Dumbing down breakfast

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Morticia's picture
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Do you find yourself dumbing down your breakfast offerings because too many guests won't eat something?

We ended up making a plain frittata last weekend instead of going all out with a smoked salmon frittata because we figured we'd have a pound of salmon on the plates to throw out and guests would be asking for sausage.

The guests ate what we served, but geez it gets boring.

We had a 60+ year old who kept saying, "I'm spoiled. I'm the youngest and I never had to eat anything I didn't want!" Sure enough, all of her breakfast came back each day.

Now we certainly could have (would have) put the salmon on the side. But then there was the no onions. And the no cream cheese. And no something else. So we gave up.

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JerseyBoy's picture
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We changed our menu several years ago to change with the times.  We noticed more and more people who had "food allergies" or this condition or that condition or didn't like some ingredient in our breakfast dish.   We have 18 rooms and would constantly be getting requests for something special or we would get a lot of half eaten plates, leaving a scone, or leaving fruit, or whatever the meat we chose for the day.

We flipped to a simple menu of made to order items (see below) which has resulted in much happier guests because they can order what they want and a lot less food waste and subsequently less food costs.  Sadly it is not what I would want if I were traveling to a B&B (I much prefer being surprised by the innkeeper and having something special and unique) but it seems to please most of our customers most of the time.

Our made to order breakfast includes a Continental Buffet with cereals, fresh fruit, fresh baked muffins, scones, or other pastries, juices, coffee/tea, and yogurt
(If we are not offering a buffet, you will be served fresh fruit and baked breads)

You will have your choice of one of the following options

Carisbrooke Pancakes
or
French Toast
or
Eggs any style with potatoes and toast
or
An Omelet with potatoes and toast
or
Hot Oatmeal

You also have your choice of bacon, breakfast sausage, Canadian bacon, Turkey Bacon, or vegetarian sausage

PhineasSwann's picture
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One of the things we offer is the option of eggs to order. 

We always tell guests "If our entree of the day doesn't appeal to you, we're always happy to prepare eggs to order for you."

The only hiccup is occasionally think "eggs Benedict" is an an option to order. 

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ChrisandShelley's picture
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We do the same but offer scrambled eggs if guests don't like the casserole or elegant eggs dish. Quick to fix.

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Generic's picture
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If I offer it, I offer sunny side up or scrambled. I'm careful to not offer poached, as then I have to take out another pan, boil water and then watch it like a hawk. I'll had boil an egg, but I won't promise anything with soft boiled.

And I genuine want to cringe when they want their egg cooked till dead... aka over hard or dry. Ugh.

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Arks's picture
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Generic wrote:

I'll hard boil an egg, but I won't promise anything with soft boiled.

I finally figured out how to make a good soft-boiled egg, at least an low altitude. People in Denver are on their own!

I'd heard of a "3-minute egg" before, but boiling an egg 3 minutes isn't enough. This method solves that problem.

  • Put an egg in a pan of cold water and turn on the heat.
  • As soon as the water starts to boil, begin timing.
  • After it boils exactly 3 minutes, take the egg out of the water and you'll have a good soft-boiled egg.

I've had it work with 1 or 2 eggs. I assume it would work with more eggs, because the 3 minute count doesn't start until the water boils, and then they are all held at the boiling point.

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Generic's picture
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I absolutely REFUSE to dumb down my breakfast... other than skipping meat. I just have too many vegetarians, etc. So, out that goes. But if you don't like what I have made, then there are other options.

Have one repeat guest who refuses to eat shakshuka, says it's too "dinner" for him. Fine. Everyone else likes it, down to licking up the plate. I've had a few who ask for maple syrup when I make fresh fruit syrups... but everyone can serve maple syrup, so we don't do it often.

Morticia's picture
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Always amazed at the people who insist certain foods are only eaten at certain times of the day.

Generic's picture
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Well, he gets poached eggs, instead. But I absolutely refuse to dumb down my breakfast. I've modified some things... sometimes it's just made things easier and cheaper... I don't make as much quiche as I used to, now it's usually fritattas, with potato slices as the "crust" because of the GF nuts... but it's a heck of a lot cheaper. I sometimes get 5kg of potatoes for $2. Filling, fast and cheap.

seashanty's picture
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06/02/2008

Haha. I guess I served the ‘dumbest’ breakfast around. Eggs delivered by my egg man, homemade biscuits, muffins, waffles and pancakes, French toast, bacon, basic sausage .... bagels and toast if they wanted it. Blueberries in season. Local syrup. I did make huge quiches that today I might have to rename as an egg pie? Just breakfast the way I like it and lots of it. 

I did have one guest express disappointment because he thought I was going to serve an Irish breakfast. Frowny face and all. People see you and make assumptions which is kind of funny. Never made an Irish breakfast in my life. But, that afternoon he was first in line for my homemade blueberry pie topped with ice cream from the shop up the hill ... that made him happy. 

 

gillumhouse's picture
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I have started serving scones (Schwan's has a wonderful white chocolate raspberry frozen) IF I have whipping cream & cream cheese in-house to make mock Devonshire cream or if I have bananas to get rid of (or multiple night stay) it is peanut butter banana chocolate chip mini muffins. OJ and a non-citric juice, a fruit dish of some sort (depends on what is in-house), entree is cook's choice depending on restrictions, what is in-house, and my schedule for the day.  Meat is guest choice of bacon, ham, pork sausage, pork chops, steak, venison Italian sausage (that will be gone soon),or my homemade maple venison sausage. They also can choose the country of origin for their coffee from the in-house list of about 21 countries - no later than the night before breakfast (I need to have time to roast it) or tea from the approximately 100 varieties. IF I made muffins, they get a 6x6 pastry box of muffins as a "care package" as they depart.

I allow 2 hours before breakfast as my get out of bed - leisurely dressing time and not rushing in the kitchen. Guests choose breakfast time between 6 AM and 10 AM. (They get to choose times etc because it is only 3 rooms)

Tom
Tom's picture
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I guess I've always been dumb Eye-wink I serve a fairly deconstructed, traditional breakfast.  To 1 or 2 individual tables: My pick of various home baked starter (muffin, banana bread, apple cake) with fruit and then eggs to order with my pick of bacon, ham, sausage and home baked bread toast or hash brown for GF.  Maybe offer an omelette (on hand mushroom, cheese, or maybe salmon).  To more than 2 (5 room inn) similar in buffet, but scrambled eggs or omelette, maybe GF waffles. Tomorrow, it's make own breakfast burritos.  This fall crop apple juice.

I've got it so I can enter kitchen at 7:30, turn on oven and be ready to serve at 8:00.  I get more rest and guests get to pick when they eat between 7:30 to 10:00.  Home baked is frozen.  Everything else I make can be done in half hour plus egg to order cooked while guests on starter.  Less table waste and I'm not likely to feel put out if folks aren't hungry and just want to get on the road.

TheBeachHouse's picture
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How do you present make your own burrito?    Sounds like fun and right up our alley.  We do make your own yogurt parfaits almost every day.   Yogurt, fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, sunflower seeds, coconut and other stuff.   Sometimes I’ll do oatmeal and put out five or six toppings.    

What do you put out for burritos?    

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Tom
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I did parfaits for a while, even bought glass cups for them (after I tried margarita glasses -- too top heavy -- and dumped a pair on the table of a very proper elderly couple, retired judge).  But after a half year, I quit: to me they looked good for a few bites then turned into glop and were seldom finished.  Plus, in PNW, parfaits are not appreciated: it's go solid or go smoothie, and I can't go there Eye-wink

Tom
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Breakfast served buffet style: stack of flame warmed flour and corn tortillas (separate of course), warming tray with scrambled egg, crumbled chorizo sausage, black beans (canned, with a spoon of chipotle for zip); bowls for avocado, fresh salsa, grated cheese, sour cream, cilantro.  Fruit may be pineapple chunks and melon; toasted banana bread.  So some one takes a plate and picks and chooses, often skipping tortilla altogether if low carb.

Because of the multi parts, this takes me an hour to get ready.

Lee2014's picture
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  At home we do breakfast burritos for our family and we all love them!  We use tortillas, refried beans, fried potatoes, scrambled eggs, and cheese.  Place everything on top of each other in the center of the tortilla, don't over stuff it so you can't close it up.  Choose what side of the tortilla is top.  Fold in the sides and then the bottom.  Hang on to it until all eaten up.  It can be messy but oh so good!

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Morticia's picture
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Gomez is up at 5:30 every morning. Breakfast starts at 8. He does all the prep in the morning. He bakes nothing. We don't serve scones or muffins or anything like that.

Basic stuff, like you - omelets, scrambled, pancakes, French toast.

I've got a recipe book I've put together with probably 200 recipes we'll never try. They're my dream recipes if only adventurous people stayed here. And most of them would make a real foodie laugh.

Silverspoon's picture
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This is our year to cut way back. Our trademark full, home cooked breakfast is becoming an optional upgrade, with a price that reflects the amount of work and expense that qualifies it to become a special add on to the guest’s reservation.  

I love to cook and, to me, breakfast is the highlight of any B&B stay... but this is our 31st year of hosting and DH and I are both ready to change our routine.  The plan is to close the suites in the main house and offer our cottage guests a standard self-serve  continental breakfast of home made granola, yogurt, fruit, baked goods and breakfast beverages.  A hot full breakfast for two can be ordered up in advance and will be delivered to the cottage for an additional $50/night.  I am banking on our weekly cottage  guests only opting for an occasional upgrade to the full breakfast, but time will tell!

I’ll keep you posted!

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PhineasSwann's picture
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As a Southern boy living in Vermont, I shudder to think what would happen if I rolled out grits one morning...

JimBoone's picture
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Mort, some of us are just simple old country folks, a good breakfast is my favorite meal, egg, sausage, bacon, grits, pancakes, of course that's a when we have company breakfast as my important person doesn't usually eat breakfast, normal might be a fried egg or a frozen biscuit, I wouldn't know what a frittata was if it was served to me, of course I may not be your typical guest.

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Morticia's picture
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You'd recognize a frittata - it's a quiche without it's coat on. Eye-wink We stopped doing quiche because no one eats them. Everyone loves 'egg pie,' tho. (We also don't serve frittata for the same reason - no one knows what it is so they won't eat it.)

We're very much a simple kind of breakfast place. If the recipe has more than 5 ingredients, Gomez throws it out. We're big on food you can recognize without a lengthy description.

My problem, I guess, is when we get people who are proud they've never once, in 60 years!, eaten yogurt. Or anything else they didn't want to. It just seems so rude because you know they've been to friend's houses for meals. Do they just shove the food around there?

Sort of puts us off the whole idea of making anything other than a bowl of cereal.

JimBoone's picture
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Morticia wrote:

You'd recognize a frittata - it's a quiche without it's coat on. ;-) 

Mort, you're giving me a lot of credit, I'd have to look up what a quiche was, I've heard the name, but that's about as far as it goes, of course I'd be happy with a sausage biscuit from the fast food place, but don't get me wrong, I like to eat, too much, to leave things on my plate.

Morticia's picture
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Quiche - eggs and cheese and a veg baked in a pie crust.

 Frittata - eggs and cheese and a veg slowly cooked in a pan on the stove, then finished in the oven. No crust.

 Egg pie - combo of quiche and frittata. No crust, but baked entirely in the oven.

 You’re welcome. Eye-wink

gillumhouse's picture
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That is basically my Egg Bake - eggs, sour cream, regular and garlic chives, parmesan, romano, and cheddar cheeses. Sometimes I will chop up some veggies, pre-cook to soften, and add them. Bake in a casserole dish.I bake almost everything - less mess to clean up. 

TheBeachHouse's picture
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I have a regular and I noticed he was eating the instant oatmeal every day.   So I made homemade oatmeal!    What a great innkeeper I am, right?    Nope.    I saw him take an envelope of instant and pointed out, “I made you hot oatmeal!”

He looks at his wife and she explains, no He only likes the packets with cold milk, like cold cereal.   

Oh, ok.    

PhineasSwann's picture
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We've gotten less adventurous with our offerings, or cooked each to order to accommodate all the varied likes and dislikes. 

It's a shame, because we've given up on some wonderful offerings. We try not to be too bland, but wasting food and having still-hungry guests made no sense. 

Morticia's picture
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05/22/2008

We usually experiment this particular weekend. Everyone knows us, except this year we had a bunch of new guests. We test out new recipes for the following year, or just to do something special for all these long time repeats.

We ended up with one new starter. I'm making it again this week. Taking pix so I can post it online with the recipe.

But this constant pushback against 'new' is totally contrary to what foodie mags say the state offers. Heck, even the waterfront diner is getting creative!

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