Hotel breakfasts are a great way for guests to start off the day — and a way to help your hotel stand out from the crowd. A delicious breakfast with varied options can really create a good impression that will stay with your visitors. In this article, you’ll get an overview of hotel breakfast possibilities and how to exceed your guests’ expectations.

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What Is the Hotel Industry?

The hotel industry is a vital component of the service industry. It’s the part of the sector that exists to serve the needs of customers who are seeking accommodation overnight, as distinct from other services such as food and beverages. The hotel industry is very closely tied to the hospitality industry, and also the travel industry; however, the scope of the hospitality industry is rather different to either of these.

In the most general sense, while the hotel industry provides certain hospitality services (dining, conference support, hotel breakfast etc), its primary focus is on providing comfortable and enjoyable spaces for rest overnight. These services can vary based on the type of customer that a hotel serves, from simply shared dorms favoured by backpackers to luxurious suites for high-end travellers. To read more about the hotel industry and its differences from the hospitality sector, read the in-depth article “Hotel Industry: Everything You Need to Know About Hotels!”

Why Is a Hotel Breakfast Important?

A good hotel breakfast can be an important part of the overall experience. Whether your hotel is large or small, and whatever amenities you offer, a hotel breakfast can really make the difference between a pleasant stay and an exceptional one. If a hotel breakfast is included in the price of the room, it’s important to provide an enjoyable breakfast so that guests feel they have received value for money. Even if the options available are basic, good quality food and drink will get a guest’s day off to a good start. Hotel breakfast is an opportunity to recharge and prepare for the day.

What Are Different Types of Hotel Breakfast?

There are many kinds of hotel breakfast, from a simple self-service buffet consisting of a few basic items to more lavish fare.

Continental Breakfast

Despite its name, which implies a European origin, the concept of a continental hotel breakfast was adopted by the UK hotel industry. A continental breakfast is a lighter, more simple option than heavier meals like a full English breakfast. A continental breakfast usually consists of baked goods like croissants and bread rolls, served with a range of accompaniments like butter, jellies, jams, marmalade etc. The archetypal continental breakfast includes a cup of freshly brewed coffee, but other drinks will usually be on offer too. Some hotels also offer savoury options, like cheese or cold meat, as well as fruit, yoghurt and cereal.

English Breakfast

A full English breakfast is a large and hearty meal. It will usually include bacon, sausages, black pudding, fried tomatoes, mushrooms, eggs (scrambled or fried), and toast or fried bread. Tea is the usual accompaniment. This big, protein-rich meal is perfect for a guest planning a big day as it is very sustaining. Some guests opt to eat a full English breakfast late in the morning so they don’t need to stop for lunch. All elements are hot foods and will be prepared freshly. A hungry guest might choose a large portion but it’s a good idea to offer smaller portions for those who struggle with full-sized English.

American Breakfast

An American hotel breakfast includes elements of both the above types of breakfast. It will typically include bacon, eggs (fried), hash browns, pancakes or waffles with butter or syrup, toast with butter or jam/jellies, and coffee. It can be served buffet-style but is often prepared to order. Many hotels will make the pancakes from scratch so that the butter will melt when added by the guest. Although this option isn’t as heavy as a full English, it’s still hearty and sustaining. An American breakfast isn’t really a light option, although small portions are generally offered.

Ways to Serve Hotel Breakfast

There are various ways that hotels can serve breakfast to their guests. Some guests prefer to have the breakfast served to them, while others like the experience of selecting items from a buffet.

Breakfast Buffet

A breakfast buffet consists of a long table or counter where guests can serve themselves from a range of different items. A typical buffet will include items like muffins, croissants, toast and other baked goods; hot items such as sausages, bacon, fried potatoes or hash browns, scrambled eggs, etc; fruit, yoghurt, and cereals. A buffet-style breakfast allows guests to choose their favourite items and to eat as much as they like. It’s important to maintain high standards of cleanliness and hygiene, as a buffet can become busy and there’s a risk of contamination. Good presentation is vital for a pleasant buffet dining experience.

A la Carte

With an a la carte breakfast, guests will be ordering individual items from a selection. A menu-style breakfast avoids many of the drawbacks of buffet-style hotel breakfasts, such as food waste and a chaotic atmosphere (hard to avoid when numerous guests are serving themselves). An a la carte breakfast typically doesn’t have as many options as a buffet, but everything is freshly prepared and it’s possible to control the quality of each element more closely. A la carte breakfasts are a good option for smaller hotels, allowing more efficient handling of products and better direction for the workforce.

Room Service

A room service hotel breakfast adds a touch of luxury to a guest’s stay. Instead of elbowing through the crowd around a buffet or eating in a packed restaurant, guests can enjoy a quiet breakfast in the comfort of their rooms. There are various ways that hotels can handle room service breakfasts. It can be delivered on washable plates or in disposable containers. You can customise breakfast services depending on your specific needs. Popular options include a breakfast card, from which guests can select items; a menu form that the guest will fill out the night before; or breakfast boxes. Hotel technology, such as the hotel app, is another way for guests to order breakfast.

Video Example: Hotel Breakfast Room Service at Le Meurice

6 Tips to Make Sure Your Hotel Breakfast Buffet Exceeds Your Guest’s Expectations

While a breakfast buffet has many advantages, it can quickly become chaotic and messy without a proper strategy. Here are some tips to make sure that your hotel’s breakfast buffet offers a smooth and enjoyable experience that impresses your guests.

1. Keep to Food Safety Regulations

Because your buffet will have dozens of guests visiting it, some multiple times, it’s important to have an up-to-date and detailed schedule for cleaning. Create a list of equipment to be used and a procedure for cleaning and replacing items before the buffet opens and while it’s in use, as well as a procedure for cleaning after it closes. Food should be protected from air and sun, especially sensitive items like eggs. Don’t use plastic film — instead, have lids or plastic domes over serving dishes. For instance, surfaces should be frequently wiped down and any utensils that fall on the floor should be replaced without delay.

2. Make Sure The Buffet Is Aesthetically Pleasing

It goes without saying that foods should be of good quality and well-prepared. Presentation is also important, however. Everything on the buffet should look as good as it tastes. The containers, utensils and materials you use should be chosen carefully so that they’re both practical and in keeping with your desired aesthetic. The layout should be planned to maximise convenience and visual appeal. Staging your buffet in a way that’s appealing and inviting will add a lot to your guests’ overall experience. It’s a great opportunity to enhance your guests’ perception of the service they receive.

3. Serve Certain Foods in Bulk and Others Individually

Buffets typically have some foods offered in bulk, such as a large dish of scrambled eggs from which guests can help themselves or cereal presented in a dispenser. Other foods, though, are better served in individual portions. One example might be butter. Certainly, you could place a block of butter on your buffet and let guests take what they need, but this will quickly look unsightly. It would also result in a lot of food waste, as any remaining butter would need to be thrown away after the buffet in case of contamination. Consider this when staging your buffet.

4. Provide Long-Lasting Labels for Efficiency and Communication

Clear labelling helps your guests see what foods are on offer. A guest who mistakes one food for another, or who finds out that a prepared food contains an undesirable ingredient, may be confused and disappointed. Instead of staff having to explain to guests what is contained in each dish, durable and legible labels should be provided. Card format labels in wipe-clean plastic are a good solution here. They can be placed in plastic or stainless steel holders and re-used every morning. This also avoids having staff make up new labels every day, saving time.

5. Create a Breakfast Ambiance

Because your guests may be eating breakfast in the same space where lunch and dinner are also served, you’ll want to create a different ambience at breakfast time. A fresh, lively feel will help your guests enjoy the start of their day and provide a better experience. Choose music that is right for the atmosphere you want to set, and pay attention to your presentation. As an example, you could use different table cloths for the morning, selecting cheerful colours that will put your guests in a more enthusiastic frame of mind.

6. Go A Step Further and Introduce a Regional Breakfast Offering

Enjoying the local cuisine is an unmissable part of any travel experience. Even if guests are travelling for business rather than pleasure, they’ll appreciate the opportunity to enjoy regional cuisine. Consider incorporating local foods into your hotel breakfast buffet and showcasing them. As well as providing a sense of quality, this will also demonstrate to your guests that you value both their experience and supporting the community. You can still offer standard buffet fare but add a few local recipes to make your buffet stand out.

Point-of-Sale Software as a Helpful Tool During Hotel Breakfast

There are many software solutions available to hotels today. POS software is one of the most important. Whether your guests are settling their accounts or paying for a hotel breakfast, POS technology can make it easy and fast. POS software can automate many transactions, as well as helping to generate additional revenue.

It can provide a range of useful tools that will make your staff’s lives easier. In “6 Benefits of Point of Sale Software for Hotels”, you’ll find out what point of sale software is and how it can help your hotel.

Hotel Departments and Different Sections of a Hotel

Hotels and resorts are made up of several different departments. There are departments such as the front office, which is the first point of contact for the public, but other departments are also vital for the successful operation of a hotel business.

In “Hotel Departments: Learn About All the 7 Sections of a Hotel”, you’ll find out about the different sections that make up a hotel. From the finance department to the food and beverage department that provides a hotel breakfast or a cocktail in the evening, this article details the departments that make up a hotel.

Front Office Technology to Improve Hotel Breakfast

Your front office department is key to creating a great impression on your guests. Technology can help you to do just that. Technology for the front office department has improved in leaps and bounds in recent years, and it’s important to keep up with the latest hotel trends in technology.

From checking in and out, handling requests for services, or arranging a hotel breakfast, front-office technology helps guests to interact more effectively with the front desk and facilitates daily tasks. In “Front Office Technology: The Latest Tech for the Reception Department”, you’ll discover all the possibilities offered by these new solutions.

Breakfast is often referred to as the most important meal of the day, and that can certainly be the case for the hotel industry. Hopefully, this article will have given you some ideas to make hotel breakfasts a highlight of your guests’ stay.

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Revfine.com is a knowledge platform for the hospitality & travel industry. Professionals use our insights, strategies and actionable tips to get inspired, optimise revenue, innovate processes and improve customer experience. You can find all hotel & hospitality tips in the categories Revenue Management, Marketing & Distribution, Hotel Operations, Staffing & Career, Technology and Software.

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