The Royal National London
A talk with Neil Braude
The Royal National hotel in central London offers more than 1630 rooms to travelers visiting the city from around the world. We sat down with Neil Braude, the hotel director, to hear more about the reasons for adding a Wundermart shop to his hotel.
The Royal National already offers a diverse range of planned and impulse F&B options. With 2 breakfast restaurants, a sandwich shop and a London pub, the hotel cater to many needs. ‘The F&B service is very important to us’, Neil says, ‘as it delivers on the expectation of guests that our hotel offers everything they might need during their stay’.
‘It ticks the boxes of appearance and easy operation.’
The simplicity of the shop is a great advantage
With this in mind, why would you add another outlet to the mix? ‘The simplicity of the shop means that it doesn’t rely on staff to operate it, which is a great advantage’, he explains, ‘but apart from this, we also liked the quality of the shop and the way it lifts the look of the lobby.’
Performance close to forecast
So, it ticks the boxes of appearance and easy operation, but how are the sales going? ‘We’re delighted and very impressed to see the performance of the shop is close to what was forecasted. At this rate the investment of the shop will be paid off in 4 months.’ For a shop that has been in business for only a few weeks, this is great feedback to hear.
Apart from the sales results there is another reason that Neil is positive about the solution. Staff and guests are also happy with the new shop. ‘It offers both additional revenue and service’, which enhance the overall performance of the Royal National.
It is a no-brainer
What initially sparked his interest in Wundermart was the basic premise. ‘With a 24/7 autonomous shop that is never It is great to talk to a happy customer like Neil, so we asked him what we should say about our shops to convince others. ‘It is a no-brainer. The solution enhances the guest experience and increases revenue; 2 things that are rarely offered in this sector’, he sums up, ‘And with such a fast payback period it is an easy decision to make.’
The actual success of the shop has surprised Pieter Bas. ‘Initially I thought the business case was too positive’, he explains, ‘and I saw a risk in having a retail outlet without supervision’. But both concerns were taken away when he saw the results come in. ‘Losses are lower, and the average spend per guest is higher than expected.’ With Wundermart taking care of the logistics, the impact on staff is minimal. ‘You’d expect the shop to take more time, but in reality, we only use staff for social control and occasional checks on the appearance.’ And this saves his team valuable time. ‘On average looking after the shop takes us less than half an hour a day.’
Looking back, he admits the performance of the shop beats even the most optimistic scenario in the business case. ‘Numbers don’t lie. The app shows what the real time sales are, and this is sometimes incredible to watch. I can see from the sales in the app how busy the hotel is, so I also use it as indicator to check resources at the front desk.’
About The Royal National London
The Royal National is one of the most famous hotels in London with no fewer than 1630 rooms in central London, Bloomsbury. The hotel is a family run company where passion is deeply rooted in hospitality and looking after people, which is why we believe in creating a truly memorable experience for each and every one of our guests, every visit.