Why guests fail to mention allergies

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Madeleine's picture
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Had some insight into why guests don't mention allergies or restrictions. I asked about allergies and got that hesitation that usually presages a long list of problems. Guest then gave me a few things but then said, 'But don't worry about me, I'll just pick. I'll have a bagel and some yogurt and granola.'

I told her this is not a buffet. We are going to plate up a breakfast that's why I need to know what she can't eat.

She then explained she would never have mentioned anything if I hadn't asked as she assumed there would be a buffet for breakfast.

So there you go.

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Got this today on a rez and it made me chuckle:

"wife allergic to tomatoes, raspberries, mustard, and feathers"

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I wasn't going to read this thread because allergies are really not an issue for us.

Then last night a couple booked in, 10 minutes later they are down saying He has a feather allergy so they want all their bedding changed. (Our duvets and pillows are feather). They were nice enough about it, but she said "He always does this, forgets to tell people ahead of time". Oh great. 

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Perhaps the breakfast tables is another reason. Smaller tables vs a larger one. Or the way you say it to them, or not say it. There are so many variables. And then the "they aren't THAT allergic" to whatever it is. Like my Gluten Free gal who sat down and dove into an obv GLUTEN starter. Oh, is there gluten in this? she said. 

a real allergy wouldn't dare touch anything without asking or telling

Madeleine's picture
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I would think one table means we all eat at the same time. Because who wants to sit down at a table with dishes on it because someone just got up and no one has come to clear yet.

Altho, with our separate tables we still get that with guests grabbing a table that has barely been vacated. I hate that. I end up brushing crumbs into their laps.

muirford's picture
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Madeleine wrote:

I would think one table means we all eat at the same time. Because who wants to sit down at a table with dishes on it because someone just got up and no one has come to clear yet.

Altho, with our separate tables we still get that with guests grabbing a table that has barely been vacated. I hate that. I end up brushing crumbs into their laps.

That happens, sometimes.  If the timing is so bad that someone is sitting when others are leaving and we haven't got their plates yet. Happened this morning when we served an early breakfast for some bikers and another couple sat just as they were leaving. They could have sat in the other dining room, with all clean place settings but they didn't.  We got them started and cleared the other places.  No one seems to get too excited, although of course, I don't know what they don't tell me.  We have enough space that everyone can sit at a clean setting, so we don't have to clear and replace immediately for new folks.

Two tables but one per dining room. It is what it is. I explain about the seating times so no one seems too confused about that part, and it's infrequent that they think buffet.  I'd like one big dining room, but if I didn't have them split the way they are, I'd have no downstairs half bath.  On the whole, I'd rather have the semi-public bathroom.

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By the way I discovered the ENTIRE ISSUE right here:

"Breakfast is served daily 8:30-9:30 am"  Copperhead

"Breakfast is served from 8 AM to 9:30 AM in the sun room." Maddie

tedwin's picture
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We have a similar time range but state it as "Breakfast seatings available at 8:00, 8:30 or 9:00"

It helps us to coordinate use of the griddle and oven to have discrete seating times.  And I think it subtly implies that it's not a self-serve buffet. 

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tedwin wrote:

We have a similar time range but state it as "Breakfast seatings available at 8:00, 8:30 or 9:00"

It helps us to coordinate use of the griddle and oven to have discrete seating times.  And I think it subtly implies that it's not a self-serve buffet. 

I like that Tedwin.

I have told the story many moons ago in Costa Rica, the B&B had a sing up sheet with time slots, you put your name on one, plain and simple. 1/2 increments.  They would service you a fresh fruit smoothie first.  It worked out great. They had extra tables, but left one or two for those who lingered over coffee or conversation when the next round came in. 

They said sign up, and left it to you. You can do it then or later. If you didn't get the one you wanted, oh well, take another... We stress over this too much, me thinks.

muirford's picture
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tedwin wrote:

We have a similar time range but state it as "Breakfast seatings available at 8:00, 8:30 or 9:00"

It helps us to coordinate use of the griddle and oven to have discrete seating times.  And I think it subtly implies that it's not a self-serve buffet. 

I'm not as fancy a chef as you are, tedwinwink.  Maybe something like 'you may be seated for breakfast service between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m'.  It's the seating that implies it's not a buffet, as well as the service.

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muirford wrote:

tedwin wrote:

We have a similar time range but state it as "Breakfast seatings available at 8:00, 8:30 or 9:00"

It helps us to coordinate use of the griddle and oven to have discrete seating times.  And I think it subtly implies that it's not a self-serve buffet. 

I'm not as fancy a chef as you are, tedwinwink.  Maybe something like 'you may be seated for breakfast service between 8:30 and 9:30 a.m'.  It's the seating that implies it's not a buffet, as well as the service.

We have a bit of a problem with the actual sitting part. Yesterday we had guests arrive at breakfast at 9:15. They got coffee and immediately sat down in the comfy chairs to chat with DH. I was glaring at him because he was sitting there with them. HELLO! We don't have time for a natter right now. Get the food out and THEN chat.

But this happens a lot. Guests sit down with coffee in the living room and then won't budge. 'Oh, we're not ready yet, we're just enjoying our coffee! We'll be in in an hour.' Spare me.

So, I leave them there. Then, when the other 6 rooms arrive, all of a sudden the coffee hour is over and they are running for a table.

That's what I need to get down better. How to get them to sit at a table so we can serve them! Some think it's like a restaurant and they're supposed to wait for me to seat them. I just never know what someone is thinking.

If I encourage them to sit they tell me they're not ready. If I don't mention it and the next guest snags the table they're upset they didn't know the rules!

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Coffee is served at the table. The cups are NEVER to leave the dining room. Oh, you want a cup to go? Sure, here's one. I assume that means you don't want breakfast. On you want breakfast, then sit down and the coffee is at the table. Nope, you can't have it both ways.

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Madeleine's picture
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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

Coffee is served at the table. The cups are NEVER to leave the dining room. Oh, you want a cup to go? Sure, here's one. I assume that means you don't want breakfast. On you want breakfast, then sit down and the coffee is at the table. Nope, you can't have it both ways.

Coffee is always going back to the rooms or outside for a cig or to the front porch. We start coffee at 7 and sometimes are on the 3rd pot by the time breakfast is being served.

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Our coffee is in the dining room.  If I see someone getting coffee around the sit-down time, I'll go ahead and start putting out the fruit dishes and the muffins.  So, every setting already has food ready for them to sit and enjoy.  That gets them picking their seats pretty quickly. And as soon as others hear the clang of silverware, they usually all start trickling in. 

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

By the way I discovered the ENTIRE ISSUE right here:

"Breakfast is served daily 8:30-9:30 am"  Copperhead

"Breakfast is served from 8 AM to 9:30 AM in the sun room." Maddie

Are you suggesting that a span of times implies a buffet?  We also have a span of times on our website, and I rarely get a guest who expects a buffet (although I still have the undisclosed food issue problem).  IMO, it is partly a regional thing, and what people have seen at other B&Bs.  Given the low percentage of the public that have even been to B&Bs, ever - I'm surprised we don't all see more of it. Most people who travel have stayed in hotels and most hotels have buffets. Maybe our guests read more than we give them credit for!smiley

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Actually, a span like that MAY imply it to some guests. Maybe instead...

Breakfast table service from 8:00AM to 9:30AM or even

Breakfast service is from 8:30 to 9:30 by reservation.

We introduce it at the door as breakfast is served at either X or Y, which would you prefer? We don't offer a span, because we want guests to have up to 50 minutes for breakfast and we don't have the room in which to have them a different tables.

muirford's picture
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Eric Arthur Blair wrote:

Actually, a span like that MAY imply it to some guests. Maybe instead...

What I get from most guests is that they think we make everyone sit down at 8:30 and leave at 9:30. We don't, so we explain that. The buffet question comes up occasionally, but it is usually from someone who really wants to know what food we make.

I might assume from your first sentence that there is an option outside that window for breakfast, but not with table service (like a continental).  The second statement doesn't apply to me - I don't need a specific time.

Madeleine's picture
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Not sure what the issue is...

IronGate's picture
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Joey Bloggs wrote:

. . . 

"Breakfast is served daily 8:30-9:30 am"  Copperhead

. . . 

The mobile site actually says, "Table service . . . " but doesn't have a picture of it being served. 

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IronGate wrote:

Joey Bloggs wrote:

. . . 

"Breakfast is served daily 8:30-9:30 am"  Copperhead

. . . 

The mobile site actually says, "Table service . . . " but doesn't have a picture of it being served. 

There are a lot of things SAID.

But when you scan something you see the breakfast times. Span of times.  They can say it til they are blue in the face, I realize all over if you read, you will know what is going on, but people don't read. A photo of the cook holding the food may not be the same image as someone SERVING the food.  I am thinking about this as well...I just don't want to put ANYONE on the website, that we serve.  It is kinda tricky...

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Some people are just very private and don't want attention drawn to themselves. I think that is more than anything, or they don't think you will be serving something on their list. Many of late who have had - again - private info - "scopes" are saying "no seeds" ie strawberries.  

Then we also have the opposite it is all about drawing attention to themselves. blush

If it is their first B&B stay they have no idea what to expect.

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My first thought - same as Arkie wink

So do we need to state "NO grazing troff (aka boophy) here, we provide table service to our guests."

The more we put on our sites the more they don't read. 

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copperhead wrote:

The more we put on our sites the more they don't read. 

Put up a PHOTO of you setting a filled plate in front of a hungry guest, as you refill another guest's orange juice glass with the other hand, and they'll get the message.

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Arkansawyer wrote:

copperhead wrote:

The more we put on our sites the more they don't read. 

Put up a PHOTO of you setting a filled plate in front of a hungry guest, as you refill another guest's orange juice glass with the other hand, and they'll get the message.

yes Hip Hip Hurray! Table service in a photo. smiley

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Arkansawyer wrote:

copperhead wrote:

The more we put on our sites the more they don't read. 

Put up a PHOTO of you setting a filled plate in front of a hungry guest, as you refill another guest's orange juice glass with the other hand, and they'll get the message.

There is!  Well not of me but DH with plate & coffee in hand wearing his Copperhead B&B apron. 

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copperhead wrote:

Arkansawyer wrote:

copperhead wrote:

The more we put on our sites the more they don't read. 

Put up a PHOTO of you setting a filled plate in front of a hungry guest, as you refill another guest's orange juice glass with the other hand, and they'll get the message.

There is!  Well not of me but DH with plate & coffee in hand wearing his Copperhead B&B apron. 

Okay now that made me chuckle, a Copperhead B&B apron! haha

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Perhaps it is from all the Bet ter Way videos that show big fancy buffets? Time they started featuring the small normal plated/family-style "here is a breakfast you do to have to get up and get for yourself" a la motel w/free breakfast. It may be a better breakfast but is is still get up and serve yourself. I want to sit there and BE SERVED! Even if I am serving myself from a family-style, I am not having to move my lazy butt to get it - it is THERE, on the table.

Madeleine's picture
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I think it's just a hotel mindset. Rather than having seen any BWTS advertising. Or, possibly they have stayed at a lot of B&B's that put out a spread of 'help yourself' along with the plated meal. Like seashanty used to do.

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You know what they say about the word assume and what it makes u and me.

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