Why Shipping Container Kitchens are Ideal for Caribbean Hotels & Resorts

Why Shipping Container Kitchens are Ideal for Caribbean Hotels & Resorts

Before 2020, the Caribbean was experiencing a boom in tourism as it recovered from Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. There was optimism about where the industry was headed. During this time, a record number of resorts and hotels were either planned or under construction. 

Then the pandemic hit, causing an astonishing 49.1% drop in GDP in the tourism industry compared to the previous year. In this sector, every Caribbean country and territory was affected, suffering an overall GDP loss between 14% to 38%. 

Now there's a light at the end of the tunnel as countries begin lifting travel restrictions, encouraging people to play in the sun. Hotels and resorts in the Caribbean could experience a big jump in revenue as travelers take to the skies and seas looking for some badly needed R&R.

However, as building material prices, import duties, and labor shortage percentages remain high in the region, properties need more inexpensive solutions to accommodate new Caribbean hotel and resort building projects.

Rising Construction Costs Lead to Better Solutions

One of the major hassles affecting construction in the Caribbean boils down to the steady rise of material costs, which were only exacerbated in 2020. Lumber prices in Jamaica rose over 200 percent, making a 1,000 board foot jump from $400 to $1,000 USD. 

BCQS International showed that construction costs have increased by 6.3% since 2018. Much of this is due to high import costs and a lack of skilled labor in the area. For example, between 2016 and 2017, over 100,000 laborers moved from Puerto Rico to the mainland US to search for better opportunities. They and workers from the Caribbean have yet to return, leading to a massive shortage of carpenters, painters, and masons to work on-site.

The average cost to build a hotel in the Caribbean ranges between $285 to $440 per square foot for high-end hotels and $162 to $245 for mid-range properties. Hotels and resorts would benefit from having options that don't rely on on-site labor and are cheaper to produce than brick-and-mortar construction. 

As an alternative, shipping container kitchens are constructed in the US and manufactured using a streamlined process. Building these types of commercial kitchens is also up to 20% less expensive than traditional structures. 

It's an economical solution for properties in the Caribbean because the import fees normally required for materials and equipment are taken out of the equation. The unit arrives fully built and complete with hardware and appliances, further reducing labor and supply costs. Once it reaches its final destination, there is little to no disruption to daily hotel and resort services, guests, or the property itself.

hotel kitchen interior


Durable, Reliable Commercial Kitchen Construction

Each season hurricanes hammer the Caribbean, leveling residential and commercial areas, causing billions in damage across the region. This was the case when Hurricane Maria hit in 2017. It was the strongest Category 5 hurricane to hit Puerto Rico since 1928 and resulted in $94.4 billion in damages

The Caribbean is known as the most tourism-dependent region on the planet, and when hurricanes and fierce weather hits, hotels and resorts feel the full weight of the financial losses caused by them. 

And each time, it becomes harder to rebuild and recoup their losses quickly. 

Ultimately, hotels and resorts will need to invest in durable structures that stand up against intense winds, heavy rain, and flooding. 

Shipping container kitchens are, by definition, sturdy units built to withstand Nature's Fury, as well as the daily volume hotels and resorts deal with. They're made for harsh climates—including humid, tropical areas susceptible to severe weather conditions.

Caribbean hotel kitchen


Sustainable Hotel Kitchens for Discerning Guests

As tourism to the Caribbean rises once again, guests—and locals—are embracing hotels and resorts that incorporate sustainability practices into businesses. And with 70% of travelers saying they would book if an accommodation had an eco-friendly label, it's the right time for properties to utilize alternative building methods that align with ecocentric values. 

And several organizations are encouraging this movement in the region. 

The Caribbean Sustainable Tourism Policy and Development Framework report lists eight Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) it wishes to pursue. These SDGs will guide policies related to future construction projects in the Caribbean, setting energy consumption targets for hotels, resorts, and other businesses. 

This initiative, and several others, focuses on addressing climate change issues and developing new—or renovating old—construction to have a minimal impact on the environment and provide significant incentives to do so. 

It makes sense for Caribbean hotels or resorts to have energy-efficient commercial kitchens, which generate less waste and require fewer resources to produce. 

In contrast to conventional construction, shipping container kitchens have a minimal impact on the surrounding environment since the unit is manufactured offsite. Each unit is also insulated, further increasing energy efficiency and reducing costs. 

hotel kitchen interior

Hotel Kitchens Built for the Caribbean 

With shipping container kitchen units in Puerto Rico, the Bahamas, and the British and US Virgin Islands, ContekPro's Precision Series provides hotels and resorts with facilities made for hard work and rough climates. Each unit utilizes smart hotel kitchen design and engineering for ease and efficiency. 

As the tourism industry bounces back from a major economic blow, shipping container kitchens are a cost-effective choice for hotels and resorts. Our turn-key solution is up to 50% faster to build and install compared to traditional construction. 

Contact one of our representatives to discuss your property's commercial kitchen needs. We're here to help.


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