“… actually [minibars] are loss-leaders…(some hotels have) been phasing out stocked minibars…Theft and billing problems can eat into minibar income. Hilton loses 5% to 20% of minibar revenue to “quote-unquote breakage…”
Hotels and minibar manufacturers say these can cut labor costs since employees only have to check the roughly 25%-30% of rooms that use the minibar on a given day. Software can track how long items have been sitting in the minibar, cutting down on the problem of expired snacks.
But automated minibars cause problems of their own. If you take out an item and put it back, you might be charged, though most hotels give a grace period of about 40 seconds. And forget replacing a minibar’s high-priced sodas with your own snacks.
Sensors can also be overly sensitive, causing problems even for travel professionals.