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Bed and breakfast expands with dinner, bar and more - INN the news 12.01.08

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Mini

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See now what puzzles me is how some bed and breakfasts are allowed to serve meals other than breakfasts. I know the health inspector would be down my throat so fast if I went beyond breakfast.
Would she need special licensing to serve other meals besides breakfast?
I have have several groups stay here who wanted me to make them lunch as well which I would have if I were allowed.
 

seashanty

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in maine the difference is an inspected, commercial kitchen separate from the innkeeper's personal kitchen.
breakfast making is allowed but nothing else if you don't have that commercial kitchen. doesn't matter if other folks break the rules ... i know if i did, i'd have visitors real quick (and not the paying kind)
i called the state and asked if there was any way to work around this ... the answer: actually hiring a caterer to make dinners offsite and come in and serve ... but the cost of that was prohibitive. the people at the state licensing office responded to my questions with suspicion and accusations. i was just asking, not doing anything, and was told 'it is ILLEGAL for you to be etcetcetc ... where are you located?' scared me, i tell you!
 

Morticia

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in maine the difference is an inspected, commercial kitchen separate from the innkeeper's personal kitchen.
breakfast making is allowed but nothing else if you don't have that commercial kitchen. doesn't matter if other folks break the rules ... i know if i did, i'd have visitors real quick (and not the paying kind)
i called the state and asked if there was any way to work around this ... the answer: actually hiring a caterer to make dinners offsite and come in and serve ... but the cost of that was prohibitive. the people at the state licensing office responded to my questions with suspicion and accusations. i was just asking, not doing anything, and was told 'it is ILLEGAL for you to be etcetcetc ... where are you located?' scared me, i tell you!.
seashanty said:
in maine the difference is an inspected, commercial kitchen separate from the innkeeper's personal kitchen.
breakfast making is allowed but nothing else if you don't have that commercial kitchen. doesn't matter if other folks break the rules ... i know if i did, i'd have visitors real quick (and not the paying kind)
i called the state and asked if there was any way to work around this ... the answer: actually hiring a caterer to make dinners offsite and come in and serve ... but the cost of that was prohibitive. the people at the state licensing office responded to my questions with suspicion and accusations. i was just asking, not doing anything, and was told 'it is ILLEGAL for you to be etcetcetc ... where are you located?' scared me, i tell you!
And, yet, in these uncertain times, there are folks who are very quietly serving additional meals in order to supplement their income. No, I'm not one of them. Dinner is just too much of an undertaking for us! The temptation to do parties is really there, tho...
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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This town wants us to serve meals and hold functions here. They are all for it. They have had weddings - catered by the owners many times in the past. The last owner served dinners to all of her business guests.
 

egoodell

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in maine the difference is an inspected, commercial kitchen separate from the innkeeper's personal kitchen.
breakfast making is allowed but nothing else if you don't have that commercial kitchen. doesn't matter if other folks break the rules ... i know if i did, i'd have visitors real quick (and not the paying kind)
i called the state and asked if there was any way to work around this ... the answer: actually hiring a caterer to make dinners offsite and come in and serve ... but the cost of that was prohibitive. the people at the state licensing office responded to my questions with suspicion and accusations. i was just asking, not doing anything, and was told 'it is ILLEGAL for you to be etcetcetc ... where are you located?' scared me, i tell you!.
seashanty said:
in maine the difference is an inspected, commercial kitchen separate from the innkeeper's personal kitchen.
breakfast making is allowed but nothing else if you don't have that commercial kitchen. doesn't matter if other folks break the rules ... i know if i did, i'd have visitors real quick (and not the paying kind)
i called the state and asked if there was any way to work around this ... the answer: actually hiring a caterer to make dinners offsite and come in and serve ... but the cost of that was prohibitive. the people at the state licensing office responded to my questions with suspicion and accusations. i was just asking, not doing anything, and was told 'it is ILLEGAL for you to be etcetcetc ... where are you located?' scared me, i tell you!
And, yet, in these uncertain times, there are folks who are very quietly serving additional meals in order to supplement their income. No, I'm not one of them. Dinner is just too much of an undertaking for us! The temptation to do parties is really there, tho...
.
Yep there are folks serving dinners here as well that should not be doing so. The county caught some of them by checking the websites so they just offer it over the phone when booking, I think. The reason I know is that the guests tell us when we pick them up for their wine tours.
Riki
 

Penelope

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In regard to the health dept, what is it that makes the difference between serving breakfast or serving dinner? isn't it all just food?
 

Morticia

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In regard to the health dept, what is it that makes the difference between serving breakfast or serving dinner? isn't it all just food?.
penelope said:
In regard to the health dept, what is it that makes the difference between serving breakfast or serving dinner? isn't it all just food?
You would think so, wouldn't you? Apparently we are too stupid to figure out how to clean up after chicken, but not too stupid to figure out how to clean up after pork.
 

Penelope

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In regard to the health dept, what is it that makes the difference between serving breakfast or serving dinner? isn't it all just food?.
penelope said:
In regard to the health dept, what is it that makes the difference between serving breakfast or serving dinner? isn't it all just food?
You would think so, wouldn't you? Apparently we are too stupid to figure out how to clean up after chicken, but not too stupid to figure out how to clean up after pork.
.
Please pardon my saying so, but that is one of the dumbest things I've heard in a long time. That makes no sense at all. I could maybe understand putting a limit on the amount of plates served in any given amount of time, ie: per week/ per month. But that is ridiculous. Do they have a reason for the silly law? Or is it "that's just the way it is"?
 

Morticia

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In regard to the health dept, what is it that makes the difference between serving breakfast or serving dinner? isn't it all just food?.
penelope said:
In regard to the health dept, what is it that makes the difference between serving breakfast or serving dinner? isn't it all just food?
You would think so, wouldn't you? Apparently we are too stupid to figure out how to clean up after chicken, but not too stupid to figure out how to clean up after pork.
.
Please pardon my saying so, but that is one of the dumbest things I've heard in a long time. That makes no sense at all. I could maybe understand putting a limit on the amount of plates served in any given amount of time, ie: per week/ per month. But that is ridiculous. Do they have a reason for the silly law? Or is it "that's just the way it is"?
.
penelope said:
Please pardon my saying so, but that is one of the dumbest things I've heard in a long time. That makes no sense at all. I could maybe understand putting a limit on the amount of plates served in any given amount of time, ie: per week/ per month. But that is ridiculous. Do they have a reason for the silly law? Or is it "that's just the way it is"?
No one can give us a good reason for it. We tried to have it changed last year and were all set to go until the state reorganized who owned what inspections and the new dept wouldn't agree to what the old dept signed up for. As things are still in limbo a year later, we're still waiting.
Seriously, a lot of it has to do with keeping food safe so guests do not get sick. Does the fridge recover its temp fast enough to keep foods cold? Do you have the proper layout to keep foods from being cross-contaminated? Can you keep the kitchen clean? Can employees wash their hands in between prepping different foods?
I joke about the chicken-pork thing but that's what it comes down to. After breakfast is over we turn into blithering idiots who have probably sent our own families to the hospital with food poisoning on numerous ocassions.

 

Penelope

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Working in an inn that does serve dinner, I can understand the cross-contamination aspect of it as well as the hand washing. But you have to take the same precautions for breakfast! What about raw eggs for breakfast? Do they care about that? Sausage? Bacon?
I have honestly put my search on hold in Maine due to this one major obstacle. I WANT to be able to serve dinner. I know it can be done. I know the hard work it includes. I know the time it involves. I know the cost differences of breakfast foods versus dinner foods. But, I also know the money it can bring in. I WANT to be able to make that choice...not have it made for me. Or not even be given the choice in the first place.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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I will be bold here in saying that any place serving should have some sort of health dept inspection. Even those places who have them can still fall way below standards with mouse droppings in the walk in freezer!
We assume innkeepers know what they are doing, but how many have ever taken a safe-serve class, how many have worked in the food industry, so we are to assume they know how to properly handle potentially dangerous food like raw eggs and pork? I know many places (B&B's) it is a big no no to have an egg dish in the fridge 'settling/melding' the night prior.
But it is not that way across board, in FLA many counties require a commercial kitchen to serve any cooked food at all. Which is why many guests tell me about the lousy continental they had, a plastic wrapped muffin and bottle of juice. The owners don't tell this to guests in advance - maybe they are worried they won't book there. They can serve nothing on crockery - ie other than plastic, and only items purchased from a store.
The diff in a B&B serving other meals is we are not a licensed restaurant. To serve other meals falls under that category and there is a heckuvalot more that goes with that.
 

seashanty

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i was told just in conversation with the state inspector when he was here that we (b&b's) were being 'allowed' to continue the long standing tradition of serving breakfast ... but he believes if the state had their way, a commercial kitchen would be required for breakfast as well.
so if the law here eventually changes, the big places with the two kitchens would be fine, mom and pops would have to be brought into compliance over time or grandfathered in possibly. but once sold, new owners would have to comply.
 

Morticia

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Working in an inn that does serve dinner, I can understand the cross-contamination aspect of it as well as the hand washing. But you have to take the same precautions for breakfast! What about raw eggs for breakfast? Do they care about that? Sausage? Bacon?
I have honestly put my search on hold in Maine due to this one major obstacle. I WANT to be able to serve dinner. I know it can be done. I know the hard work it includes. I know the time it involves. I know the cost differences of breakfast foods versus dinner foods. But, I also know the money it can bring in. I WANT to be able to make that choice...not have it made for me. Or not even be given the choice in the first place..
penelope said:
Working in an inn that does serve dinner, I can understand the cross-contamination aspect of it as well as the hand washing. But you have to take the same precautions for breakfast! What about raw eggs for breakfast? Do they care about that? Sausage? Bacon?
I have honestly put my search on hold in Maine due to this one major obstacle. I WANT to be able to serve dinner. I know it can be done. I know the hard work it includes. I know the time it involves. I know the cost differences of breakfast foods versus dinner foods. But, I also know the money it can bring in. I WANT to be able to make that choice...not have it made for me. Or not even be given the choice in the first place.
You CAN serve more than breakfast, your inn has to be compliant. There are a couple of B&B owners from Maine on here who have the proper licensure and they do serve other meals and wine and add on packages of food and wine.
Because we do not have a commercial kitchen, we cannot. Unless, of course, we get the exemption passed thru this NEW dept as the OLD dept agreed to. Even the head of health dept inn inspectors said it was stupid we couldn't serve other meals.
 

JunieBJones (JBJ)

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Working in an inn that does serve dinner, I can understand the cross-contamination aspect of it as well as the hand washing. But you have to take the same precautions for breakfast! What about raw eggs for breakfast? Do they care about that? Sausage? Bacon?
I have honestly put my search on hold in Maine due to this one major obstacle. I WANT to be able to serve dinner. I know it can be done. I know the hard work it includes. I know the time it involves. I know the cost differences of breakfast foods versus dinner foods. But, I also know the money it can bring in. I WANT to be able to make that choice...not have it made for me. Or not even be given the choice in the first place..
penelope said:
Working in an inn that does serve dinner, I can understand the cross-contamination aspect of it as well as the hand washing. But you have to take the same precautions for breakfast! What about raw eggs for breakfast? Do they care about that? Sausage? Bacon?
I have honestly put my search on hold in Maine due to this one major obstacle. I WANT to be able to serve dinner. I know it can be done. I know the hard work it includes. I know the time it involves. I know the cost differences of breakfast foods versus dinner foods. But, I also know the money it can bring in. I WANT to be able to make that choice...not have it made for me. Or not even be given the choice in the first place.
It is basically grandfathered in. It is what a B&B is all about. You should not be able to serve dinners without full health dept approval, and if that requires a commercial kitchen, then sobeit. I know some will not like me saying that, and I am one who does not believe in over-regulations, but we have all had the runs or sick from a licensed and inspected restaurant, there has to be some accountability. A place that has had no inspection can do anything they want to - dangerous food handling or not.
I worked for the health dept in Australia. We had EPIDEMIC of so and so's cousin from Greece working behind the scenes/under the table so to speak who brought in - let's see - I remember Scarlet Fever taking down a whole suburb. Every time they environmental health inspectors dropped in, this cousin was not there. Come to find out she worked late into the evening when they were closed cutting/preparing the veggies for the next day. They finally nabbed her and sure enough, she carried Scarlet Fever.
There is a reason food service is regulated. B&B's have slid past much of it. But MOST B&B's are inspected and have a sign that says approved by the health dept. We do here, it is to be posted publicly.
 

Morticia

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Working in an inn that does serve dinner, I can understand the cross-contamination aspect of it as well as the hand washing. But you have to take the same precautions for breakfast! What about raw eggs for breakfast? Do they care about that? Sausage? Bacon?
I have honestly put my search on hold in Maine due to this one major obstacle. I WANT to be able to serve dinner. I know it can be done. I know the hard work it includes. I know the time it involves. I know the cost differences of breakfast foods versus dinner foods. But, I also know the money it can bring in. I WANT to be able to make that choice...not have it made for me. Or not even be given the choice in the first place..
penelope said:
Working in an inn that does serve dinner, I can understand the cross-contamination aspect of it as well as the hand washing. But you have to take the same precautions for breakfast! What about raw eggs for breakfast? Do they care about that? Sausage? Bacon?
I have honestly put my search on hold in Maine due to this one major obstacle. I WANT to be able to serve dinner. I know it can be done. I know the hard work it includes. I know the time it involves. I know the cost differences of breakfast foods versus dinner foods. But, I also know the money it can bring in. I WANT to be able to make that choice...not have it made for me. Or not even be given the choice in the first place.
It is basically grandfathered in. It is what a B&B is all about. You should not be able to serve dinners without full health dept approval, and if that requires a commercial kitchen, then sobeit. I know some will not like me saying that, and I am one who does not believe in over-regulations, but we have all had the runs or sick from a licensed and inspected restaurant, there has to be some accountability. A place that has had no inspection can do anything they want to - dangerous food handling or not.
I worked for the health dept in Australia. We had EPIDEMIC of so and so's cousin from Greece working behind the scenes/under the table so to speak who brought in - let's see - I remember Scarlet Fever taking down a whole suburb. Every time they environmental health inspectors dropped in, this cousin was not there. Come to find out she worked late into the evening when they were closed cutting/preparing the veggies for the next day. They finally nabbed her and sure enough, she carried Scarlet Fever.
There is a reason food service is regulated. B&B's have slid past much of it. But MOST B&B's are inspected and have a sign that says approved by the health dept. We do here, it is to be posted publicly.
.
We don't get anything from the health dept stating we've been inspected. I wish we did. One saving grace here, in spite of all the issues we've had, is that the kitchen is very open to GUEST inspection! They can see the food being made (gloves on), the surfaces being cleaned and the cook/server hand washing constantly (using paper towels to dry).
We have guests talking to us while we're cleaning up afterwards, incredulous that floor washing is done on hands and knees.
When someone says, 'I'll just wash my coffee cup when I'm done,' and we say, 'No, it has to go into the dishwasher for the sanitize cycle,' they do realize we take precautions.
And, yes, after what I saw awhile ago, I wish the inspectors got around a bit more. Trash piled up against the stove, grunge and grease everywhere. Ugh. And this place was licensed for dinners.
 

muirford

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Working in an inn that does serve dinner, I can understand the cross-contamination aspect of it as well as the hand washing. But you have to take the same precautions for breakfast! What about raw eggs for breakfast? Do they care about that? Sausage? Bacon?
I have honestly put my search on hold in Maine due to this one major obstacle. I WANT to be able to serve dinner. I know it can be done. I know the hard work it includes. I know the time it involves. I know the cost differences of breakfast foods versus dinner foods. But, I also know the money it can bring in. I WANT to be able to make that choice...not have it made for me. Or not even be given the choice in the first place..
penelope said:
Working in an inn that does serve dinner, I can understand the cross-contamination aspect of it as well as the hand washing. But you have to take the same precautions for breakfast! What about raw eggs for breakfast? Do they care about that? Sausage? Bacon?
I have honestly put my search on hold in Maine due to this one major obstacle. I WANT to be able to serve dinner. I know it can be done. I know the hard work it includes. I know the time it involves. I know the cost differences of breakfast foods versus dinner foods. But, I also know the money it can bring in. I WANT to be able to make that choice...not have it made for me. Or not even be given the choice in the first place.
It is basically grandfathered in. It is what a B&B is all about. You should not be able to serve dinners without full health dept approval, and if that requires a commercial kitchen, then sobeit. I know some will not like me saying that, and I am one who does not believe in over-regulations, but we have all had the runs or sick from a licensed and inspected restaurant, there has to be some accountability. A place that has had no inspection can do anything they want to - dangerous food handling or not.
I worked for the health dept in Australia. We had EPIDEMIC of so and so's cousin from Greece working behind the scenes/under the table so to speak who brought in - let's see - I remember Scarlet Fever taking down a whole suburb. Every time they environmental health inspectors dropped in, this cousin was not there. Come to find out she worked late into the evening when they were closed cutting/preparing the veggies for the next day. They finally nabbed her and sure enough, she carried Scarlet Fever.
There is a reason food service is regulated. B&B's have slid past much of it. But MOST B&B's are inspected and have a sign that says approved by the health dept. We do here, it is to be posted publicly.
.
We don't get anything from the health dept stating we've been inspected. I wish we did. One saving grace here, in spite of all the issues we've had, is that the kitchen is very open to GUEST inspection! They can see the food being made (gloves on), the surfaces being cleaned and the cook/server hand washing constantly (using paper towels to dry).
We have guests talking to us while we're cleaning up afterwards, incredulous that floor washing is done on hands and knees.
When someone says, 'I'll just wash my coffee cup when I'm done,' and we say, 'No, it has to go into the dishwasher for the sanitize cycle,' they do realize we take precautions.
And, yes, after what I saw awhile ago, I wish the inspectors got around a bit more. Trash piled up against the stove, grunge and grease everywhere. Ugh. And this place was licensed for dinners.
.
Our health department does an annual inspection (although sometimes we have to call to remind them!) and we are required to go through food handler's class with an annual re-training and a TB test every three years.
Most of what the inspectors look for since we are not a commercial kitchen is refrigerator temp, sanitizing dishwasher, and cleanliness. They check the vaccinations on our cats and the beds for pillow covers and mattress covers.
The food handler's class used to be better; now it is kind of a joke since there is no test to pass at the end. Makes me nervous about eating out around here, let me tell you.
 

Mini

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The health inspector came yesterda for his annual inspection. All went well but the first thing he said was "I just want to make sure you are only serving breakfast because as a bed and breakfasts that is all you are allowed to serve". I never asked him if afternoon cookies were taboo. Who knows he may want to put a stop to that as well. Oh and I'm glad it went well because he did mention that this year all places serving food will have there reports made open to the public on the internet.
Also, he wants our kitchen to have that extra sink for sanitizing like in a commercial kitchen. He wants it in by next year when he arrives. OMG
This guy can't stand it if he can't find something wrong so he suddenly makes something up I think.
Both DH and I have taken the food handler course, complete with exam at the end. He insisted that all people working at a b & b or handling food in a restaurant in Canada are now required to take it. So we have it.
It has always crossed my mind and others have made the suggestion to me that I open a teahouse here. I hadn't really thought seriously about it until this week when we really started to slow down. I'm sure I would require a commercial kitchen for that. Besides the extra sink, what else would a commercial kitchen require. My DH is doing a complete reno on our kitchen in January so it might be worth it to just do it then and get it over with in case we do want to make this into a teahouse.
So can someone tell me what else I would need in the kitchen to make it commercial?
 

Mini

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Oh and I forgot to mention. This is in Canada
 

Penelope

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Oh and I forgot to mention. This is in Canada.
Not too sure about Canada, but it might mean a quick recovery fridge, sanitizing dishwasher, three or four basin sink... I am sure other can add to it, but that is what comes to my mind right off the bat.
 
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