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SecondAct

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Do you let conversations during breakfast take their natural course or do you help them along? Meaning, if there is awkward silence during breakfast, do you help to start conversation or do you let everyone talk if they choose to talk? If your breakfast table is one large table, do you think that makes for conversation to happen easier as opposed to individual tables? If you help conversation along, do you have some standard opening lines that you use or just whatever strikes your mood?
 

wendydk

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We have one large table, and I find that I NEVER have to help conversations get started. I may introduce guests to each other when serving if it seems quiet, but there is always one guest (usually a big hale and hearty guy) who will start and involve everyone in conversation. Often some wildly different people will sit down and start slowly, but end up sitting there for an hour after plates are cleared laughing and talking.
 

gillumhouse

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For the most part I find that conversation just starts. We have one table. We introduce them and let them go. It rarely needs help.
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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That is a very good question and it leads me to raising another one.
Things flow pretty freely around here as long as it stays civil and unoffensive which rarely happens.
We, ourselves eat rather casually together and our evening meal is one of our only chances to really talk to each other and do so while eating our food.
Do you all kind of step to the background once everyone has their breakfast and not really go away, but stop conversing?
A few of our guests obviously like to get their heads around a plate of food and focus on eating in silence, while many more want to keep planning their day with us, keep up whatever conversation was going on as we were preparing their food, etc..
I occassionally have a hard time discerning the various types of diners and get the hand to the back of the neck from "Her Royal Highness" to leave people alone and let them eat. She is more of a time cruncher than I am though because she also works a job outside the B&B, so our styles don't always sync perfectly.
I consider it my duty as a good host to both provide help and conversation if its already going, she's more utilitarian in her approach.
Any advice?
 

wendydk

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That is a very good question and it leads me to raising another one.
Things flow pretty freely around here as long as it stays civil and unoffensive which rarely happens.
We, ourselves eat rather casually together and our evening meal is one of our only chances to really talk to each other and do so while eating our food.
Do you all kind of step to the background once everyone has their breakfast and not really go away, but stop conversing?
A few of our guests obviously like to get their heads around a plate of food and focus on eating in silence, while many more want to keep planning their day with us, keep up whatever conversation was going on as we were preparing their food, etc..
I occassionally have a hard time discerning the various types of diners and get the hand to the back of the neck from "Her Royal Highness" to leave people alone and let them eat. She is more of a time cruncher than I am though because she also works a job outside the B&B, so our styles don't always sync perfectly.
I consider it my duty as a good host to both provide help and conversation if its already going, she's more utilitarian in her approach.
Any advice?.
Tim
You said "as long as it stays civil and unoffensive which rarely happens"...are you for real? Is breakfast a contentious affair around your place???
 

Morticia

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If things are really quiet, awkwardly quiet, I will ask where guests are headed that day as many of them are going to or coming from the same places. Hubs's line is, 'So, how do you like that (fill in the name of whatever car model is sitting in the driveway)?' Guests love or hate the rental cars so that gets a lot of conversation going.
We have individual tables and I have found it much harder to sit around silent when everyone is at the same table. It usually just takes something simple to get a conversation started, kind of like around the dinner table!
 

seashanty

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no problem! i had the music on -- 40's swing music usually --- and if there were awkward silences i could drown em out with music. seriously, background music is a nice balance. and if you have quiet folk some mornings, that's fine.
only once had a quarrelsome breakfast. two couples, each at their own tables ... one person from each couple got into it about healthcare .... and on and on and on it went.
i didn't interfere. it was interesting.
 

Country Girl

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We have individual tables. After I make the introductions the guests will usually chat back and forth and many times they linger long after breakfast is over. My dilema is when to clear the dishes away from the table. If they are having a great conversation I hate to break the momentum by stepping in to start clearing. If I do, they usually take that as a signal to leave the table. But I also hate to leave dirty dishes in front of them.
If the room is awkwardly quiet then I usually start in with a joke. My latest one starts, "An innkeeper, a CEO, and a missionary walk into a bar.." LOL
(Thanks Yellow Socks)
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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That is a very good question and it leads me to raising another one.
Things flow pretty freely around here as long as it stays civil and unoffensive which rarely happens.
We, ourselves eat rather casually together and our evening meal is one of our only chances to really talk to each other and do so while eating our food.
Do you all kind of step to the background once everyone has their breakfast and not really go away, but stop conversing?
A few of our guests obviously like to get their heads around a plate of food and focus on eating in silence, while many more want to keep planning their day with us, keep up whatever conversation was going on as we were preparing their food, etc..
I occassionally have a hard time discerning the various types of diners and get the hand to the back of the neck from "Her Royal Highness" to leave people alone and let them eat. She is more of a time cruncher than I am though because she also works a job outside the B&B, so our styles don't always sync perfectly.
I consider it my duty as a good host to both provide help and conversation if its already going, she's more utilitarian in her approach.
Any advice?.
Tim
You said "as long as it stays civil and unoffensive which rarely happens"...are you for real? Is breakfast a contentious affair around your place???
.
We've had a few folks over the years confuse breakfast for a heated political debate and we had to crank down on things a little, mostly by trying to change subjects. Just had a three time guest last week, now a DNBA go off on a unprovoked, out of the clear blue sky, outrageously racist rant. We had had multiple issues with this guest both previous visits, so this one was the it for him.
Too bad too, because the wife is very nice and absolutely loves us and the place. She'll have to come back with a boyfriend, friend or on her own.
One of our worst was a near argument over the freakin' Opera that was performed the previous night.
Our opera house does five different operas per season. Three classics, one premiere, one kind of avant garde. There are two weeks druing the two month season that if you have the dough and inclination, you can see all five in one week's time.
Well, that morning was right after the avant garde one that year and a real old school opera head got into it with somebody who really enjoyed the performance. Had a full house, most hated it and so the one who loved it felt kind of ganged up on and got really defensive and the old school guest wouldn't back off her opinion.
99% of the time, breakfast is very uncontentious and quite pleasurable even for us doing all the hard work around here.
 

gillumhouse

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We have individual tables. After I make the introductions the guests will usually chat back and forth and many times they linger long after breakfast is over. My dilema is when to clear the dishes away from the table. If they are having a great conversation I hate to break the momentum by stepping in to start clearing. If I do, they usually take that as a signal to leave the table. But I also hate to leave dirty dishes in front of them.
If the room is awkwardly quiet then I usually start in with a joke. My latest one starts, "An innkeeper, a CEO, and a missionary walk into a bar.." LOL
(Thanks Yellow Socks).
I get dirty dishes off the table by saying, "If you are finished, let me get that out of your way so you can be more comfortable." It gets the dishes out of the way, makes them more comforatble, and the conversation flows on.....
Added the fact that I leave the coffee cup.
 

Morticia

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We have individual tables. After I make the introductions the guests will usually chat back and forth and many times they linger long after breakfast is over. My dilema is when to clear the dishes away from the table. If they are having a great conversation I hate to break the momentum by stepping in to start clearing. If I do, they usually take that as a signal to leave the table. But I also hate to leave dirty dishes in front of them.
If the room is awkwardly quiet then I usually start in with a joke. My latest one starts, "An innkeeper, a CEO, and a missionary walk into a bar.." LOL
(Thanks Yellow Socks).
Country Girl said:
We have individual tables. After I make the introductions the guests will usually chat back and forth and many times they linger long after breakfast is over. My dilema is when to clear the dishes away from the table. If they are having a great conversation I hate to break the momentum by stepping in to start clearing. If I do, they usually take that as a signal to leave the table. But I also hate to leave dirty dishes in front of them.
If the room is awkwardly quiet then I usually start in with a joke. My latest one starts, "An innkeeper, a CEO, and a missionary walk into a bar.." LOL
(Thanks Yellow Socks)
I usually do a quick stroll thru the room with the coffee pot in hand, doing refills. Then I go back for the plates. The guests have their coffee, so they 'get' that it's ok to hang out and talk. If they have maps or brochures spread out, I say, 'Let me get those dishes out of your way. If you need help planning your road trip, let me know.' A lot of guests read the paper to each other at breakfast and as soon as the papers come back out, I know it's ok to clear.
Now there are times when I do need the guests to get up as there are others waiting, but generally the other guests themselves make it quite clear they're ready to sit down.
That's where I have problems. When guests are obviously done but they think they bought the table for the morning. They could move to the sitting room or to the kitchen area to continue their coffee, but they don't. In that case, I set the next guests up in the living room.
 

YellowSocks

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We have individual tables. After I make the introductions the guests will usually chat back and forth and many times they linger long after breakfast is over. My dilema is when to clear the dishes away from the table. If they are having a great conversation I hate to break the momentum by stepping in to start clearing. If I do, they usually take that as a signal to leave the table. But I also hate to leave dirty dishes in front of them.
If the room is awkwardly quiet then I usually start in with a joke. My latest one starts, "An innkeeper, a CEO, and a missionary walk into a bar.." LOL
(Thanks Yellow Socks).
Country Girl said:
We have individual tables. After I make the introductions the guests will usually chat back and forth and many times they linger long after breakfast is over. My dilema is when to clear the dishes away from the table. If they are having a great conversation I hate to break the momentum by stepping in to start clearing. If I do, they usually take that as a signal to leave the table. But I also hate to leave dirty dishes in front of them.
If the room is awkwardly quiet then I usually start in with a joke. My latest one starts, "An innkeeper, a CEO, and a missionary walk into a bar.." LOL
(Thanks Yellow Socks)
Ah, but what's the punch line?
I, too, hate leaving dirty dishes, but fear taking them will make them stop.
=)
Kk.
 

SecondAct

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We have individual tables. After I make the introductions the guests will usually chat back and forth and many times they linger long after breakfast is over. My dilema is when to clear the dishes away from the table. If they are having a great conversation I hate to break the momentum by stepping in to start clearing. If I do, they usually take that as a signal to leave the table. But I also hate to leave dirty dishes in front of them.
If the room is awkwardly quiet then I usually start in with a joke. My latest one starts, "An innkeeper, a CEO, and a missionary walk into a bar.." LOL
(Thanks Yellow Socks).
Country Girl said:
We have individual tables. After I make the introductions the guests will usually chat back and forth and many times they linger long after breakfast is over. My dilema is when to clear the dishes away from the table. If they are having a great conversation I hate to break the momentum by stepping in to start clearing. If I do, they usually take that as a signal to leave the table. But I also hate to leave dirty dishes in front of them.
If the room is awkwardly quiet then I usually start in with a joke. My latest one starts, "An innkeeper, a CEO, and a missionary walk into a bar.." LOL
(Thanks Yellow Socks)
I usually do a quick stroll thru the room with the coffee pot in hand, doing refills. Then I go back for the plates. The guests have their coffee, so they 'get' that it's ok to hang out and talk. If they have maps or brochures spread out, I say, 'Let me get those dishes out of your way. If you need help planning your road trip, let me know.' A lot of guests read the paper to each other at breakfast and as soon as the papers come back out, I know it's ok to clear.
Now there are times when I do need the guests to get up as there are others waiting, but generally the other guests themselves make it quite clear they're ready to sit down.
That's where I have problems. When guests are obviously done but they think they bought the table for the morning. They could move to the sitting room or to the kitchen area to continue their coffee, but they don't. In that case, I set the next guests up in the living room.
.
I like Bree's process of making the rounds with the coffee and then clearing the plates. You could also make the comment, "No rush, just let me get these out of your way."
 

MooseTrax

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a few times it has been very quite and nothing gets a conversation started. if a few attempts don't get any respones i let them go their own way. dh is the colorful one so he can usaully get a conversation going with one group and then others will join or not as they choose. tomorrw should be good if i can get our guests to talk about their business as limo drivers in nyc. they had some good stories at check in they might repeat. the whole family owns and drives the limos.
 

Suzie Q

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I'm relatively new to more than one couple. Our breakfast area is rather cozy, so I just serve and take out the dishes. When one couple, I let them be by themselves unless they ask me to join them. Usually when more than one couple, they have "joyous conversations," really enjoying themselves. I wonder if great conversation at a breakfast table will make folks want to return, or have nothing to do with returning?
Carol
 

Country Girl

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We have individual tables. After I make the introductions the guests will usually chat back and forth and many times they linger long after breakfast is over. My dilema is when to clear the dishes away from the table. If they are having a great conversation I hate to break the momentum by stepping in to start clearing. If I do, they usually take that as a signal to leave the table. But I also hate to leave dirty dishes in front of them.
If the room is awkwardly quiet then I usually start in with a joke. My latest one starts, "An innkeeper, a CEO, and a missionary walk into a bar.." LOL
(Thanks Yellow Socks).
Country Girl said:
We have individual tables. After I make the introductions the guests will usually chat back and forth and many times they linger long after breakfast is over. My dilema is when to clear the dishes away from the table. If they are having a great conversation I hate to break the momentum by stepping in to start clearing. If I do, they usually take that as a signal to leave the table. But I also hate to leave dirty dishes in front of them.
If the room is awkwardly quiet then I usually start in with a joke. My latest one starts, "An innkeeper, a CEO, and a missionary walk into a bar.." LOL
(Thanks Yellow Socks)
I usually do a quick stroll thru the room with the coffee pot in hand, doing refills. Then I go back for the plates. The guests have their coffee, so they 'get' that it's ok to hang out and talk. If they have maps or brochures spread out, I say, 'Let me get those dishes out of your way. If you need help planning your road trip, let me know.' A lot of guests read the paper to each other at breakfast and as soon as the papers come back out, I know it's ok to clear.
Now there are times when I do need the guests to get up as there are others waiting, but generally the other guests themselves make it quite clear they're ready to sit down.
That's where I have problems. When guests are obviously done but they think they bought the table for the morning. They could move to the sitting room or to the kitchen area to continue their coffee, but they don't. In that case, I set the next guests up in the living room.
.
Bree said:
Country Girl said:
We have individual tables. After I make the introductions the guests will usually chat back and forth and many times they linger long after breakfast is over. My dilema is when to clear the dishes away from the table. If they are having a great conversation I hate to break the momentum by stepping in to start clearing. If I do, they usually take that as a signal to leave the table. But I also hate to leave dirty dishes in front of them.
If the room is awkwardly quiet then I usually start in with a joke. My latest one starts, "An innkeeper, a CEO, and a missionary walk into a bar.." LOL
(Thanks Yellow Socks)
I usually do a quick stroll thru the room with the coffee pot in hand, doing refills. Then I go back for the plates. The guests have their coffee, so they 'get' that it's ok to hang out and talk. If they have maps or brochures spread out, I say, 'Let me get those dishes out of your way. If you need help planning your road trip, let me know.' A lot of guests read the paper to each other at breakfast and as soon as the papers come back out, I know it's ok to clear.
Now there are times when I do need the guests to get up as there are others waiting, but generally the other guests themselves make it quite clear they're ready to sit down.
That's where I have problems. When guests are obviously done but they think they bought the table for the morning. They could move to the sitting room or to the kitchen area to continue their coffee, but they don't. In that case, I set the next guests up in the living room.
I tried that today and it worked beautifully! Thanks for the great tip!
 

JBloggs

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Depends on how many are seated, if it is a full table they can make their own fun. One couple I will interact more (if they appear to want that). Two couples unless they ask me a question, they are on their own. I walk through and refill coffees and give oppty's for questions and conversation.
 

Samster

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Depends on how many are seated, if it is a full table they can make their own fun. One couple I will interact more (if they appear to want that). Two couples unless they ask me a question, they are on their own. I walk through and refill coffees and give oppty's for questions and conversation..
Sometimes one couple wants to be left alone... Today, reading their paper all through breakfast. My dh, "The Entertainment Committee", had his feelings hurt. lol! They ate everything on their plates and wanted seconds. Then, when they were finished...super chatty. Chatty Chattersons. And they had been up and out & about before breakfast which RARELY happens here.
Ya just never know....gotta go with the flow....
 
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