New York City Hilton Midtown ends room service

The Empire State Building (L), towers over the Manhattan skyline as the One World Trade Center building (R), stands downtown on February 13, 2012.

NEW YORK—The Hilton Midtown, New York City’s largest hotel with nearly 2,000 rooms, has announced it is getting rid of room service in August.

Room service at the $300-plus-a-night hotel will be replaced by a new self-service cafeteria.

A spokesman for the hotel told the New York Times that demand for room service had declined.

Travel industry experts note, however, that room service is a losing proposition at most hotels, WNYC News reported, indicating that the move was likely a cost-cutting measure.

“Everybody’s doing what they can to engineer their properties to make more profit while still supplying the services their guests demand,” John Fox, a consultant for the hotel industry, told the New York Times.

The move will eliminate 55 jobs, including the kitchen workers who assemble the hotel’s $24.75 Cobb salads at midnight and the staff who wheel them to visitors’ rooms.

"It's sad," Jacob Tomsky, author of Heads in Beds, a memoir of the hotel industry, told WNYC News. "The first thing I think of is the employees who lost their jobs. But when I think of the business model, I find it hard to see it going any other way."

The Waldorf Astoria on Park Avenue – now owned by Hilton Hotels & Resorts – introduced room service to the hotel industry in the 1930s, WNYC reported.

A Hilton spokesman told the New York Times that the company didn’t plan to end room service at the Waldorf but is considering removing the amenity at its other hotels on a case-by-case basis.

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