Many people enjoy escaping the routine of everyday life by heading to a bed and breakfast for a couple of days. This kind of establishment offers travelers a chance to relax in an often whimsical setting and enjoy homemade, elaborate breakfasts with other guests. When planning your bed-and-breakfast menu, consider offering local specialties along with tried-and-true options.
Planning Your Bed-and-Breakfast Menu
Depending on the size of your bed and breakfast, you may choose to offer just a select few dishes or a wide variety each morning. Smaller bed and breakfasts often provide guests with one savory and one sweet breakfast option, while establishments with a large kitchen staff may offer five or six different dishes.
When planning your menu, consider the kinds of breakfasts locals like to eat that would be new to travelers. Southern bed-and-breakfast recipes such as biscuits with gravy or grits and ham, for example, are options that people from other parts of the country may not usually have the option to try. By providing guests with local dishes, you can offer a more special experience.
Also consider offering breakfast staples that people from all parts of the world may enjoy, such as fried eggs or pancakes with fruit. Some guests opt for familiarity with their food choices, and seeing things they are used to eating provides a sense of comfort.
Informing Guests of Their Choices
The way you describe your bed-and-breakfast menu to guests is critical to getting them excited about what they’re going to eat. Instead of mentioning the omelet is filled with cheddar cheese, for example, use a local variety and tell guests where they can find it if they’d like to purchase it.
If you’re offering a local staple, provide a sentence about the history of the dish. If you’re introducing an old family recipe, talk about who in the family first came up with it. For example, you could say, “This banana bread is an old Johnston favorite, first made by my great-grandmother Alice.”
If your menu changes day to day as is common for many bed and breakfasts, write it on a chalkboard in the lobby so guests can easily see what’s available to them the next morning. Be sure to also mention the time that breakfast is served, such as “7 a.m. to 11 a.m.” Some establishments provide guests with a printed menu in their rooms with the option to check off which breakfast items they would like to eat. You can ask guests to provide their selections to you by a certain time the night before.
Clearing Dietary Restrictions
Always be sure to check with guests beforehand about dietary restrictions they may have or allergies about which you need to be aware. Have a backup plan available on the menu if guests are not able to eat the dishes you have provided. This goes above and beyond and shows guests you care about their well-being and comfort and provides them with an outstanding experience.
Offering Special Perks
Many bed-and-breakfast guests get away for a few days to celebrate a milestone, such as an anniversary or a birthday. Be sure to ask guests what has brought them to you. If possible, offer them a little treat for their celebration. Something as simple as a small box of local preserves to take home after breakfast makes the experience more memorable.
While many bed and breakfasts offer a communal dining experience with other guests, some also offer the perk of in-room dining. If you choose to take this route, offer this as a special event to help guests celebrate. Some guests have activities planned in the early morning and may not have time for breakfast beforehand. Consider offering them a to-go box with portable breakfast items such as muffins and breads to start their day and be sure to mention these options on your menu.
While most bed-and-breakfast kitchens are only open for the first meal of the day, some do offer other meals as well. If you provide a B&B dinner menu, let potential guests know on your website and other marketing materials, as it is a unique advantage for your establishment.
Anam Ahmed is a Toronto-based writer and editor with over a decade of experience helping small businesses and entrepreneurs reach new heights. She has experience ghostwriting and editing business books, especially those in the "For Dummies" series, in addition to writing and editing web content for the brand. Anam works as a marketing strategist and copywriter, collaborating with everyone from Fortune 500 companies to start-ups, lifestyle bloggers to professional athletes. As a small business owner herself, she is well-versed in what it takes to run and market a small business. Anam earned an M.A. from the University of Toronto and a B.A.H. from Queen's University. Learn more at www.anamahmed.ca.