Breakfast is absolutely vital to hotels as a means to differentiate each hotel from its competitors. Subject to the brand of the hotel chain can dictate the level of quality on offer. It is well documented that guests staying in a hotel for more than one night may participate in dinner based upon the quality of breakfast. The breakfast market can be a major income generator for hotels.
There are many pros and cons of buffet breakfasts versus a table service breakfast but we have to establish first who is the hotels client market?
A buffet breakfast is ideal for the corporate guest who does not want to wait. They can pick quickly and utilise the time to check emails and plan their day ahead. Leisure guests tend to prefer plated breakfast as it is a slower more relaxed paced experience and is more bespoke and has a preconceived idea of higher quality. Plates will have been flashed in the kitchen as buffet breakfast tend to be cooler plates. The ideal scenario is for hotels to have a staffed buffet service breakfast offering. The guest selects their own cereals, yogurts, breads and juices but the hot counter is manned by a chef. A chef who can engage, discuss the quality, provenance, tractability of the items on offer.
A hotel needs a significant level of turnover to benefit from the buffet breakfast as with lower numbers wastage can be excessive. There is also a benefit to buffet breakfasts when a hotel can sleep for example 300 guests but the restaurant capacity is only 80 covers. With this example the buffet option allows the turning of tables in a much quicker period of time.
Regarding hotels having a breakfast offering available all boils down to who is their market?
It is documented that breakfast operationally is not always profitable. Not many chefs receive the full allocation of breakfast allowance in their costings so it all boils down to clientele and margin.
Regarding should the offering include both styles of breakfast we must ask simply who is your market?
What are you trying to achieve?
Breakfast is the easiest way to take good to great. Surveys shows that breakfast and in turn a good breakfast is a big influence in decision making. Guests will tolerate an old hotel desperately seeking investment and a refurbishment based on a super breakfast. The general consensus is that both option wins.
Many organisations now have a duty of care for their employees whether home or away. This can be seen in accommodation choices and the knock on effect is food choices. Corporate clients are now looking for healthy options and more than just cereal and juice. From fresh fruit, cereals, pulses, grains, herbs, spices, access to blenders to derive their own concoctions. Customers metabolic rates differ greatly and some guests do not want a full cooked breakfast so early into the day. There is much more emphasis on slow burning carbohydrate based items to keep guests fuller till lunch.
They say Breakfast like a king, Lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper!!
The recommended beverages to offer at breakfast has become a hotly contended question. With the rise of cafe culture and over 20,000 high street cafes our own breakfast expectations have become higher. long gone are the days of plain filter coffees, guests now are looking for lattes, cappuccinos and morning based milk coffees.
When it comes to equipment the age old buy cheap, buy twice rings true. An essential piece of equipment for hotels recently has to be the investment in a good toaster. This then opens up the topic of conversation relating to kitchen made or self service. When toast is made in the kitchen although the hotel is providing a service there tends to be an element of wastage. Self service toast results in the guests preparing actually what they require and wastage tends to be reduced. This also allows for a much more creative Viennoiserie with the inclusion of bagels, buns and breads.
Equipment can also be dictated based on the hotels clientele mix, volume for corporate against the relaxed service to leisure guests.
Many hotels are happy to only cater for residents and this can be based on restaurant capacity in relation to number of rooms at maximum occupancy. Other hotels see this as an opportunity to increase revenue. Guests remember the breakfast experience and hotels who open up to non residents can become memorable based upon their offering as quality will be remembered long after the price has been forgotten. If your business needs help I urge you to contact Victus.