Guests in the Kitchen

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Kilpatrick's picture
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I am a new operator of a B&B and I have been told that should a guest request to see my kitchen I should allow them.  I say no.  What is your opinion?

Tom
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We have a guest fridge and microwave in the guest lounge, so no need to use ours or enter the kitchen. 

But people are curious: if they want, we show the kitchen at check-in, then in the morning, it is off limits.

seashanty's picture
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 welcome. i would say that guests who ask are just curious and don't know the rules (assume the best ) ... decline firmly but politely quoting health regs.  that is what i did. 

it didn't stop people from scooping up dirty dishes and pushing their way in.  they were trying to help and i do understand that. it wasn't helpful, but they felt at home and clearly when they eat over a friend's house they help with the dishes.

Kilpatrick's picture
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Thank you all for your responses.  I am very pleased with what I read.  I was 5 days into the business when a guest opened my kitchen door, while I was making breakfast, and told me how to run my business while his eyes were darting around the room.  I felt very alienated.  Thank God it never happened again.

My kitchen does not get cleaned up until I have checked out the guest that are leaving that day.  I also take the time to ask the remaining guests what they have planned for the day and if I could be of assistance.

I feel ok to say no to anyone who wants a tour of my kitchen.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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Ahhhh, it's the guest who wants to tell the newbie innkeeper how things should be run/changed/look! They never go away, but somehow when guests know that you're new at this they are overly helpful! Take what they say with a grain of salt.

You've found a great place here to share information and to vent, laugh and cry when needed. I'm looking forward to your stories!

 

Joey Camb's picture
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its the ones that say things like "have you thought about ripping this out and completely remodelling that or this? like this?" - feel like saying have you got a money tree you feel like sharing?

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Madeleine's picture
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When we first started (we still get the question) many guests asked how long we had been doing this. When I would look at my watch to give the answer (72 hours now!) we got a LOT of comments about what we should change. We get a lot less now and most of it is stuff we know but can't afford (elevator, new walkways to eliminate stairs).

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Madeleine wrote:
We get a lot less now and most of it is stuff we know but can't afford (elevator, new walkways to eliminate stairs).

Us too, and it takes everything in me not to say 'if I had that kind of money, we wouldn't be talking'wink

Skamokawa's picture
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Our B&B is one year newer than yours. Guests often ask about the house and restoration. The requests to see the kitchen usually come right after breakfast so I'm pretty quick about cleaning as I go. I say yes. seems churlish to say no, and we are not high volume, so for us, not really an imposition. It's very much a working kitchen in an early 20th century vein, only with a restaurant style three compartment sink and stainless countertops, plus the huge range hood with industrial exhaust fan. I love that fan. Whisks the heat right out in the hot weather. One of the health inspectors called our kitchen "the cool one". That still makes me smile. Guys love it because of the restaurant size griddle and all the knives in a row on the magnetic wall holder. I love it because even after a multiple hour-multiple pie baking session I can have the whole kitchen clean up done in forty minutes.

If I were doing many breakfasts in a short time window the kitchen tours would have to wait until non- breakfast hours. Our kitchen door locks so no one can root around for ice or whatever. The guests have their own fridge in the hallway outside their rooms. That happened because a wise forum member mentioned that some guests may travel with medication requiring refrigeration. The best ideas come from forum members. Welcome!

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Kilpatrick's picture
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Thank you for the advice and the welcome.

Kay Nein's picture
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I am just sitting here dreaming of cooking in your kitchen...  Sounds delightful! 

Kilpatrick's picture
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Thank you.  My kitchen is a nice place to work in.  When the guests are out I turn up the volume of my radio while cleaning the kitchen.  Nice way to keep in shape.

Skamokawa's picture
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It's not fancy at all. Just built for cooking, canning, cutting fish, whatever. Just did 2 lbs of fresh basil into freezer pesto for winter. The only time in my life I've ever hankered for a full size cuisenart type processor. I have a tiny Oster chopper that fits on the blender base. Had to do it bit by bit, but will be very happy to have garden pesto in Feb.

It's so nice to have it be after Labor Day!

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Hi & welcome!!! 

As others have stated, no it is not a requirement to allow guests into your kitchen, in fact I would think that if anything it would more l likely be the opposite given health codes and such.   What restaurants allow customers to walk through their kitchens? 

If you are asked and prefer not to honor their request, just say it is against health code - whether you have been told that or not.  It gives you an out and they are likely to accept the statement and move on without feeling you personally are denying them. 

Passing the buck to the authorities works when wanting to skirt many situations in lieu of just saying NO. 

There are those that love the audience while they are cooking, inviting guests to sit at the kitchen bar and chat.  And others that offer cooking classes.......  Just goes to say what ever you feel comfortable with.... don't let guests bully you to do something you rather not!!!

Glad you're here......

Kilpatrick's picture
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Thank you for the advice.  It was very helpful.

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We've only been in business a year, but I've never had anyone request to see my kitchen other than govt officials. So it is an interesting question to think about. Our kitchen is in a private business area behind our reception area. I guess I'd play it by ear.  It really is my business space, so is their intention to "see it" because they want to use it (I direct them to the microwave,  and guest fridge), or to do an inspection - if it were to do an inspection, I might just suggest they might be more comfortable at a place with an open kitchen like our neighbors down the way. Not so much that I find it horrible that they want to see it, but of a sign of requests to come.  Or, are they building a B&B and want to see how we've laid it out...then it would depend on my mood, their attitude, state of cleanliness (of the kitchen),  etc.. Or are they asking because they have a severe food allergy...or because they want to book a party and see if they can use our kitchen for catering...

So, in short, I don't think it necessary you show a guest your kitchen, would find it out of the norm if they asked (at least in my area) -so would try to see if I could understand their intentions to meet how I felt best. Of course, this hasn't happened to me...yet...

Kilpatrick's picture
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Thank you for the advice.  I guess there can be a lot of excuses but what it boils down to is how the individual innkeeper feels.

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BTW, your breakfast photos look delicious!  If your guests want to see your kitchen, I agree with other comments, it's to see how that miracle was performed.

Kilpatrick's picture
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Thank you.  What a nice compliment.  I am always taking pictures of my dishes and sometimes I am amazed at how the creative part of me has come out with working with food.  I guess it is never to late to discover our talents.

Como Depot's picture
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Another no, call it Health Regulations if you want to.

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Kilpatrick's picture
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Thank you.  I like that excuse.

Breakfast Diva's picture
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Oh, and WELCOME!!

Breakfast Diva's picture
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I consider my kitchen my personal space. We have a door that shuts it off from the guest area. My office is also a small end of my kitchen area where there is private guest information. No one is allowed into the kitchen part...they often stand at my little office part when they are checking out and I"m swiping their card. If they ever walk over to the kitchen part, I tell them the health department doesn't allow guests in the kitchen.

Generic's picture
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My kitchen is open, so they can see into it. But walk in and inspect... not happening. And never while I am cooking, that's a hazard.

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Kay Nein's picture
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I have a completely different perspective.  But, one vote doesn't change a consensus.  Our Kitchen is open, adjoining the dining room and on the main hall.  The guests do have their own fridge, but it's in our kitchen (we have two fridges).  We do not live on premise, so have no claim to personal space.  We let them know when their chit-chat or presence is disrupting us and will playfully kick them out.  We are very informal and like the guests to feel at home.  It's never been a problem for us. They can see the mess as we cook and serve - there's no way to hide it.  But, we do clean as we go and it's the first room to be spotless before they guests check out.  Our kitchen is in a central location, so it's unavoidable as people move about the house.  

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I remember the kitchen at a B&B in Railroad PA (former innmate here) who had a central kitchen, and there was no way out of having people sit or stand while he cooked breakfast. He had to get it done either way, so enjoyed it.  It was almost automatic to walk over with a cuppa and be there in the am's. It is like being at someone's home, like you said K9.  

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gillumhouse's picture
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I share my kitchen with DH - who MUST always have everything HE need close by for him to reach it. My workspace is smaller than my desk. I do NOT want anyone in my kitchen. Plus my kitchen is 19 feet long but only 9 feet wide - a former back porch. That makes it as Sanctuary puts it, "a one-butt kitchen".  As has been said - you do not go into a restaurant kitchen and I do not want them in mine.

In the past, I have had people come down for coffee while I was cooking - to chat - and it just totally puts me out of rhythm. No longer. I am working and it is a ballet of its own to get everything ready at the appointed time. A nimrod on stage ruins the entire ballet and endangers the ballerina and the same occurs with a nimrod (other than me)  in my kitchen.  (I cringe when DH actually is up and comes to make HIS breakfast when I am in the middle of doing guest breakfasts - that means I work around him. This is an old man, Folks, who is old school and has not been told no since he was 12 years old. HIM I have to live with, guests will leave.)

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Welcome to the forum Kilpatrick!

You have a lovely place, and are boasting about a wonderful breakfast, which makes me want to stay there, and indeed even watch you make the magical dishes in your kitchen. I feel that this is a compliment to you for a guest wanting to see your kitchen!

As you can read by the other responses we have a kind of territorial thing going in our kitchens. Mainly because guests have the whole house and we need our privacy. Some inns allow guests in the kitchen, for myself I would burn myself if anyone was having coffee and watching me.

They will want to peek into the kitchen, if they ask, they are being polite. Sneaking in is another story! And of course that happens and you have to safeguard yourself from that.

The only issue I have with your breakfast/cuisine page on your website is I want to click on the images and see them better! crying

Kilpatrick's picture
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Thank you for sharing.  If you would like to see the pics I can forward some to your email address.

Madeleine's picture
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Kilpatrick wrote:

I am a new operator of a B&B and I have been told that should a guest request to see my kitchen I should allow them.  I say no.  What is your opinion?

Firstly, who told you that? Secondly, is it easy to show guests the kitchen or does it involve them going thru your private space?

I doubt many guests will ask. But, don't show off your kitchen in an 'uncleaned' state. Not during breakfast while food prep is going on and not before it is spic and span. If it would be easy to show guests the kitchen without them tramping all over and making a mess, it's not going to hurt. (My kitchen is wide open...no doors, walls or windows to keep the guests out. They watch us cook and clean.)

Guests would not be able to go thru a restaurant kitchen during the meal so treat your space that way if it's going to be too much effort for you or they have to go into your personal space. You deserve YOUR space.

We had a look at an inn kitchen that made us decide we'd never send anyone there. Garbage everywhere, uncleaned countertops, everything underfoot sticky.

Kilpatrick's picture
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Thank you for sharing.  The only way for a guest to get into the kitchen is by opening the door.  When I bring meals to the guests the door shuts automatically and quickly behind me due to fire regulations and I like that.

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 And just who told you that?   Is it a health dept rule?? NO! Off limits. No rule you have to show any guest your kitchen. Keep them out!

Have you taken an aspiring innkeeper class? If not...get to one quick.

Kilpatrick's picture
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Thank you for your opinion....I will look into taking classes.

Joey Camb's picture
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Its one thing to allow a guest to view - another that they can walk into it any time. We have an open kitchen where guests can see in during service - however the entire breakfast room floor is off limits to guests after and before breakfast.

Bigbid's picture
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We have a self locking push button pad and an automatic door hinge on our kitchen so no one goes in there.  It use to be that if I left the kitchen for ten seconds to put something out, a guest would open the door to bus their own plates.  Now I enter a code EVERY time I go through the door.  Our kitchen is spotless right after breakfast is over.  During breakfast, not so much.

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Flower's picture
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06/19/2011

Hello Canuck

Welcome here. 

There  is no way I allow any guest in my kitchen. They have their own small fridge and a wine fridge so there is no reason for them to be in my kitchen. I have a food safety certificate posted in their to see and do books. That way they know.... They will have their food prepared and looked after in the correct way. They will not get food poisoning. If that is what they are concerned about.

I have a question for you. What will the weather be like in Nov. Should I expect to see some snow. It has been a while since I lived out that way.

 

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Kilpatrick's picture
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Thank you for sharing.  As for winter in November is chilly and sometimes we will see flurries but nothing that will stay for long.  Snow pretty well makes more of a permanent appearance by Christmas and sometimes not til January.

Flower's picture
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Thank you for sharing.

Love!!!!heart your site.  Wish you all the best.

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