As the virtual restaurant ecosystem expands, there’s no reason why the same operations model could not work for the hotel dining industry too. That’s the thought process behind Butler Hospitality, the growing technology platform that turns hotel kitchens into ghost kitchen commissaries delivering room service to nearby restaurants.
Currently, Butler owns five different restaurant concepts that they staff and operate out of hotel restaurant kitchens including Standard by Butler (a casual bar and grill serving three meals a day), Prime by Butler (an upscale American brasserie) and Super Franc (a Tuscan steakhouse). Hotels can choose which concepts to have available to their guests based on clientele and vibe.
“What we like to tell our hotel partners is, ‘you guys put heads and beds, and we'll do everything else by powering the experience and connecting guests to their needs around the property,” founder/CEO Tim Gjonbalic said. “[…] we saw this ability to really build an ecosystem for hotels with the ability to get smarter around the guest journey and really leverage that technology.”
Butler announced a $35 million round of series B funding in October and is now available in 12 regional markets around the country (including New York, New Jersey, Chicago, Miami, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C.) with plans to use this latest round of funding to add Boston, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh to its network of virtual room service restaurants. Butler will also soon be adding new restaurant concepts through the winter with plans for growth in partnership with major hotel brands like Hilton, Marriott, Hyatt and IHG.
Butler works by integrating its omnichannel software into the hotel experience. Currently there is no guest-facing app, but guests can access Butler to order room service (ahead of time or on the fly) in multiple ways: they can book food experiences via the hotel welcome email when they book a room, they can order food/drink from the front desk (or digitized front desk), in the elevators, and from the hotel room TV or Butler’s website.
On the hotel operator end, employees have access to a portal where they can pull guest receipts and data and bundle catering offerings and create guest packages.
“The ability to be fully vertically integrated and able to not only be the ordering platform and but also the management platform as an end-to-end solution has been a major selling point and probably why we’re a leader in hospitality platforms,” Gjonbalic said.
Butler is growing 20% month-over-month and has has plans to service 250,000 rooms in 2022.
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