Hotel Online  Special Report


Nobody Asked Me, But….
By Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC
February 21, 2006

1.  In the New York Times (January 31, 2006 “Détente in the Hotel Bed Wars”) columnist Christopher Elliott writes, “The hotel “bed wars” are over.  But are business travelers the winners?”  Some believe that the bed wars have gone too far.  Professor Harley R. Myler from Lamar University, Beaumont, TX said when he checked into the Marriott University Park in Tucson, “There were several pillows and bedspreads.  I didn’t know what they were for… I would much prefer that they offered free high-speed internet”.

Interestingly, Sue A. Brush, Westin’s senior vice president said of the Heavenly Bed, “We wanted to differentiate ourselves from the competition.  It wasn’t anything that came through in the research.” recently wrote me, 

“I just finished reading your 12/2005 article and noted your reference to “Amenities Rush.”  As a hospitality loss control practitioner (and member of the American Hotel & Lodging Association’s Loss Prevention Committee), one area of “rush” that concerns me is the proliferation of new, high-power, super beds with numerous duvets, sheets, comforters, and pillows.

In the old (1990’s) days, a typical king single had a top and bottom sheet, two pillows, a blanket, and a bedspread or comforter.  The room cleaning standard for Room Attendants was in the neighborhood of 18 rooms per day.  Now, a king may have as many as three sheets, 8-10 pillows and heavy duvets have replaced the old spreads.  Guess what?  The standard for room cleaning is still around 18 per day.

We have an aging workforce, unions banging on the industry’s doors and yet we continue to shoot ourselves in the foot.”

2.  What about trans fats and hotel food?  In January 2006, a new law requires manufacturers to list on food labels how much trans fat their products contain.  The New York Times (2/5/06) reports, “But for the hospitality industry, the zero-trans fat approach is just another dietary fad played out at hotels, from organic-only produce to vegan options like the bento box lunch in Soleil at the Ritz-Carlton in Palm Beach, Florida.”  Other hotels are making more serious menu adjustments to provide food free of trans fats:
  • The Halekulani Hotel in Honolulu has eliminated trans fatty acids from all of its menu items
  • The Burger Joint at Le Parker Meridian in New York started using trans-fat-free oil about four months ago to cook its fries.
  • Loews Hotels introduced low-carb entrees about five years ago.  The chain has since added a menu of cocktails low in carbohydrates, including a martini featuring green tea that has only 2.5 grams of carbs.
  • In October, Michael’s Cookies, a cookie dough maker that supplies ready-to-bake cookies to many Hyatt and Marriott kitchens, went trans-fat free, too.
3.  Did you read about the ongoing dispute between Burger King and the independent National Franchisee Association of Burger King? NFA represents more than 80% of the franchised restaurants in the system and almost 90% of individual Burger King franchisees.  As columnist Janet Sparks (Franchise Times, January 2006) writes, 
“Today, many franchise professional have come to the conclusion that the franchise relationship should not be compared to the equality of a marriage, but there just may be a point in which the “relationship” could be construed as a true partnership, namely when sophisticated independent franchisee associations mature to the point of being a major force in controlling the system. 
Case in point: the National Franchisee Association of Burger King.”
NFA chairman Dan Fitzpatrick wrote recently to Burger King president John Chidsey, “you should know, in the meantime, that from the perspective of NFA no door is closed, our e-mail is accessible, your calls always will be returned and your candor always will be welcome.  For the sake of the Burger King System… we are hopeful that you will reach out for appropriate and vigorous dialogue immediately.  We need to find a way to work together—without jeopardizing the relationship.”

Ms. Sparks writes, “Now it’s a wait-and-see situation.  Will the parties come together to reconcile their differences, or will the attorneys step in for the long, costly legal battle?  There are no winners in a separation such as this- the entire franchise family suffers.  The only real winners, outside of the lawyers, will be the competition.”

4.  With the recent launch of the Waldorf-Astoria Collection by Hilton, I am pleased to quote verbatim from an actual booklet published in 1899 by the original Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Fifth Avenue and 34th Street (current site of the Empire State Building):

“Patrons are invited to inspect the Hotel.  A visit to the kitchens, Wine Cellars, Segar Humidars and Machinery Hall will be found interesting.  Guides are provided at the office.

The American Audit Company having a suite of offices on the ground floor of the hotel are prepared to make financial examinations and to undertake every phase of expert and consulting accountancy for the accommodation of guests.  The American Audit company acts as a special fiduciary agent for lady clients.  Stenographer and typewriter in the Hotel.  Patrons will greatly accelerate the service by using whenever possible the elevators at the Fifth Avenue end of the building.

Owing to the magnitude of the Hotel, we would advise patrons when expecting callers, to notify the office of their whereabouts in the building, and thus enable our page boys to locate them quickly.  The pages, unless the office is otherwise instructed, will go through the several rooms on the ground floor, and will call patrons by using the number of their rooms.  Attention to the boys when calling these numbers will facilitate your being quickly found.

Owing to the number of thefts reported from various Hotels (due probably to sneak thieves) the Management request the Patrons to be particularly careful in the disposition of their valuables.  Safes are provided in the office for the above purpose, and the Hotel will not be responsible for losses.” 

I’ll be pleased to review the other contents of this fascinating 107 year-old booklet with Matthew Hart and/or Steve Bollenbach.

Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC, is a New York-based hotel consultant specializing in hotel franchising issues, asset management and litigation support services.  He is a member of the International Society of Hospitality Consultants and can be reached at and 917-628-8549.  If you need a due diligence study for a proposed acquisition, a third-party audit of a marketing or operational problem, an asset manager to monitor a management contract or franchise agreement or if you have a question about any of my articles, don’t hesitate to contact me.  There is no obligation for this call.


Stanley Turkel, MHS, ISHC

Also See: Nobody Asked Me, But…. / Stanley Turkel / January 2006
Nobody Asked Me, But…. / Stanley Turkel / December 2005
Nobody Asked Me, But…. / Stanley Turkel / November 2005
Nobody Asked Me, But…. / Stanley Turkel / October 2005
Nobody Asked Me, But…. / Stanley Turkel / September 2005


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