Question about what Questions Innkeepers would have

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Forfeng's picture
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Hi lovely innkeepers, sorry I haven't been back in awhile Smiling  I would love some input if you have a minute.

I'm doing a PAII webinar next week: Time and Money Saving Tips and Procedures in Food Costing and Meal & Menu Planning  http://innkeeping.site-ym.com/events/event_details.asp?id=201727 and have been trying to pick inns brains (not literally ) for the last few weeks about what specific Q&As would be most helpful to them.

While I have quite a bit compiled for the webinar, I'll be doing follow up blog post(s) as I know the questions I have for it so far, are far more then can be gone over in the time period we will have, so might as well see if there are more things I can expand on, if that makes sense.

Any ideas, questions or any other comments are very much appreciated.

Cheers, may all your guests be merry and your weekends fully booked!

 

Joey Camb's picture
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Some times there are more cost effective ways of buying the same things eg we use Taylors coffee (this is behind Yorkshire Tea which you may have heard of) and is made in our town (ie supporting local business) and they let you order direct from them and free delivery to Harrogate once a week so we don't have to pay a middleman which makes it about $2 cheaper per box for our room tea alone and similar savings for coffee and breakfast tea. We also found a company locally who does recycled black trash bags which are 5.7p each where as the same from the supermarket cost 10.7p each which isn't a huge saving but works out abotu £45 per year or $90 so its a case of adding up all the savings.

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Flower's picture
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WHAT are the difference in flours what do the number mean? when do you use these flours?

When you have vegan and they cannot have normal baking powder or spreads. What can you sub with? Even soy sauces .cheeses, sour creams.

Have a guest that cannot  use all syrups  as there is a chemical that is used in some she is allergic to ??? I am finding all these diet restrictions are very costly . You may have one or two  vegan in a six month time frame so this food gets thrown out. How can you  find a better way to cheaper breakfast yet not spoil quality? Buying cookies cereals are difficult if you don't live in a big city.  Having a celaic and can't use the same toaster or frying pans you normal use . I was not awear until this year they have to have there own toaster and frying pans. things like this would help knowing these facts to help us get around these hick ups what to do, what to serve to people with such allergys.

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gillumhouse's picture
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My gluten-free lady said this was the first time she has not had to bring her own food. she says she usually does because there are so many things she cannot eat. I look at it as a challenge instead of a chore. If I manage to do it, I get a gold star on my forehead! The only time it bugs the crap out of me is when they do not tell me until the last minute - on arrival or at breakfast.

EmptyNest's picture
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Let's get real here..... You can only do so much for guests.

If there are that many problems, then it is their problem not yours.

You are not a restaurant nor are you a registered dietician.  These folks have to realize you can only go so far in your service to them.

Sometimes you just have to say sorry, but I think you would be better served staying elsewhere as I cannot accommodate your special dietary needs.  

Joey Camb's picture
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my neighbour here does a special gluten free service but we are a busy conference town with approx 100 B&B's and 16 Large hotels so this is a good selling feature for them.

Joey Camb's picture
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we do toast for the gluten free under the grill as then it can't get bread crumbs on it which saves having a special toaster.

birdwatcher's picture
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We have been both owners of an Inn and now are employed Innkeepers-we try and do things the best cost effective way without sacrificing taste-yes, sometimes it pays to get as they call "brand" name stuff, but most of the things that we try to do is use the $$ alocated for food to the best of our ability-meaning that we don't just shop for one breakfast at a time like we have to know what we can and can't do acording to the guest that walks in.

We use the same aspect on fruit as Gillumn and Madeline said, also we would do alot of smoothies when we have 2-4 guests-this is easy and there is no waste involved. Smoothies can be made with yogurt, milk, half/half or just fruit juice, we like to use yogurt and a little whipping cream although most of the time if we don't have whipping cream a little milk does just fine...this is easy and the key is NO WASTE.

Utilizing food costs?

Have bananas that are too dark or too ripe to put in a salad? You can freeze them, peel and put in a bag, this you can add to smoothies, muffins or bread. Wanna do something with the bread you serve (if you serve bread) freeze it for french toast.

These are just some of the things you can do to save on food costs, such as buy cheese when its on sale and freeze it, you can freeze butter as well even OJ or Milk, whipping cream and half/half-not so good. You can freeze fresh vegies and some fresh fruit, like apples, peaches, and such (just peel and slice first) then put into baggies-

*Make your freezer your best tool for saving on food costs*

   Hope it helps, im sure many an experienced innkeeper do this, and PS-for coffee-we have a secret that our guests rant and rave about-we buy regular maxwell house, folgers or another bargain bran coffee and MIX it with a brand name coffee. The coffee maker has alot to do with it too believe it or not a "Bunn coffee maker" makes completely different cofee than a regular drip cofee maker-thats what we've found anyway.

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I looked at the webinar description again.

A Question to be covered: Have you considered the WHAT IF factor?

What if they show up and cannot eat what you have prepared (even though you have asked in advance) or one person says "Sorry I cannot eat pecans" and you have made pecan pancakes, the better was just right for the number of servings. Do you whip up more batter or just give them the rest of the meal?

Or like this rez I got yesterday: Alice cannot eat refined sugar, eggs, meat, white/wheat flour or dairy  IS there a cost effective alternative? Say, offer Alice a banana.

Then you have to see the foods you may THINK guests like but won't, or don't eat. Perhaps you sautee red and orange bell pepper and onion in a frittata for color and zing, but the "prilosec" nation won't eat spicy or savory breakfast foods, so you can actually save money by not buying a ripe red and orange bell pepper, and leaving it out altogether.

Buying fruit in season and buying fruit locally, and buying fruit that goes further for a tableful of guests, or buying fruit that you can cut a certain way to stretch it further.

Drinks - to pour or not to pour. Juice by the glass, automatic, requested, or a jug on the table for guests to help themselves?

I think you have this covered Chef Forfeng, sorry if I am redundant. 

 

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Madeleine's picture
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Joey Bloggs wrote:

Buying fruit in season and buying fruit locally, and buying fruit that goes further for a tableful of guests, or buying fruit that you can cut a certain way to stretch it further.

Drinks - to pour or not to pour. Juice by the glass, automatic, requested, or a jug on the table for guests to help themselves?

I think you have this covered Chef Forfeng, sorry if I am redundant. 

 

I know you're not asking...

We have found that cutting fruit into bite-sized pieces fills a bowl much better than leaving it whole or even in sections. (Plus, I noticed guests struggling to cut the fruit in the bowl and it's easy to cut it on the board in the kitchen.) Then we can spice it up with a single strawberry on top and some granola. Instead of serving 6 guests, cutting the fruit serves 8 with the same amount.

Letting guests pour their own juice has cut down tremendously on the amount of juice we buy. I am finishing off a gallon of OJ we bought 3 weeks ago. That's 25 room nights' of guests and we didn't finish one gallon of OJ.

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gillumhouse's picture
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I have started making a compote and letting guests take what they like out of it - saves waste. However, if I find myself short of fruit to go around, I use my banana boats with half a banana in the bottom and 3 kinds of fruit to make a "sundae". I usually have some cantaloupe & honeydew - where 3 balls of each would not make a decent looking dish of fruit, 3 balls of each and a bit of crushed pineapple or some kiwi in the center with a cherry on top wows them.

Madeleine's picture
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What I would like is some sort of spreadsheet that would cost out a meal if I entered the ingredients. One that would also spit out what the appropriate serving size is.

So, I enter a certain amount of eggs, cheese, veggies (and how much I paid for them) and the program spits out how many servings of omelets I should get from that list (and leftover amounts) along with how much each serving costs (and what is 'waste cost' in re the leftovers).

And, after using for awhile, would then suggest another recipe I could make with the leftovers!

 

I'm not sure that's really a question as much as wanting a real chef in the kitchen!

Weaver's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

What I would like is some sort of spreadsheet that would cost out a meal if I entered the ingredients. One that would also spit out what the appropriate serving size is.

So, I enter a certain amount of eggs, cheese, veggies (and how much I paid for them) and the program spits out how many servings of omelets I should get from that list (and leftover amounts) along with how much each serving costs (and what is 'waste cost' in re the leftovers).

And, after using for awhile, would then suggest another recipe I could make with the leftovers!

 

I'm not sure that's really a question as much as wanting a real chef in the kitchen!

Try this http://www.winsite.com/Business/Spreadsheets/MenuCostPro/

Have not tried it but it took 30 seconds to find via google.

 

Madeleine's picture
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Should have mentioned 'free'. I've seen these. What I really want is one developed for a smaller property. Maybe I should just do that over the winter and see if I could sell it!

Weaver's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

Should have mentioned 'free'. I've seen these. What I really want is one developed for a smaller property. Maybe I should just do that over the winter and see if I could sell it!

Cheap is good, Free is better! Eye-wink

If you do it use Microsoft Acess.  I have done a lot of cost analysis using it and can be very friendly once you get the hang of the formulas.

 

EmptyNest's picture
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 Sorry, but anymore, most people don't shell out the $$ to pay for MS office Professional with Access Sad  Don't know if there is open source Access or not???

Forfeng's picture
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sorry (blonde moment, me), What would innkeepers find the most useful in terms of?

Cutting food costs?

Utlilizing ingredients?

Menu planning?

Dealing with allergies?

Recipe Costing and food product costing?

Wholesale vs retail buying for food? Pros and Cons

Evaluating dishes and garning and recording guest feedback?

Anything that would help an inn/B&B save money in the kitchen and if there are specific questions that I can answer? 

gillumhouse's picture
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Time and Money Saving Tips and Procedures in Food Costing and Meal & Menu Planning  

If I have one room this week and another room coming in a week or so, I make a full recipe of muffins (I do mini-muffins) and put one pan of 12 minis in the freezer for the next time and bake the other pan. Take out of freezer when tuning on oven to preheat and add a minute or 2 to the bake time. I will often make a 1/2 recipe (it really does work). This saves both time AND money.

Is this what you are asking for? Things we can do while making one breakfast that can be used to make another which will save time and money?

Forfeng's picture
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Thank you for the example, Smiling

Question was in terms of what you would find useful, that you don't already know or would like direction on better or less expensive ways to do things.

gillumhouse's picture
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There are LOTS of less expensive - problem is the quality often is not there. Guests CAN tell the difference between not from concentrate OJ and the Minute Maid, etc. as an example.

Forfeng's picture
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Not looking for sacrificing quality EVER. Breakfast is what makes a B&B and cost over quality is not the question, more about people analyzing and testing products out. I would never suggest a packaged product over fresh.

 I personally know many innkeepers that when the price of coffee went up (as a good example) started trying out local and store brands and found from guest feedback that the guests liked it better then the Starbucks they had been formerly using.

In terms of dry goods (cereals, jams etc) many times the store "brand" is actually the same content as a "name" brand, exact same ingrediants but sometimes 1/2 the price. People get so fixated (and I'm a prime example of it) that when we shop we go for the same brands we have been buying/using for years.

gillumhouse's picture
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I totally understood what you were saying. On many things if you look at the label it is processed by the name brand. I once worked for Jewel in the headquarters. Many of the foods they made were privated labeled - same for the lingerie company I worked for (I was in data processing). Jif f peanut butter is made by Sm uck ers.

One of the things guests like here is that I roast the coffee. The coffee beans I buy are between $4.50 - $13.50 per pound (there are some I will not get because of cost). One roast is about 5 oz and yields 2 pots (10-12 cup) or one 24-cup pot of coffee. It is better than Fivebucks and is no biggie to roast the country the guest wants. I will be cutting down on the offerings because there are some that never get chosen. Sumatra, Ethiopia, Peru, and the Hawaiians are chosen a lot. surprisingly Columbian is chosen often - you have a chance to try something new and don't?..... Comfort zone I guess.

Forfeng's picture
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 How lovely you roast your own coffee, how absolutely yummy (coffee fiend speaking Smiling

gillumhouse's picture
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OK. I am going to give up my roaster so others can do it if they want. It is #1 MADE IN USA!!! and #2 easy. Put coffee in chamber, insert chaff cup in chamber, top with screen, close lid, set timer, and push start. I do it when either DH or I am going to be in the kitchen anyway. There are several places (diff prices) to order the green beans.

This company has reasonable prices on coffees and you get 3 - 1 lb packages of coffee with the roaster to get you started.

http://www.burmancoffee.com/equipment/NescoPro.html 

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10/07/2008

 Forfeng, sorry I can't think and digest what you are asking. Can you give me it in a nutshell. questions for?

Forfeng's picture
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 Tried to explain better (top) did that help?

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