Misinterpretation of what is provided for breakfast

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Madeleine's picture
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Anyone else have guests sit down for breakfast and try to order what they want? We've had this happen a couple of times so far and I have adapted the breakfast page on the website to make it abundantly clear that WE decide what's for breakfast. We do work with guest allergies but they are never the ones who tell me what they'll be having for breakfast when I bring the starter out. (The smart ones will whisper to me, 'I'm the (fill in allergy here).' Which is good because I don't always know who is the allergy if I didn't check them in.)

I've had a few of them say, 'But on your website you show photos of what I can order.' Or, 'I read on your website that I can order what I want.' No, that is not on there.

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Generic's picture
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I spoke too soon. Someone sent me their breakfast request in email.... and I had to tell them that we don't do breakfast requests.

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Ice
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We have an open kitchen and we don't have a people wanting to order what they want.  I think it is something else.

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Madeleine's picture
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Ice wrote:

We have an open kitchen and we don't have a people wanting to order what they want.  I think it is something else.

I think it is just the type of guest we get. I've had stories I've told that have had innkeepers shaking their heads, so this area does seem to get a 'different' crowd.

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we do to order from a menu on the table - despite this they will ask do you do XYZ? which is either on the menu or not !

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camberleyhotelharrogate@yahoo.co.uk wrote:

we do to order from a menu on the table - despite this they will ask do you do XYZ? which is either on the menu or not !

Same here. I think that's fairly standard in the UK. We have max. 6 guests so it's manageable (just) although it is difficult when they all come down at the same time and they all want something different, but I cook them as fast as I can in the order they arrived in the dinning room.

"We don't do fast food, we do good food as fast as we can!"

 

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Joey Camb's picture
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We cook to order with 2 of us and at full capacity 24 - and its managable longest wait is 15 minutes which I think is pretty good and we have a nightmare kitchen!

Joey Camb's picture
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we do to order from a menu on the table - despite this they will ask do you do XYZ? which is either on the menu or not !

Silverspoon's picture
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 We don't tell guests what they are having for breakfast until the plates reach the table.  It is obvious to them that DH is serving and I am in the kitchen cooking.  We don't give them a choice unless they have told us that they have a food allergy...and even then, they get what I choose to make for them.

No one has ever tried to order something different, although like JB, we have had guests (mostly Brits) who just want toast.  

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Never. Not in 9 years has anyone tried to order. Now they have pulled the "I will just have some toast I am not that hungry today" usually an older guest.  They think we have toast on the ready all the time, I never do, I don't do toast, well this year I have twice, for a single business guest. Shhh!

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seashanty's picture
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sometimes, it was a language barrier ... guests from france, from india ...

other times, i 'thought' maybe they were confusing my place with the one across the road that had a restaurant

still other times, i had the feeling that they felt rules did not apply to them. they totally did not understand how i planned each morning.  getting breakfast together for 20 or so by myself, if one couple started TELLING me they were having eggs then the others would chime in and say, 'I'll have eggs, too.'  and i had to say ... 'i am working alone here, i can't do that.' 

i made up fairly large tent cards with Today's Breakfast, a quick description and a picture

I put them on all the breakfast tables and I'd write it on the sandwhich board sign that blocked the way into the breakfast room.  If i had it together in advance, I'd put tent cards in each guest room that just said 'Breakfast will be ...... , and the time I served it ... mine was a window of time.

i didn't always have it planned in advance, but usually i did.

i had about 5 different breakfasts that I usually rotated and i constantly re-used the tent cards (just printed them off my computer) 

they might argue that my website was wrong (it wasn't), or that i told them something different on the phone (i didn't) but they couldn't argue with the signs all around. 

as each entered the breakfast room, i would invite them to get coffee and juice and i would TELL them ... Breakfast today is ...

if they got insistent, i'd just smile as sweetly as i could (as in grrrrrrinn) and repeat ... breakfast today is ....

i do recall, the woman who gave me so much grief about breakfast, insisting that i told her on the phone i would make it to order ... when i fluffed her room that morning i saw the printout from the website along with her reservation confirmation and right there it said cook's choice and she had written ... 'the innkeeper decides what to serve.  no menu'

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I like the tent card idea or you could use some of those cute photo holders.  Today's innkeeper's choice breakfast is: 

Maddie, it's really interesting that you keep getting these folks that think that they can order up breakfast.  Your website appears clear to me. 

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 That is why I always postedthe menu for the next day and always pointed it out to them as I showed them to their room.  and said, if there is something here you cannot eat, let me know right away. Most of the time I knew ahead if there were special needs. If they  said something, we could usually  provide it...if it was within reason.

But everyone knew what they were getting.

just looked at your breakfast page.. it is clear, except you do not say we need to know in ADVANCE. I think that should be added to clarify

 

Madeleine's picture
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catlady wrote:

just looked at your breakfast page.. it is clear, except you do not say we need to know in ADVANCE. I think that should be added to clarify

 

I will fix that.

We stopped telling guests in advance what the breakfast was going to be. I am thus far amazed at how that seems to have stopped the 'I can't have that' comments in the morning. It's as if telling them in advance gave them time to think up why they couldn't have what we planned. NOT KNOWING doesn't give them the chance to decide they want to be difficult.

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Do other B&Bs/inns in your area have a limited breakfast menu?  Just thinking that might be it?

I only had this happen rarely with the guests who were booked through the university, even though I sent the confirm to the booking individual and requested that they advise them of our breakfast set-up.  Also, tried to mention on the "tour" about how breakfast worked...but you know how that goes!  

I will say that with certain VIP whole house bookings, I have done a semi made-to-order breakfast.  But when they saw what they could have, they came around.  hahahaha!   

Generic's picture
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We've had it once or twice, but very rarely.  

What we write on the website, to paraphase is....

Breakfast varies from day to day, so we can't give you the menu ahead of time. We use seasonal products and choose based on availability. Expect that the dishes will be different almost every day because of this. And here's a list of some of the breakfasts that we have served: (and a list)

We sometimes get people make special requests for things that they have read, we just say that it isn't a problem, but there is a $50 charge for special order breakfast. (Not per person, but to make a special breakfast out of rotation. It covers the cost of spoiled items and the cost of out of season produce, our time to shop for them and of course to make me smile.) We've never had anyone take us up on the offer, though I am sure that eventually someone will. Guests seem to get a charge out of coming for breakfast without a hint of what it is... just the smell wafting through the house. 

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Our inn is set up a little differently, I have to deliver breakfast to the rooms or serve it on the porch.  So I don't normally see guests until I'm serving it all up and then they really don't have a choice.  I have had people ask me at check in or before what kind of breakfast I serve and then request a specific one.  I don't mind that so much, at least I know they'll get exactly what they want. 

But to have someone request as they sit down at the table?  Seems a bit presumptuous to me.  What kind of things do they request? 

Madeleine's picture
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"I'll have scrambled eggs, toast and bacon. Black coffee. OJ." Like it's a diner. I can get them started on the coffee and juice by pointing to them and saying, 'Help yourself!' I have been grumbled at when guests realize I am not going to wait on them hand and foot. These same people will say, 'Can you refill my coffee,' as I walk by with someone else's breakfast.

Sometimes I have told them what we're having and then they'll say, 'I'll have...' and I have to say, 'Today's breakfast IS...' a little more firmly.

Then I get the whole 'it says on your website...' and they pull out their phones to prove it to me. I have the patience of Job at that point.

I've had guests order quiche. Pancakes. Eggs bennie. Poached eggs. Over easy. Muffins. Certain fruits.

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Madeleine wrote:

"I'll have scrambled eggs, toast and bacon. Black coffee. OJ." Like it's a diner. I can get them started on the coffee and juice by pointing to them and saying, 'Help yourself!' I have been grumbled at when guests realize I am not going to wait on them hand and foot. These same people will say, 'Can you refill my coffee,' as I walk by with someone else's breakfast.

Sometimes I have told them what we're having and then they'll say, 'I'll have...' and I have to say, 'Today's breakfast IS...' a little more firmly.

Then I get the whole 'it says on your website...' and they pull out their phones to prove it to me. I have the patience of Job at that point.

I've had guests order quiche. Pancakes. Eggs bennie. Poached eggs. Over easy. Muffins. Certain fruits.

It's your layout. You have one in the kitchen cooking and you our rambling around, 100% your layout. I dare them try that with me. 

On the other hand, when my DD'sx2 help, they both wear a waist apron. I actually want them to learn all the proper serving skills (yeah want, you would think after all these years they would already know it, but not the way I prefer).  

If they want to tip we can refill their coffee!

We have had the breakfast on the porch special for the cottage, and each and every morning there has been a gratuity, I wish more people would take advantage of this special! It is not much more work than serving them inside here!

Madeleine's picture
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Not sure why that wee tiny kitchen would make someone think we could whip up poached eggs with hollandaise at the drop of a hat! But, they do see the kitchen. Maybe it just all looks so friendly and casual and they don't know that the other guests didn't order what they're eating because they didn't all sit down together.

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Madeleine wrote:

Not sure why that wee tiny kitchen would make someone think we could whip up poached eggs with hollandaise at the drop of a hat! But, they do see the kitchen. Maybe it just all looks so friendly and casual and they don't know that the other guests didn't order what they're eating because they didn't all sit down together.

Because they see you, that is the way it was in a little diner, you sat at the counter and watched them cook. I watched a new show about the Colony of Hutterites in Montana, I had to, they resemble gnomes, and the one left to get a job off the colony at a diner, and she was so confused, she said where we are there are 49 people and they all eat at the same time and the same thing!

Madeleine's picture
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So, they think you're opening up a box of frozen pancakes because they can't see what you're doing? And they assume all you've got in there are frozen pancakes? But, because they can see my kitchen they assume I have every possible item they might want? I'm dense. Even in a diner, they wait for the menu. Or maybe they don't. But we don't even look the least bit like a diner!

No, wait. I can see how this works. Not joking here. They have looked in the fridge and KNOW we have 2 eggs and they want them. Or, they've checked to see what's in there and they make up what they want to eat.

It's been awhile but the summer is young...

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

Even though I ask about restrictions and allergies, I have had cinnamon remembered as the bread pudding and pumpkin muffins were served and another asked as I put the fruit on the table - Is that MANGO? I cannot have anything that has touched mango!   It was as if she could not believe we would have mango in Podunk.

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