This old dog may try a new trick!

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Silverspoon's picture
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Going into our 25th year of making B&B breakfasts I am going to try something new.  Gasp!

Yup, it's overdue...but I'm still not convinced that it will be worth the time and effort, so I am hoping that you can chime in with your opinions. (See, I have noticed that you all have opinions wink)

This idea does not represent a big change, but it will necessitate some rearrangement in the dining room and a small expense as well as some additional prep time for me.  Let me get to the question...

For those of you who serve a full breakfast, do you also offer homemade yogurt and home made granola?  If you do...how often do your guests choose those items?  Do you have them available for self-serve, or do you verbally let them know that they are available? 

I am considering setting up self-serve area with these "healthy" options as a nod to the increase in the number of guests who don't eat meat, don't eat eggs, don't want much breakfast, ate too much for dinner the night before, or are looking for an additional protein.  We will still serve each guest our full breakfast (cook's choice), even though it kills us to waste good food on some who clearly do not enjoy a big breakfast, but I am wondering if this "healthy" station, as an addition, might come under the "low hanging fruit" category. We do presently verbally offer Greek yogurt, since there is not room on the table for it, but very few guests ask for it.  Perhaps if it were self-serve it would be more popular.

What do you think?

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Joey Camb's picture
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we have honey toasted muslie made locally and its the most popular of our cereals - lots of people eat it with yogurt probably 1 in 4

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Madeleine's picture
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When you serve breakfast right now do you cook everything up in advance or do you cook it as the guests sit down? If you 'cook to order' why not offer the granola and yogurt as an either/or option?

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We have help-yourself granola and yogurt on the sideboard. The granola is homemade and we also have two other (store bought) cereals available. The yogurts are in individual serving tubs kept cold on a bowl of ice; not homemade but it is "natural" and fruit-bottom, ie no pectin, gelatin, gums or artificial sweeteners/colours. Milk is available in a little dorm fridge below. The baked good of the day is also help-yourself on the sideboard.

I don't put out any add-ins but that's a good idea if you want to make it special. We serve a fruit course to start and some people add yogurt and/or granola right in with their fruit. Some of our fruit courses include yogurt and/or granola so it's superfluous at that point, I suppose.

I'd say on average 1 in 4 people eat a yogurt. Usually it's before the main course but occasionally after. I get a lot of overseas guests and --generalizing here-- the Europeans do like their yogurt, often with granola or cereal.

I've never asked if anyone wanted the sideboard options instead of the main course. I always serve the main course no matter how much they've already eaten.

One thing I learned: when giving the tour of breakfast and describing what's on the sideboard, I end by reminding guests to "save room for breakfast; I'll be back with the main course in a few minutes" or else they'll think the continental is all they're getting and dive in in a big way.

Silverspoon's picture
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Happyjacks, Thanks for your thoughts.  One question...do you offer a soy based cereal...like Golean?  What do you find are the most popular cold cereals?

 

 

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Silverspoon wrote:

Happyjacks, Thanks for your thoughts.  One question...do you offer a soy based cereal...like Golean?  What do you find are the most popular cold cereals?

I don't offer Golean but sometimes Vector (another higher-protein cereal) if it's on sale. Usually it's Shreddies for the plain janes and then a flake-style with some bling. There are a few brands that do flakes with other grains and freeze dried berries; I get whatever is on sale and don't mind mixing it up.

Granola is most popular, then the blingy, then the Shreddies. When I tried cheerios, they didn't move.

The key for me is to only get kinds that hubby and I will eat. Each cereal and granola is stored displayed in smallish glass canisters, about 1 litre capacity, with air tight lids. Even still, they'll lose their freshness after a while if not consumed so I rotate them to our personal cereal stash and put new stuff out for guests. We eat cereal anyway so it's not a waste for us. Otherwise we'd be throwing out cereal.

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Silverspoon wrote:

Happyjacks, Thanks for your thoughts.  One question...do you offer a soy based cereal...like Golean?  What do you find are the most popular cold cereals?

 

 

 

We put out containers of granola, Cheerios and Raisin Bran.  We also put out snack packs of Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, Corn Pops and something else.  I 'm always surprised when someone takes a snack pak.  But they do!

The most popular is the Raisin Bran.  

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TheBeachHouse wrote:

Silverspoon wrote:

Happyjacks, Thanks for your thoughts.  One question...do you offer a soy based cereal...like Golean?  What do you find are the most popular cold cereals?

 

 

 

We put out containers of granola, Cheerios and Raisin Bran.  We also put out snack packs of Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, Corn Pops and something else.  I 'm always surprised when someone takes a snack pak.  But they do!

The most popular is the Raisin Bran.  

"something else" let me guess Apple Jacks.

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

TheBeachHouse wrote:

Silverspoon wrote:

Happyjacks, Thanks for your thoughts.  One question...do you offer a soy based cereal...like Golean?  What do you find are the most popular cold cereals?

 

 

 

We put out containers of granola, Cheerios and Raisin Bran.  We also put out snack packs of Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, Corn Pops and something else.  I 'm always surprised when someone takes a snack pak.  But they do!

The most popular is the Raisin Bran.  

"something else" let me guess Apple Jacks.

No one takes the Apple Jacks. I always have all of those boxes leftover when the rest of the box is empty! I give them to the food pantry. They can use them in the cafe.

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Joey Bloggs wrote:

TheBeachHouse wrote:

Silverspoon wrote:

Happyjacks, Thanks for your thoughts.  One question...do you offer a soy based cereal...like Golean?  What do you find are the most popular cold cereals?

 

 

 

We put out containers of granola, Cheerios and Raisin Bran.  We also put out snack packs of Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, Corn Pops and something else.  I 'm always surprised when someone takes a snack pak.  But they do!

The most popular is the Raisin Bran.  

"something else" let me guess Apple Jacks.

 

Yeah, I couldn't remember.  I cannot imagine grabbing a snack pak of sugary crap cereal at a B&B, but I'm not everyone!  

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TheBeachHouse wrote:

Joey Bloggs wrote:

TheBeachHouse wrote:

Silverspoon wrote:

Happyjacks, Thanks for your thoughts.  One question...do you offer a soy based cereal...like Golean?  What do you find are the most popular cold cereals?

 

 

 

We put out containers of granola, Cheerios and Raisin Bran.  We also put out snack packs of Fruit Loops, Frosted Flakes, Corn Pops and something else.  I 'm always surprised when someone takes a snack pak.  But they do!

The most popular is the Raisin Bran.  

"something else" let me guess Apple Jacks.

 

Yeah, I couldn't remember.  I cannot imagine grabbing a snack pak of sugary crap cereal at a B&B, but I'm not everyone!  

Ruh roh, do I feel a "Great Tissue Box Heist of 13" coming on...but for Apple Jacks? haha

 

I mentioned them as they are the ones always left behind, no one wants the Apple Jacks it has become a joke with a few on the forum...

**We need a new thread on this, is it wrong for someone to take a yogurt, or apple, or applejacks to their room or for later, or for the road? 

I know our guests WOULD come in AFTER CHECKING OUT to get bottles of water for the road, I stopped providing them. They were not for their traveling to the next destination pleasure... 

Silverspoon's picture
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Nope...I won't do that.  This is supposed to be the "healthy" alternative to the already healthy breakfast so I simply won't offer Fruit loops!   Besides, we don't have kids here and we are so small that I would end up throwing out all those little boxes at the end of the season.  But, I might consider Raisin Bran and prunes....we get a fair number of older people who might appreciate the extra fiber, ahem. cool

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Silverspoon wrote:

Nope...I won't do that.  This is supposed to be the "healthy" alternative to the already healthy breakfast so I simply won't offer Fruit loops!   Besides, we don't have kids here and we are so small that I would end up throwing out all those little boxes at the end of the season.  But, I might consider Raisin Bran and prunes....we get a fair number of older people who might appreciate the extra fiber, ahem. cool

 

I was responding to your question as to what was the most popular cereal.

 

Most popular - Raisin Bran.  Second - granola.  Third - sugary crap boxes.   Surprisingly (to me, anyway) the least poplular is the Cheerios.

debis7860's picture
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Hi,

My first post. I love greek yogurt and granola. I would appreciate being offered it. Sometimes when we are traveling we are not eating the best at dinner and I like to start my day as healthy as I can. I love fresh fruit with this too. I like a good size bowl so if you can offer it out of a quart size container I think that would be best. I also like the vanilla or honey flavor instead of just plain. I want to offer this in our B & B  along with smoothies. My husband thinks no one is wanting healthy when they are on vacation. But I think he is wrong. I also want to offer oatmeal with toppings.

I think you are heading in a good direction myself. People are getting more health conscious all the time.

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Welcome Deb!  Since you are new here to the site, how about telling us a little about yourself. 

So, if I understand what you said.  DH would chow down on the full breakfast but you would saunter up to the yogurt station, dish out some granola and yogurt and...how about a choice of dried fruit, or nuts? Would you be happy with dried cranberries, toasted coconut and toasted nuts as add-ins?  We give everyone at the table a fresh, seasonal fruit cup as the first course and may not want to add additional perishables, like strawberries at the yogurt station.

I can't argue with the idea of starting out with this cold, but healthy choice..we always offer it but do not put it on the table as a matter of course.  I'm just trying to figure out if enough guests want it to warrant making everything home-made and setting up a special station for it.  Unfortunately, the more choices we give the more picky the guests get!  LOL  sort of like "Gee it's nice they have yogurt on hand and I really would have had some but the bowl was too small, I don't like unsweetened yogurt and they didn't have strawberries to add in." 

See what I mean?  I'm trying to avoid this type of nitpicking that comes with every little thing we innkeepers offer.  

debis7860's picture
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Yes i would love the fresh fruit starter then head over to the help yourself station of whatever kind of yogurt and toppers. Then if you ask if i want the reg breakfast say no. Hubby would chow down on. whatever you would fix. Smiling
My hubby is 5 years retired from UPS. Retired very early and I only went to work full time about 12 years ago after raising our 2 sons on our farm. We had a few animals and the boys kept me running with sports. Don't know how working mothers do it all ...
I have recently worked hard to loose weight and get healthy and want a job that makes it easier to stay that way. Sitting behind a desk 9 hours a day was killing my joy. I know how to do most everything it takes to run a B & B and know I can learn anything I need to. Hubby is excited to join me and work his but off too on this adventure. That's the long and short of it...

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Welcome

Silverspoon's picture
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Hmmm, I have an idea for you.  Our favorite Bar Harbor inn is for sale.  Great in town location, innkeepers have been running the place for 20 years but want to retire.  Interested?

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BTW You know I have to do this --

InSpIRe Women’s Retreats
Inspirational Spiritually Invigorating Retreats for Women

mess it up like this since it is at a B&B:

INNspire Women's Retreats

Innspirational Spiritually Innvigorating ...

debis7860's picture
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Love the idea. Thanks!!!

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debis7860 wrote:

Hi,

My first post. I love greek yogurt and granola. I would appreciate being offered it. Sometimes when we are traveling we are not eating the best at dinner and I like to start my day as healthy as I can. I love fresh fruit with this too. I like a good size bowl so if you can offer it out of a quart size container I think that would be best. I also like the vanilla or honey flavor instead of just plain. I want to offer this in our B & B  along with smoothies. My husband thinks no one is wanting healthy when they are on vacation. But I think he is wrong. I also want to offer oatmeal with toppings.

I think you are heading in a good direction myself. People are getting more health conscious all the time.


Welcome Deb!

Yes this is in ADDITION to the regular breakfasts, many of us offer a muesli/yogurt type starter. Our guests 95% of the time love it, so you can tell your hubby he is way off... Smiling Oatmeal with the toppings is very popular right now as well. 

I think the question here is in addition to, as in a "Help yourself" portion of the meal and perhaps prior to the main sit down breakfast, to which I think would be terrific!

We're glad you're here...

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I think it is terrific.

Here is our scenario.

I am married to a man who lifts weights. He requires a large amount of protein, he also requires small meals throughout the day (why we carry protein bars around in car/backpack etc). The first meal is immediate. If we had to wait for breakfast at a B&B it would not work for him. I also like to be up and at em earlier, so for me that would be great as well.

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We usually open the door to the dining room for breakfast at 8:30.  Guests have coffee and tea available in the adjoining common room from 7:00, unless thay indicate that they are early risers when DH goes over the breakfast details at check in.  In any event, I was planning to have the G&Y station in the dining room.  Am I correct in thinking you would prefer it in the common room with the coffee?   And are you saying that having a "healthy" breakfast of G&Y might not preclude someone from also having the full breakfast?

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Silverspoon wrote:

We usually open the door to the dining room for breakfast at 8:30.  Guests have coffee and tea available in the adjoining common room from 7:00, unless thay indicate that they are early risers when DH goes over the breakfast details at check in.  In any event, I was planning to have the G&Y station in the dining room.  Am I correct in thinking you would prefer it in the common room with the coffee?   And are you saying that having a "healthy" breakfast of G&Y might not preclude someone from also having the full breakfast?

You will have guests who eat everything. We have 6-7 boxed cereals out. Guests will sit down with their coffee and then get up and get 2-3 boxes of cereal. When I bring the starter I ask if they are having the cooked breakfast and they look at me like I have 2 heads. OF COURSE! they are having everything!

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Madeleine wrote:

Silverspoon wrote:

We usually open the door to the dining room for breakfast at 8:30.  Guests have coffee and tea available in the adjoining common room from 7:00, unless thay indicate that they are early risers when DH goes over the breakfast details at check in.  In any event, I was planning to have the G&Y station in the dining room.  Am I correct in thinking you would prefer it in the common room with the coffee?   And are you saying that having a "healthy" breakfast of G&Y might not preclude someone from also having the full breakfast?

You will have guests who eat everything. We have 6-7 boxed cereals out. Guests will sit down with their coffee and then get up and get 2-3 boxes of cereal. When I bring the starter I ask if they are having the cooked breakfast and they look at me like I have 2 heads. OF COURSE! they are having everything!

That was DH before the need to diet kicked in!!  If folks really want all that food I'm happy to give it to them.  It's the ones that just take it and move it around the plate that drive me nuts.  I Hate to throw good food away.

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Madeleine wrote:

Silverspoon wrote:

We usually open the door to the dining room for breakfast at 8:30.  Guests have coffee and tea available in the adjoining common room from 7:00, unless thay indicate that they are early risers when DH goes over the breakfast details at check in.  In any event, I was planning to have the G&Y station in the dining room.  Am I correct in thinking you would prefer it in the common room with the coffee?   And are you saying that having a "healthy" breakfast of G&Y might not preclude someone from also having the full breakfast?

You will have guests who eat everything. We have 6-7 boxed cereals out. Guests will sit down with their coffee and then get up and get 2-3 boxes of cereal. When I bring the starter I ask if they are having the cooked breakfast and they look at me like I have 2 heads. OF COURSE! they are having everything!

I had a guest on a special rate because he was an instructor for a non-profit I like. Most often, he was the only guest and he belonged to the "clean plate club". No matter how much food was on the table, he ate everything! No leftovers. And he was NOT fat! 

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Silverspoon wrote:

We usually open the door to the dining room for breakfast at 8:30.  Guests have coffee and tea available in the adjoining common room from 7:00, unless thay indicate that they are early risers when DH goes over the breakfast details at check in.  In any event, I was planning to have the G&Y station in the dining room.  Am I correct in thinking you would prefer it in the common room with the coffee?   And are you saying that having a "healthy" breakfast of G&Y might not preclude someone from also having the full breakfast?

YES!!

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Hmm, I hadn't considered that....so thanks.  I'll have to see if there is room in the common room for the G+Y. And then I'll have to consider if it is worth setting it up there and then moving it to the dining room for breakfast.  If we were a larger place I'm betting it would be a hit and worth it.  But for 6 guests I might just be spinning my wheels most mornings.

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Sounds like you are defeating your purpose.  You want to give a healthy option to the people who don't want the big breakfast.  Putting it in the common room with the coffee is telling them this is their first course to tide them over until you are done cooking their real breakfast.  And also doesn't help you know how many have decided not to have the big breakfast (crucial information for the kitchen)  Like Madeline (sp) said, I think you'll find that more people will be eating both meals and not considering it just an alternative.  Could you just establish their needs & desires the night before & serve these yummies to just that person?

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K9 wrote:

Sounds like you are defeating your purpose.  You want to give a healthy option to the people who don't want the big breakfast.  Putting it in the common room with the coffee is telling them this is their first course to tide them over until you are done cooking their real breakfast.  And also doesn't help you know how many have decided not to have the big breakfast (crucial information for the kitchen)  Like Madeline (sp) said, I think you'll find that more people will be eating both meals and not considering it just an alternative.  Could you just establish their needs & desires the night before & serve these yummies to just that person?

True. But it is a nice gesture, I know we would appreciate it. I know there is an innmate here who offers a homemade biscotti in the am with coffee before the sit down meal.

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K9, you hit the problem spot on.  

"Putting it in the common room with the coffee is telling them this is their first course to tide them over until you are done cooking their real breakfast."  

That's what I think, so I will set up in the dining room.  If someone lets us know the night before that they need an early breakfast because they have to catch a ferry or whale watch or want to skip the hot breakfast to get an early start etc., we will open the dining room door early for them and tell then to help themselves to a cold breakfast.  We will put freshly baked goods in the same location. This allows us to stick to our tried and true full breakfast schedule without totally changing its rhythm.  We have found that folks who absolutely have to have food earlier will bring their own and store it in the guest refrigerator....I know that is what I do. 

"And also doesn't help you know how many have decided not to have the big breakfast (crucial information for the kitchen)"

 

So, once they are in the dining room, the first (fruit) course is served, the juice choice is offered and served and I come in to see who would like the hot entree, pointing out the NEW delicious healthy option of freshly made yogurt and granola.  If someone wants both the granola/yogurt and the hot entree, I have no problem with that.  But I am betting that 25% of the women will stick to the lighter option...at least on the first day until they see the wonderful entree that is served. wink  As we work out the bugs in this plan, I will plan easy, individual options ( scrambled eggs, pancakes, eggs bene etc.) for the entree so I am not left with a lot of baked casseroles that were not eaten.  Once I have figured out the rhythm  of this set up we can tweak it.  But for now I'm going to get going on setting up the station, practicing making homemade yogurt and trying some new muesli recipes.cool

I want to thank all of you for your input...it really has helped me to think through this small but very important second B in the B+B!  heart

 

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How are you going to store the yogurt? I'm curious because a yogurt 'station' with open bowls of yogurt will probably need to be thrown out after breakfast. Health dept.

So, I'm thinking...you put out the toppings, which are dry and non-perishable, and ask who wants a bowl of yogurt and explain they can top it themselves once it is served.

Boxed cereal - the big sellers here are Raisin Bran, Frosted Flakes and Froot Loops. (Yes, the kids, teens & 20's like Froot Loops!) Apple Jacks do not sell at all. (You can get them in the box of 30 at the big box store. Once you know what goes by you you can buy THAT cereal in a case from Amazon.)

But it's definitely Raisin Bran here.

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Raisin Bran for the older folks...and prunes too.  yup.   As for the yogurt, I am thinking of putting it in a crock with a tight fitting lid and a ladle Set on ice packs it will stay cold and guests can help themselves.  I am thinking of making an icepack envelope to wrap around the crock to avoid the mess of ice cubes and to ensure that it stays chilled.  If this doesn't work out I'll just store it in the refrigerator and dole it out as requested like you have suggested.  I am really hoping that guests actually use the homemade yogurt...if there is not enough call for it I won't bother and will can the whole idea, going back to our present system of just telling them that we have it on hand or putting small individual containers on the table.

I have tried the small boxes of cereal before and they don't move.  We are too small, don't have kids at the table and so I end up throwing it all away at the end of the season.  DH thinks I'm nuts to be messing around by adding the G+Y station....but I think he is deeply entrenched in his rut and does not realize that there is a big demand for this "lighter" approach to breakfast.   We'll see who's right this summer.  wink

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I'd be more concerned about 'double dippers' with the yogurt than that you would let it get warm. LOTS of people don't get that they can't TASTE it and then use the same ladle to get more. Nor can they use their own spoon from the table to 'top off'.

We have a small dorm fridge with a freezer. The number of guests who reach in and grab ice with their hands is more than I would think. I have almost leapt across the counter to stop them.

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I think I would purchase "jelly jar" size mason jars (half pint?) and put out a few of those each morning in the iced tray (bury an 8x8 pan in ice & filled with ice) since you are small. That way you have reusable individual containers - do NOT put lids on them or they will walk! - and will minimize waste problems.

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Silverspoon wrote:

Raisin Bran for the older folks...and prunes too.  yup.   As for the yogurt, I am thinking of putting it in a crock with a tight fitting lid and a ladle Set on ice packs it will stay cold and guests can help themselves.  I am thinking of making an icepack envelope to wrap around the crock to avoid the mess of ice cubes and to ensure that it stays chilled.  If this doesn't work out I'll just store it in the refrigerator and dole it out as requested like you have suggested.  I am really hoping that guests actually use the homemade yogurt...if there is not enough call for it I won't bother and will can the whole idea, going back to our present system of just telling them that we have it on hand or putting small individual containers on the table.

I've seen yogurt makers that use individual glass jars in the machine. Could you use something like this so you can sit the individual serving jars in a bowl of ice? Or perhaps if you make a big batch of yogurt you could transfer it to little mason jars for storing and serving.

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Well that is sort of what we do now..."full breakfast or perhaps something lighter.. cereal and yogurt".  But not many opt out of the breakfast, even though they don't always eat it.  One of our hallmarks is our home-made breakfasts...just about everything is made from  scratch using as much as we can from our own organic garden in season.  So I thought that perhaps if we offered a place where guests could help themselves to home-made yogurt and home-made granola they might feel like they were getting something special, above and beyond their usual Yoplait and rice crispies indecision.

We don't have room on the table to display individual yogurts, I have tried that but it's just too congested.  That was the reason I thought of  making separate station.  I keep the granola in an airtight clear container and certainly would not throw it out if it went un-used. 

Madeleine's picture
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I think offering it at the time of making the breakfast and specifically stating it is homemade might get the uptick you'll need to make it feel like you're getting somewhere.

I, too, hate when guests say nothing but just push the food around. Altho, we really have few guests who 'say nothing' when they have something to say!

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What if you offer a choice of 'chef's choice' or 'yogurt and granola plate'?  No waste and you can still serve, but the alternative.

Another suggestion - also less waste, instead of a tub of yogurt and a bowl of granola, which have to be tossed if not used,  how about individual yogurts and granola in an airtight container?  If the yogurts aren't eated, they go back in the 'fridge.

 

(We serve ours in a large bowl of ice, so they are kept cold.)

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