Balbirnie Hotel reaches 10,000 food orders via its guest app in less than two months

02nd September 2020

Balbirnie House Hotel

In March 2020, when the pandemic hit the hospitality industry in the UK, no one at Balbirnie House Hotel would have ever expected to witness what happened later on in the year. 

During the lockdown, the team at Balbirnie House decided to take the app, they developed with Criton, a step further. They decided to digitise more guest services and added Criton’s integration with Hungrrr to offer a food ordering and payment system for a contactless dining experience. 

So, when the hotel restaurant re-opened on the 6th of July, everything looked very different. 

Serving an average of 250 guests every night in the beautiful Bistro Al Fresco in the gardens, there were no physical menus. Nobody to take food and drinks orders. No handwritten check orders. No cash accepted. Nobody creating guest bills. Nobody physically accepting guest payment. Wi-Fi was available everywhere in the gardens. Basically, as the Balbirnie team defined it, a ‘Hospitality Revolution’.

Since the 6th July 2020 and in less than two months, the Balbirnie House team received and processed 10,000 guest orders using their own branded mobile app.

Balbirnie House Hotel App

Nicolas Russell, Managing Director at Balbirnie House Hotel, wrote in a blog article: “What amazed us on opening day, was the fact that arriving guests weren't only familiar with the concept of the App, it was the fact that they had already downloaded it and were already familiar with the menus, and even the overview of how to process an order.”

“Bistro al Fresco wasn't a matter of opening up and starting. It was a couple of months in planning, conceived by those who were still working from March to July during the lockdown. We shifted all reservations into ResDiary in tandem with ordering via our mobile app.”

Balbirnie House Hotel

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“Fundamentally, one of the main reasons for transitioning to App was to deliver contactless service between brigade and guests, and the next reason was to be able to collect guest information for what we thought would eventually turn into a 'track and trace' system for Scotland Hospitality. We were correct!”

“Our previous food and drinks service systems were designed to cope at ground floor level, with up to 100 guests. Quickly, as we began to bring more and more colleagues back to work, we needed to change systems, to create workflows capable of handling up to 350 guests per day. In amongst all of this, fully incorporating all new Covid-related and social distancing requirements.”

“Some hoteliers might have sat back and simply continued as is, when we began to achieve delivery for 300 guests per day. To the contrary, at that point we pressed the pedals further, and began introducing more new dishes, and better new dishes. This has been a quite amazing exercise in consistency, and I especially pay tribute today, to the efforts of Executive Chef Oscar Sinjorgo, and our entire kitchen brigade.”

“At 19:59 on 29th August 2020, we received App order number 10,000!!! It was a pleasure to personally serve those two Classic Prawn Cocktails, and of course, we despatched a bottle of Champagne, on the house.”

Find out more about Balbirnie House Hotel guest app HERE

If you are interested in a demo of the food ordering platform, please get in touch with our team at and we would be happy to help.