Considering a pantry for your hotel? It’s a wise choice. As guest preferences change and become more focused on convenience, a hotel pantry is an optimal way to provide snacks and beverages that are easily accessible.

But if you currently don’t have a pantry, where do you begin? While it can seem overwhelming to have one installed, it’s really not too difficult. With some planning and an understanding of three basic needs to get started, you can have a hotel pantry up and running sooner than you think.

1. Space

Making sure you have the room to install a pantry in your hotel is the first decision to make. It doesn’t need to be huge, but large enough to accommodate the amount of snacks and beverages you will need for guests. When deciding on where to put the pantry, keep in mind that the goal is to have it in a place that is easily accessible and highly visible to attract guests to it. A pantry does no good if it’s tucked away in a dark corner where guests don’t frequently go. Right in the lobby is typically the best choice. It’s convenient for guests and easy for staff to manage.

2. Establish a Budget

There are two primary costs for managing a hotel pantry: the hardware, such as shelving and cabinets, and the products to sell. The cost for installing the shelving units cabinets will depend on the size of your pantry. Generally speaking, the millwork runs about $2,000-$2,500, while the coolers for drinks cost around $3,000 each. Most pantries will use two coolers, so the total cost will be about $9,000. (That might seem expensive, but it’s a fixed price, and with a well-managed pantry, you should make it back within the first several months.)

As for supplies, you’ll need to establish a monthly budget to purchase them. But how do you know how much product to order? There are two options here: First, you can purchase plenty of items and stock them as you run out while keeping track of your sales. Second, you can use a supply delivery service that helps you gauge how much you’ll need. Keep in mind, however, that you don’t want to limit how much you can sell based on a fixed budget. If you find the pantry consistently selling out of product, go ahead and purchase more if it means more sales…therefore more profits.

3. Designate a Manager

A pantry won’t manage itself. For it to be successful and yield profits that add value to your hotel, you need to take it seriously. Designating someone to oversee its operations is important to ensuring the pantry adds value. Develop a system to help keep track of sales and replenish empty shelves when necessary. The worst thing for a hotel pantry is empty shelves. It doesn’t look good and can become an inconvenience for guests.

With these strategies in mind, you’ll be off to a successful start when installing your hotel pantry.