Snack tray treats

A sure-fire way to impress your guests is to offer them a complimentary snack tray!

Offering your guests complimentary gifts, no matter how small, can go a long way to impressing them. Accommodation establishment owners often, in the rush of their day-to-day business, forget this and may even be numbed to the guests’ reactions to small details.

A snack tray can fulfil many functions in one easy gesture. Firstly, it is a decent gift to your guests to refresh them and quell a few hunger pangs, and also to show them that, yes, they are important and that you appreciate their business.

After a long and tiring journey, a snack tray filled with tempting and satisfying snacks will definitely create a good first impression, particularly if the items appeal to their tastes. Having a few things to nibble on at their leisure will help make your establishment feel just that little bit more like a home away from home.

For you to get the reaction you are looking for, the snack tray firstly needs to be complimentary – make it feel as though your guests are getting some extra value for the money that they are parting with! The bar fridge located in the room will usually be filled with items that are part of room service, and you should ensure that your guests know this! Make a clear distinction between the complimentary snacks and those that will be charged for.

Presentation is all important when putting together an appealing snack tray. Go beyond the norm, and offer more than just the standard tea bags and instant coffee powder. Firstly, use a butler’s tray or a guest tray – don’t just fill a bowl with goodies and plonk it on the dressing table. A butler’s tray can actually complement the style and décor of the room itself and thus be a lovely addition to the design. Keep to the theme of your establishment, and particularly the room itself, as an inappropriately- styled presentation will just clash with its surroundings.

A good idea is to customise the snack tray according to the season, or to your guest’s special circumstance. Enquire about whether it is someone’s birthday, whether it is the couple’s anniversary or whether there is any other celebration that is the reason why these people are enjoying a getaway in the first place. Place a note in the tray wishing the couple a happy anniversary or birthday or whatever the special occasion may be… “Dear John, Happy Birthday from the staff at Bob’s Guesthouse... Enjoy the complimentary snack tray we have prepared for you!” If it is an anniversary, Valentine’s Day, or any other romantic celebration place a rose with a ribbon across the tray.

Many people are turning towards a health-conscious lifestyle, and when preparing a snack tray, try to keep this in mind. Try not to fill the tray with all sorts of sticky sweets and fatty fried snacks, but rather stick to healthier options. Go easy on the sweets and chocolates and instead opt for a selection of nuts, dried fruit and fat free snacks like pretzels. Flavoured mineral water is a better alternative to sweet cold drinks. That said, however, decadent delights like Choc Salami are too good to leave out – believe me, your guests will appreciate the lapse!

Also, when preparing your snack presentation, keep hygiene and the possibility of food spoiling in mind. Freshly sliced fruit arranged in a platter is a delicious option, but ensure that is covered up and refrigerated until your guests arrive. If your establishment is located in a hot, tropical or humid area keep in mind that bacteria can breed very quickly in these conditions. You really don’t want to make your guests ill!

To keep your snacks fresh and hygienic, go for sealed packets instead of putting them in bowls. Dried fruit, nuts and rusks can be bought in small, sealed portions perfect for one person, while water and juice can also be presented in sealed single servings. Remember, if you are offering fresh seasonal fruits to your guests, wash the fruit well before putting it in the fruit bowl.

Issues of ecology and the impact of our actions on the environment should be forefront in our minds. When serving snacks, ensure that they come from a local and sustainable source, as this lessens the damage we do to the environment. An example of this is imported bottled water – the amount of energy used to package the water, ship or fly it across the world and to transport it to the shops and finally to your establishment is massive. Rather try and source a local company for this sort of thing.

When preparing any type of food for the general public, it is a good idea to remember that in our multicultural society there are many different and special diets, and that most people will have some sort of dietary requirement. Whether it is for religious or for health reasons, there will almost always be a restriction on certain foods. When taking the booking, find out whether your guests follow Kosher or Halaal dietary laws or whether they are vegetarian or even vegan. Also find out whether there is a prevailing medical condition or allergy that could cause problems.

There is no need to overdo things, but offering something as small and meaningful as a complimentary snack tray to your guests should impress them enough to keep them coming back.