Dining room arrangements

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notAgrandma's picture
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An innkeeper shared this article in another online forum: http://www.bostonglobe.com/lifestyle/travel/2017/09/02/does-stand-for-blah-and-bummer-one-man-stand-against-breakfast-with-strangers/NMkTnNTUvDhsH4pyQEMXTK/story.html

While I wasn't a fan of the article, one sentence caught my eye about seating arrangements. My question to fellow innmates: do you have one huge table or separate tables? And what made you choose the arrangement you have?

I have 3 tables that hold 4 people each. used to have 1 large table bc the previous owners sold me a table that sat 8, though our B&B can hold 12 people (5 rooms + 2 pullout beds). They did multiple seating times, which about killed me. I had to kick people out so I could clear & reset the table, not to mention holding an entree warm for an hour before the second seating. I moved to 3 separate 4-person tables. Guests have commented on how they prefer this arrangement.

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gillumhouse's picture
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I have one table. I have actually had guests change their time so they could eat with the other people staying. Guests get to choose their time for breakfast as long as it is between 6 am & 10 am. I tell folks they are not tied to anyone else's time - I have sometimes had 3 different times. I tell them everyone gets the same thing - I just vary the time it goes in the oven.

seashanty's picture
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It's been my experience as a guest that most innkeepers aim to please ... within the constraints of what they have, of course. 

As an innkeeper, I suggested that a newlywed couple sit in the window seat table for two but they wanted to be with everyone else.

As a guest, I've been known to plunk myself down at a table for four - but when that's all there is, you gotta sit with me or wait. I only bite my breakfast.

 

Why do people hate doilies? Why is that attached to b&b's? Maybe someone's furniture needs protection from grubby guests. LOL

I made a top out of old doilies ... looks like this. 

And I love it.

I've also made doily curtains - very feminine, but they're in my personal space.

That's about as doilified as I go, but hey ... I think they're pretty.

 

 

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JimBoone's picture
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I suppose everything depends on what you like or don't like, my experience is limited, but I travelled to enjoy the inn and the area. One table, 29 guests at the same table and time, generally folks chose the same seats over our several days visit, from older foks to toddlers. Cute little girl sat with her family near where we sat, later on a hay ride of the area she still had the breakfast egg she had gathered from the hen house in her pocket, couldn't help but wonder if it was going to get broken later in the day. I too wake up slowly, but arose early and enjoyed a cup or two of coffee long before breakfast so had my quiet time before breakfast.

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seashanty's picture
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"IT WAS THE ONLY PLACE IN TOWN." In that case ... oh well. Book a room in the next town or suffer through the friendliness.  

A boisterous innkeeper? Friendly? Attentive? Wanting to feed you? 

 It's funny because Maine/New England has a reputation for not being very friendly. HA! 

Morticia's picture
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I think that was added in to make you feel sorry for him. He had to stay there, he had no choice. Oh, the poor thing.

I think the whole thing is made up.

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PhineasSwann's picture
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Morticia wrote:

I think the whole thing is made up.

 

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Highlands John's picture
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Used to have table for 4 and table for 2, had comments from people that they would prefer not to sit with strangers at breakfast.

Ordered 3 tables for 2 and they were sitting in the garage waiting for a chance to re-arrange the dining room, Texan lady comes down and says "ooh lets sit on the big table so we can talk to people".......sigh! Mind you Americans are much more sociable than Europeans.

So now we have 3 x 2. We ordered 900mm square tables which seemed a great idea at the time, more space for people, but when we put them in the dining room the only way we could fit them in sensibly was to put each table in a corner of the room and have the chairs placed on the other two sides. I've never liked that arrangement, but never had a -ve comment from a guest.

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PhineasSwann's picture
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We like our arangement: Four tables of 4, one of 6. We find that a simple "have a seat wherever you like" gives guests the chance to either ask if they can sit with someone else, or sit by themselves if they prefer.  Ironically, many of the guests that don't sit at the same table with another couple quickly find themselves talking across the gap to them anyway!

seashanty's picture
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Where is my dislike button? I always stay in b&bs and inns if I can. One ... count 'em ... one ... had doilies and two big dining tables. And that was in 2002. One was little more than an air though she tried. An older woman alone in her home doing what she can with what she has.

Most have been upscale, loads of amenities, free wifi, great breakfasts, shocking amount of privacy and comfort. I travel alone and feel safer in smaller places where maybe someone is watching out for me. 

This article sounds so bogus. Would love to know the name of the place the author stayed at because I'm just not buying it.

I had seating for 18, could accommodate 22. Average seating was 16. I had oversized tables for four so that you could actually sit at a table with another couple and not be in their lap. I also had tables for 2. 8 am to 10 am. (I would still serve up to 10:30 if need be)  with the big window of serving time those who didn't know one another rarely sat together.

  I served real maple syrup, of course. And I didn't force feed anyone. Seriously? If you want to skip breakfast, fine by me! Less work. Jeez. 

TheBeachHouse's picture
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Our set up is similar.   I tell checkins - we don't have seating times, so you are free to come to breakfast anytime you like.

The place in our town that is considered the best (by me, anyway) has strict seating times and a big dining table.  And the best breakfast you will find.   Really worth the trip.   They get raves most of the time, but when they get bad reviews, it is about the strict seating times and the commutity table.

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Generic's picture
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02/24/2011

Well, we have one table that sits 10 and one table for two. If they really want to sit alone, it's not going to happen, unless it's the winter.

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Anon Inn's picture
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09/26/2011

Two in-the-inn rooms, one vacation rental that can sleep four just outside the inn.  Dining room is inside.  2 4-tops and 2 deuces.  Usually only the two deuces get used, but the vacation rental can add breakfasts if they wish plus we can also seat friends of guests.  Last week I did 15 breakfasts one morning when all those options were in play.  Better to have too much seating than not enough!  (and hats off to those who do that many every day - I have it easy)

Years ago when we were in the planning,dreaming stages we both were opposed to the idea of the forced conversation at the group table.  I am an introvert (or was, until this and radio interviewing booted me into a more outgoing category!) For DH it was and is - not wanting to get too close to other folks perfume first thing in the morning!

Morticia's picture
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We had 3 tables that sat 4. We changed to 5 tables that seat 2. One of those tables seats 4 and another can seat 3. We can have 16 guests. So, yeah, still not enough seating.

99% of the time no one will sit at the table set for 4. Some because they assume we have a group of 4, others because they don't want to share.

Getting the 5th table was a life saver. We used to seat extra guests in the living room. Some thought it was a perk, others felt ostracized. We played it up as a romantic seating, but unless you wanted that you felt left out.

The new table is practically in the kitchen. It seems to work. We call it the chef's table.

Highlands John's picture
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Morticia wrote:

99% of the time no one will sit at the table set for 4. Some because they assume we have a group of 4, others because they don't want to share.

Really?  

We have 3 tables for 2 (usually 6 guests). Occasionally we have 7 (sofa bed in one room) so DH pulls one of the tables out from the wall so it can seat 3. You can bet your life that the first couple down will sit at the table for 3 and have to be asked to move.

Morticia's picture
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Highlands John wrote:

Morticia wrote:

99% of the time no one will sit at the table set for 4. Some because they assume we have a group of 4, others because they don't want to share.

Really?  

We have 3 tables for 2 (usually 6 guests). Occasionally we have 7 (sofa bed in one room) so DH pulls one of the tables out from the wall so it can seat 3. You can bet your life that the first couple down will sit at the table for 3 and have to be asked to move.

If we have enough room, no one will sit at that table. If I'm trying to fit in an exact number, then yes, the single guest will sit at a table for 4, the 2 couples traveling together will take separate tables, the family of 3 will try to cram in at a table for 2. 

Only once in 13 years did two single travelers sit together at one table. It was actually good for both of them to have someone else to talk to.

And, 100% of the time, a couple will take the table set for 3. I then have to move the place setting and the 3rd chair out from under them. And half the time they will sit in the chair in the aisle, which means I can't move the 3rd chair anywhere. I then have to ask them to rearrange themselves.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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I read the article.  He is pretty unfair to B&B's in general.  Some of it was a little funny.   But mostly it was the same old cliché's.

We have 12 - 16 people.   12 is normal.   We have three tables of 2 and one table of 8.   We rarely have people at the big table unless everyone comes to breakfast at one time.

For summer, we have 4 tables of 2 on the front porch. 

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