Hotel self-service buffets could become ‘a thing of the past’ - here’s why

Wednesday, 13th May 2020, 3:31 pm
Updated Wednesday, 13th May 2020, 3:31 pm
The Covid-19 pandemic has seen the tourism industry in both the UK and overseas grind to a halt over the past couple of months, with owners of hotels, bars and restaurants now looking at safe ways to reopen businesses as restrictions begin to ease (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Covid-19 pandemic has seen the tourism industry in both the UK and overseas grind to a halt over the past couple of months, with owners of hotels, bars and restaurants now looking at safe ways to reopen businesses as restrictions begin to ease.

But when it becomes safe to travel abroad to a sunny destination, staying in an all-inclusive hotel could be markedly different in one area - that of the previously well-established self-service buffet.

Rethinking self-service buffets

Travel group TUI recently published detailed plans for how it will run its hotels after coronavirus travel restrictions are lifted. These plans include limits on popular self-service buffets, reducing all-you-can eat buffets “to a minimum”.

The company said, “Self-service offers such as buffets will be reduced to a minimum.

“Wherever possible, food and beverages will be served to guests by staff wearing protective masks.”

Alongside this, tables in restaurants will operate at a “significantly” reduced capacity with longer hours in order to spread guest usage and will “only be cleaned when guests have vacated them”.

‘The traditional buffet breakfast is likely to become a thing of the past’

Russell Kett, chair of consultancy at HVS London, explains that hotel operators will be re-entering a “different market” than before, and it’s therefore important for them to operate their business in a way that makes both customers and staff feel “comfortable, confident and protected".

"Hoteliers will need to rethink almost every part of their business, focusing on all areas that are accessed by guests as well as considering the safety and protection of staff,” Mr Kett added.

“The traditional buffet breakfast is likely to become a thing of the past – at least for the time being.”