McDonald's Corp. Plans to Test Room Service at Budget Hotels

By McDowell, Edwin | THE JOURNAL RECORD, June 25, 1994 | Go to article overview

McDonald's Corp. Plans to Test Room Service at Budget Hotels


McDowell, Edwin, THE JOURNAL RECORD


In a test that could begin as early as next week, McDonald's will begin delivering food to guest rooms at about 40 budget hotels in 20 cities across the country.

The McDonald's Corp. will conduct the test with Hospitality Franchise Systems Inc., which operates the Days Inn, Ramada, Howard Johnson, Park Inn, and Super 8 hotel chains. If the companies are happy with the results, fast food a la McDonald's could become a fixture at most of Hospitality's 3,850 hotels and motels in the United States.

While home delivery of pizza is part of American culture and is becoming common at hotels and motels, this will mark the first hotel delivery service _ except for a handful of local agreements _ by McDonald's. The company recently concluded a seven-month test of home delivery from about 80 restaurants in the Tidewater area of Virginia and is now evaluating the results.

Richard Smith, executive vice president for operations at Hospitality Franchise Systems, said, "It is a landmark agreement, with the biggest fast-food company and the biggest hotel company joining forces." Hospitality's chains have a total of 395,000 rooms, the bulk of them in the United States.

While careful to stress the experimental nature of the program, which is expected to begin by the end of this month and be completed within a year, Smith added that neither company would undertake such tests "unless we think they have a good chance of success."

Asked about its test program, a spokeswoman for McDonald's said only: "We have an agreement to test the delivery of McDonald's food and beverages to guests who will be staying in neighboring properties. Tests will be conducted in about 20 locations and details are still in development."

Still to be worked out are the exact test sites, the menu and the maximum delivery time and distance to insure that the food arrives under conditions acceptable to both companies. …

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