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Pros and Cons of Continental

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wendydk

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For those of you who do a continental only breakfast....
  1. What is your demographic?
  2. What do you serve, how, where and when?
  3. Do you feel it provides less Innkeeper/Guest Interaction?
  4. Do you feel it negatively impacts a guest's perception, or do they seem to prefer it?
  5. How much lower is your rate than your full-breakfast competitors?
As an Innkeeper traveling, do you prefer continental to a full breakfast with other guests?
This month's special involves a deep discount and a continental breakfast...as a result, November this year was twice the rooms and revenue we usually do in Nov. Life as an Innkeeper this month has been the easiest ever for me, but especially for D., who cooks full breakfast BEFORE driving 45 minutes each way to work his 9 hours. So, the idea of doing it full time seems attractive.
This would also make it easier to get the fourth room producing, as our dining room is perfect for three couples, but would be too tight for four couples at once. No room, time or inclination to offer two brekkie seatings. Rooms are too small for in-room brekkie, and noplace else to set up more tables either...
I appreciate in advance everyone's input.
 

JBloggs

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You could have the staggered breakfast times. We did that at a couple B&B's they have a little sign up with time slots, we put our name down and showed up.
I am not opposed to a continental. But then I am not a big breakfast person...anymore.
 

Morticia

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I don't do a continental unless we have a full house booking.
As a guest, I would rather have a full, seated breakfast.
We can have 19 in the house if we are full to the rafters. We can seat 11, 12 if they really like each other and are willing to have someone on the corner of the table. It's a problem sometimes, but not enough so I would worry about it too much. However, the difference between seating 11 and then 8 is quite different from seating 6 and then 2. That 2 may really feel left out.
Do you have room to set up a table for 2 in the living room or elsewhere? If so, you can upsell the 'romantic, dine alone by candlelight' breakfast. Just ask each arrival until someone takes you up on it!
 

Innkeeper To Go

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I think if your repeat guests are used to a full breakfast, they're probably not going to be as happy with a continental.
I think Joey's idea of a staggered serving time is a great option. I've also seen inns with limited dining space do a lovely breakfast-in-room option, complete with multiple courses. Bree's candlelight breakfast is also a lovely idea. But the guests who don't get the special table may think they're getting something less special. That's always tricky to maneuver - an option that's only available to 1 room.
I know some inns that do a continental breakfast weekdays, thinking that the business travelers would like it. As someone who is frequently one of those travelers, I can say it always feels a bit disappointing. Like the honored guests are the ones who come on the weekend, so they get the full spread.
Bottom line is that when you change what you're currently offering guests, it's really important that they don't see themselves as losing something...
 

Samster

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For me, offering a continental breakfast depends on your price point. One of the main things that draw many people to B&Bs is the breakfast part of B&B! As a guest, I might choose a known quantity of a chain hotel with a continental instead if the price is close.
We have a breakfast "window" and people choose when to eat. The only time we can't do this is when we have a full house (which can mean as many as 15 at the table). Then, we have 2 set seatings. But having people sign up for a staggered breakfast time may not work for you if the cook has to be on the road by a certain time. :)
 

muirford

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It might be important to check out what your competition is doing. Some regions (like the Northeast) and some towns (like Charleston, SC) the standard is a continental breakfast and it's what is expected. What is your competition doing?
I have had some sit-down breakfasts that were tragic, and some continentals that were wonderful. I don't think there's a right or wrong decision here - just what makes sense for your market.
 

Samster

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It might be important to check out what your competition is doing. Some regions (like the Northeast) and some towns (like Charleston, SC) the standard is a continental breakfast and it's what is expected. What is your competition doing?
I have had some sit-down breakfasts that were tragic, and some continentals that were wonderful. I don't think there's a right or wrong decision here - just what makes sense for your market..
That is an excellent point - what is right for your market! But if you are charging $300 in a market where the average nightly rate is $100 with a continental brekkie, you might need to think about what you're doing to command the higher rate. ;-)
 

wendydk

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Everyone else in our market serves full brekkie and we are already on the low end of the price scale, and I would have no problem pricing fairly for a continental plus. Not a chain hotel within 30 miles, and our market demographic is very young. All this month, I was amazed how late people slept in when they knew they could come down and get a quick brekkie anytime.
Mostly trying to think of ways to make life easier for D. (who works way harder and more than I do), and for myself with a possible fourth room and no staff but me.
Hmmm....have to ponder that, I guess.
 

JBloggs

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It might be important to check out what your competition is doing. Some regions (like the Northeast) and some towns (like Charleston, SC) the standard is a continental breakfast and it's what is expected. What is your competition doing?
I have had some sit-down breakfasts that were tragic, and some continentals that were wonderful. I don't think there's a right or wrong decision here - just what makes sense for your market..
muirford said:
It might be important to check out what your competition is doing. Some regions (like the Northeast) and some towns (like Charleston, SC) the standard is a continental breakfast and it's what is expected. What is your competition doing?
I have had some sit-down breakfasts that were tragic, and some continentals that were wonderful. I don't think there's a right or wrong decision here - just what makes sense for your market.
Right! Just because it is sit down doesn't mean it is delicious either. Like the place in TN that divied up the banana between the four people at the table and two of which were the hosts! I felt like Oliver Twist "Might I have s'more plaeze?" She also served stuffed french toast and we argued over it late that it HAD to be a hot dog bun folded over some stuffing?!
Actually was it you or someone else here who uses the term "lipstick on a pig" ?
 

JBloggs

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Everyone else in our market serves full brekkie and we are already on the low end of the price scale, and I would have no problem pricing fairly for a continental plus. Not a chain hotel within 30 miles, and our market demographic is very young. All this month, I was amazed how late people slept in when they knew they could come down and get a quick brekkie anytime.
Mostly trying to think of ways to make life easier for D. (who works way harder and more than I do), and for myself with a possible fourth room and no staff but me.
Hmmm....have to ponder that, I guess..
Little Blue said:
Everyone else in our market serves full brekkie and we are already on the low end of the price scale, and I would have no problem pricing fairly for a continental plus. Not a chain hotel within 30 miles, and our market demographic is very young. All this month, I was amazed how late people slept in when they knew they could come down and get a quick brekkie anytime.
Mostly trying to think of ways to make life easier for D. (who works way harder and more than I do), and for myself with a possible fourth room and no staff but me.
Hmmm....have to ponder that, I guess.
LB might be a slick marketing angle to send out a questionaire to past guests and let them give their input?
Honestly there are so many ways to serve breakfast, and so many moods, there are plenty of times I would love to just grab a plate and coffee and go back and watch tv.
Then there are times when you anticipate a really nice breakfast.
 

gillumhouse

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I think it is a whatever works in your area. IF you have a lot of repeats, they may be disappointed to find you are now Continental. But if you are already on the low end pricewise and you were busier than ever with the Continental, I do not think changing to Continental should be a price issue. Rather than raise rates, you went Continental.
I LOVE breakfast. As a start-up, thinking of the first B & B we went to, I did Continental Plus. I switched because #1 guests were disappointed (even though I stated on the web site what breakfast was) and #2 making a full breakfast was easier than making a couple kinds of muffins and breads each morning.
 

Morticia

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It might be important to check out what your competition is doing. Some regions (like the Northeast) and some towns (like Charleston, SC) the standard is a continental breakfast and it's what is expected. What is your competition doing?
I have had some sit-down breakfasts that were tragic, and some continentals that were wonderful. I don't think there's a right or wrong decision here - just what makes sense for your market..
muirford said:
It might be important to check out what your competition is doing. Some regions (like the Northeast) and some towns (like Charleston, SC) the standard is a continental breakfast and it's what is expected. What is your competition doing?
I have had some sit-down breakfasts that were tragic, and some continentals that were wonderful. I don't think there's a right or wrong decision here - just what makes sense for your market.
Right! Just because it is sit down doesn't mean it is delicious either. Like the place in TN that divied up the banana between the four people at the table and two of which were the hosts! I felt like Oliver Twist "Might I have s'more plaeze?" She also served stuffed french toast and we argued over it late that it HAD to be a hot dog bun folded over some stuffing?!
Actually was it you or someone else here who uses the term "lipstick on a pig" ?
.
Or it's cold or burnt and the innkeeper just plops it in front of you anyway. THAT irks me. Yeah, it's a waste of food to have to start over if it's burnt, but it's a waste anyway because I'm not eating it.
 

muirford

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This is just my opinion; I don't have your demographic nor your situation. Our younger guests barely struggle to get downstairs awake by 9:30. Around my neighborhood, full breakfasts are the 'done' thing and we are not at the lowest end of the spectrum. The low-end chain hotel has a continental with cook-your-own waffles (batter in a paper cup) so I'd rather not do anything that remotely resembles their offering. The other local hotels don't include breakfast or coffee, and it's a pretty penny to eat in their restaurants.
With a younger crowd and prices at the low-end - and maybe mostly single night stays ? - I'd do a fabulous continental. Organic yogurts, a few kind of juices, hard-boiled eggs, toast your own bread and bagels, organic cereals and milk - maybe some smoked salmon for the bagels, a few sweetbreads. Super-good coffee. Just be careful to be sure you will have the occupancy so you won't waste a lot of stuff, and invest in a fridge for the dining room to keep the yogurts chilled so you don't have to toss it at the end of the breakfast time.
The Swann House B&B in DC has a wonderful continental breakfast (because of local health department laws) with lots of organic stuff and choices with protein or whole-grain carbs. I think lots of the younger crowd would prefer that.
 

muirford

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It might be important to check out what your competition is doing. Some regions (like the Northeast) and some towns (like Charleston, SC) the standard is a continental breakfast and it's what is expected. What is your competition doing?
I have had some sit-down breakfasts that were tragic, and some continentals that were wonderful. I don't think there's a right or wrong decision here - just what makes sense for your market..
muirford said:
It might be important to check out what your competition is doing. Some regions (like the Northeast) and some towns (like Charleston, SC) the standard is a continental breakfast and it's what is expected. What is your competition doing?
I have had some sit-down breakfasts that were tragic, and some continentals that were wonderful. I don't think there's a right or wrong decision here - just what makes sense for your market.
Right! Just because it is sit down doesn't mean it is delicious either. Like the place in TN that divied up the banana between the four people at the table and two of which were the hosts! I felt like Oliver Twist "Might I have s'more plaeze?" She also served stuffed french toast and we argued over it late that it HAD to be a hot dog bun folded over some stuffing?!
Actually was it you or someone else here who uses the term "lipstick on a pig" ?
.
Or it's cold or burnt and the innkeeper just plops it in front of you anyway. THAT irks me. Yeah, it's a waste of food to have to start over if it's burnt, but it's a waste anyway because I'm not eating it.
.
My pet peeve is heavily-sauced stuff in the morning. I don't like a lot of sauce ever, on anything, and I particularly don't like a heavy, creamy cheesy sauce on top of my eggs, or a load of whipped cream on my fruit or french toast.
 

wendydk

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This is just my opinion; I don't have your demographic nor your situation. Our younger guests barely struggle to get downstairs awake by 9:30. Around my neighborhood, full breakfasts are the 'done' thing and we are not at the lowest end of the spectrum. The low-end chain hotel has a continental with cook-your-own waffles (batter in a paper cup) so I'd rather not do anything that remotely resembles their offering. The other local hotels don't include breakfast or coffee, and it's a pretty penny to eat in their restaurants.
With a younger crowd and prices at the low-end - and maybe mostly single night stays ? - I'd do a fabulous continental. Organic yogurts, a few kind of juices, hard-boiled eggs, toast your own bread and bagels, organic cereals and milk - maybe some smoked salmon for the bagels, a few sweetbreads. Super-good coffee. Just be careful to be sure you will have the occupancy so you won't waste a lot of stuff, and invest in a fridge for the dining room to keep the yogurts chilled so you don't have to toss it at the end of the breakfast time.
The Swann House B&B in DC has a wonderful continental breakfast (because of local health department laws) with lots of organic stuff and choices with protein or whole-grain carbs. I think lots of the younger crowd would prefer that..
muirford said:
With a younger crowd and prices at the low-end - and maybe mostly single night stays ?
Actually, our average stay is about 3 nights...very very few one nighters here. I notice since I've been doing this special, nearly everyone comes down and partakes AFTER 9am...only one couple that were up and around early. But then, I advertise it as "your excuse to sleep in", so I should not be suprised!
This special involves freshly baked sweet breads or muffins, individually wrapped cups of fruit, juice and hot beverages. We are a very casual place with a laid back crowd, and a fancy continental plus with some of the items mentioned would be very out of place, although adding yogurt would be easy enough with the existing fridge.
While everyone else does serve a full brekkie, I've never been afraid to be the different one...it's what has made us so popular so far. Well, really just a nebulous thought...some way to make both our lives easier. Maybe I'll just have to look forward to November each year.
 

JBloggs

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This is just my opinion; I don't have your demographic nor your situation. Our younger guests barely struggle to get downstairs awake by 9:30. Around my neighborhood, full breakfasts are the 'done' thing and we are not at the lowest end of the spectrum. The low-end chain hotel has a continental with cook-your-own waffles (batter in a paper cup) so I'd rather not do anything that remotely resembles their offering. The other local hotels don't include breakfast or coffee, and it's a pretty penny to eat in their restaurants.
With a younger crowd and prices at the low-end - and maybe mostly single night stays ? - I'd do a fabulous continental. Organic yogurts, a few kind of juices, hard-boiled eggs, toast your own bread and bagels, organic cereals and milk - maybe some smoked salmon for the bagels, a few sweetbreads. Super-good coffee. Just be careful to be sure you will have the occupancy so you won't waste a lot of stuff, and invest in a fridge for the dining room to keep the yogurts chilled so you don't have to toss it at the end of the breakfast time.
The Swann House B&B in DC has a wonderful continental breakfast (because of local health department laws) with lots of organic stuff and choices with protein or whole-grain carbs. I think lots of the younger crowd would prefer that..
muirford said:
With a younger crowd and prices at the low-end - and maybe mostly single night stays ?
Actually, our average stay is about 3 nights...very very few one nighters here. I notice since I've been doing this special, nearly everyone comes down and partakes AFTER 9am...only one couple that were up and around early. But then, I advertise it as "your excuse to sleep in", so I should not be suprised!
This special involves freshly baked sweet breads or muffins, individually wrapped cups of fruit, juice and hot beverages. We are a very casual place with a laid back crowd, and a fancy continental plus with some of the items mentioned would be very out of place, although adding yogurt would be easy enough with the existing fridge.
While everyone else does serve a full brekkie, I've never been afraid to be the different one...it's what has made us so popular so far. Well, really just a nebulous thought...some way to make both our lives easier. Maybe I'll just have to look forward to November each year.
.
There is nothing better than a really good bagel, I can't get them around here and would go nuts over that! But if a breakfast becomes too much home-baked then it is defeating the k.i.s.s plan. If I eat a continental I usually add yoghurt to my cereal of choice - the main reason is the milk is never cold enough.
I think you have a good plan and receptive guests from what you have described. When we started out it was buffet style - and I will be honest it cost MORE than a plated multi course breakfast. I had to put out ample of everything each day and I couldn't put it back out if it was not super fresh or refreeze most of it.
 

muirford

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This is just my opinion; I don't have your demographic nor your situation. Our younger guests barely struggle to get downstairs awake by 9:30. Around my neighborhood, full breakfasts are the 'done' thing and we are not at the lowest end of the spectrum. The low-end chain hotel has a continental with cook-your-own waffles (batter in a paper cup) so I'd rather not do anything that remotely resembles their offering. The other local hotels don't include breakfast or coffee, and it's a pretty penny to eat in their restaurants.
With a younger crowd and prices at the low-end - and maybe mostly single night stays ? - I'd do a fabulous continental. Organic yogurts, a few kind of juices, hard-boiled eggs, toast your own bread and bagels, organic cereals and milk - maybe some smoked salmon for the bagels, a few sweetbreads. Super-good coffee. Just be careful to be sure you will have the occupancy so you won't waste a lot of stuff, and invest in a fridge for the dining room to keep the yogurts chilled so you don't have to toss it at the end of the breakfast time.
The Swann House B&B in DC has a wonderful continental breakfast (because of local health department laws) with lots of organic stuff and choices with protein or whole-grain carbs. I think lots of the younger crowd would prefer that..
muirford said:
With a younger crowd and prices at the low-end - and maybe mostly single night stays ?
Actually, our average stay is about 3 nights...very very few one nighters here. I notice since I've been doing this special, nearly everyone comes down and partakes AFTER 9am...only one couple that were up and around early. But then, I advertise it as "your excuse to sleep in", so I should not be suprised!
This special involves freshly baked sweet breads or muffins, individually wrapped cups of fruit, juice and hot beverages. We are a very casual place with a laid back crowd, and a fancy continental plus with some of the items mentioned would be very out of place, although adding yogurt would be easy enough with the existing fridge.
While everyone else does serve a full brekkie, I've never been afraid to be the different one...it's what has made us so popular so far. Well, really just a nebulous thought...some way to make both our lives easier. Maybe I'll just have to look forward to November each year.
.
Little Blue said:
This special involves freshly baked sweet breads or muffins, individually wrapped cups of fruit, juice and hot beverages. We are a very casual place with a laid back crowd, and a fancy continental plus with some of the items mentioned would be very out of place, although adding yogurt would be easy enough with the existing fridge.
Now as a guest, I would not like such a limited choice of a continental, although it's nice to have the fresh fruit which is often lacking. I would want a protein choice - hard-boiled eggs or yogurt - and a whole grain, savory bread, not just sweet bread or muffins. But that's just me.
We're not a frou-frou place either - my DH and I greet my guests and serve breakfast in jeans and sneakers. I don't think these days that casual invokes low-end. Even with a continental I would want my breakfast to be unique from the chain hotel offerings. You do have to manage continentals carefully to avoid wasting food and money.
 

Morticia

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It might be important to check out what your competition is doing. Some regions (like the Northeast) and some towns (like Charleston, SC) the standard is a continental breakfast and it's what is expected. What is your competition doing?
I have had some sit-down breakfasts that were tragic, and some continentals that were wonderful. I don't think there's a right or wrong decision here - just what makes sense for your market..
muirford said:
It might be important to check out what your competition is doing. Some regions (like the Northeast) and some towns (like Charleston, SC) the standard is a continental breakfast and it's what is expected. What is your competition doing?
I have had some sit-down breakfasts that were tragic, and some continentals that were wonderful. I don't think there's a right or wrong decision here - just what makes sense for your market.
Right! Just because it is sit down doesn't mean it is delicious either. Like the place in TN that divied up the banana between the four people at the table and two of which were the hosts! I felt like Oliver Twist "Might I have s'more plaeze?" She also served stuffed french toast and we argued over it late that it HAD to be a hot dog bun folded over some stuffing?!
Actually was it you or someone else here who uses the term "lipstick on a pig" ?
.
Or it's cold or burnt and the innkeeper just plops it in front of you anyway. THAT irks me. Yeah, it's a waste of food to have to start over if it's burnt, but it's a waste anyway because I'm not eating it.
.
My pet peeve is heavily-sauced stuff in the morning. I don't like a lot of sauce ever, on anything, and I particularly don't like a heavy, creamy cheesy sauce on top of my eggs, or a load of whipped cream on my fruit or french toast.
.
muirford said:
My pet peeve is heavily-sauced stuff in the morning. I don't like a lot of sauce ever, on anything, and I particularly don't like a heavy, creamy cheesy sauce on top of my eggs, or a load of whipped cream on my fruit or french toast.
Ha! I am a very light hand with the sauce and the whipped cream. Gomez is always saying, 'Put more sauce on that.' Maybe on the side, but I am not dousing the food with sauces.
 

Morticia

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This is just my opinion; I don't have your demographic nor your situation. Our younger guests barely struggle to get downstairs awake by 9:30. Around my neighborhood, full breakfasts are the 'done' thing and we are not at the lowest end of the spectrum. The low-end chain hotel has a continental with cook-your-own waffles (batter in a paper cup) so I'd rather not do anything that remotely resembles their offering. The other local hotels don't include breakfast or coffee, and it's a pretty penny to eat in their restaurants.
With a younger crowd and prices at the low-end - and maybe mostly single night stays ? - I'd do a fabulous continental. Organic yogurts, a few kind of juices, hard-boiled eggs, toast your own bread and bagels, organic cereals and milk - maybe some smoked salmon for the bagels, a few sweetbreads. Super-good coffee. Just be careful to be sure you will have the occupancy so you won't waste a lot of stuff, and invest in a fridge for the dining room to keep the yogurts chilled so you don't have to toss it at the end of the breakfast time.
The Swann House B&B in DC has a wonderful continental breakfast (because of local health department laws) with lots of organic stuff and choices with protein or whole-grain carbs. I think lots of the younger crowd would prefer that..
We have definitely found that the continental with the young wedding crowd goes over well. They can wander in whenever they want (we leave it out until 10-ish) and toast a bagel, have some coffee, whatever. The yogurts really do well. Fresh fruit, not so much. I usually have a ton leftover. And Froot Loops and Apple Jacks. They love that stuff.
 

Morticia

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This is just my opinion; I don't have your demographic nor your situation. Our younger guests barely struggle to get downstairs awake by 9:30. Around my neighborhood, full breakfasts are the 'done' thing and we are not at the lowest end of the spectrum. The low-end chain hotel has a continental with cook-your-own waffles (batter in a paper cup) so I'd rather not do anything that remotely resembles their offering. The other local hotels don't include breakfast or coffee, and it's a pretty penny to eat in their restaurants.
With a younger crowd and prices at the low-end - and maybe mostly single night stays ? - I'd do a fabulous continental. Organic yogurts, a few kind of juices, hard-boiled eggs, toast your own bread and bagels, organic cereals and milk - maybe some smoked salmon for the bagels, a few sweetbreads. Super-good coffee. Just be careful to be sure you will have the occupancy so you won't waste a lot of stuff, and invest in a fridge for the dining room to keep the yogurts chilled so you don't have to toss it at the end of the breakfast time.
The Swann House B&B in DC has a wonderful continental breakfast (because of local health department laws) with lots of organic stuff and choices with protein or whole-grain carbs. I think lots of the younger crowd would prefer that..
muirford said:
With a younger crowd and prices at the low-end - and maybe mostly single night stays ?
Actually, our average stay is about 3 nights...very very few one nighters here. I notice since I've been doing this special, nearly everyone comes down and partakes AFTER 9am...only one couple that were up and around early. But then, I advertise it as "your excuse to sleep in", so I should not be suprised!
This special involves freshly baked sweet breads or muffins, individually wrapped cups of fruit, juice and hot beverages. We are a very casual place with a laid back crowd, and a fancy continental plus with some of the items mentioned would be very out of place, although adding yogurt would be easy enough with the existing fridge.
While everyone else does serve a full brekkie, I've never been afraid to be the different one...it's what has made us so popular so far. Well, really just a nebulous thought...some way to make both our lives easier. Maybe I'll just have to look forward to November each year.
.
It's totally based on what your crowd wants. You've had years to perfect the brekkie based on what you know gets eaten. I could probably just do scrambled eggs, omelets, french toast and pancakes and have a perfectly happy clientele. No one here is looking for anything over the top. Whenever we get the new griddles we're even going to try 'cooked to order' with any of the above on the menu everyday. But I wonder if MOST guests wouldn't rather be 'surprised' each morning and maybe take a step outside their comfort zone!
 
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