dometic minibars we have offered an energy reduction potential between 15 to 40%.
Paolo D’Alfonso, sales manager MEA & South Europe, Indel B: When we start designing new products we want something high quality, nice to see and easy to use, but that’s green.
Manit Narang, vice president, Middle East, Africa and India, VingCard Elsafe: We focus on the visibility of the products and optimal capacity, as well as low energy consumption, long-lasting and noise-free.
Sophie Longevialle, marketing director, Bartech EMEA: Our internal R&D department is dedicated to product enhancement both in terms of design and technology. This includes customising our minibars according to hotels’ specific requests.
For example, while our standard minibars come with black foam-core door panels, we can provide door finishes in any wood colour, or design any type of cabinet on request. Our minibars alternatively come with classic, smoked or frosted glass doors.
Michael Chevalier, executive assistant manager F&B, The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh: We choose minibars that are compact and fit the room design. We ask ‘Does it make inventory easy?’, as well as look at low power usage and how much outside heat it produces.
Michael Krevet, key account manager for Messerschmitt regional office, Dubai: I would say 90% of the hotels don’t care too much about the design, as the minibar is always built into furniture. No one has ever asked us for a specific design – as a guest, you can’t see it, as it is built into the furniture, so the aesthetics don’t really matter.
Heinz Giering, director of F&B, Grand Millennium Al Wahda: Durability coupled with a little style — we all know the typical brown mini bars. I would like to make the mini bar a proper revenue generating point by making it stylish and inviting, rather than a point of opportunity.
Ginu George Sam, in-room dining manager, Fairmont Bab Al Bahr: One of the main things for us is that we want no noise from the mini-bar, and a good internal design. The locking facilities in the minibar are also quite important, as well as the ease of getting spare parts.
What are your main challenges in the designing stage?
Göran Anninger: We are known as a highly innovative company owning various patents on our products. At the same time we have to take into consideration the budgets which are available to start a refurb or a new build project. In many cases our customers are under serious budget pressure and we need to be able to offer outstanding products matching their budgets.
Manit Narang: Our main challenge is to design a product which is able to combine with the various hotels’ interior designs.
Sophie Longevialle: Automatic minibars represent our core market. By providing flexible designs, we also need to make sure that the technology in our system is preserved and our automatic minibars will run properly. We also need to ensure proper ventilation.
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