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agoodman

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I am one of a few Bed & Breakfasts that do dinners and other meals. I am not blowing my own trumpet, it is a lot of work and not a money maker, (by the time I have added up shopping time, prep, serving and cleanup and food cost ....) but I do it because there is not much around me in the way of decent eating, and because many of my guests enjoy not having to go out and drive again to get something to eat. It DOES bring me added room nights and repeat guests from that standpoint.
However I was embarrased when a guest of mine told me the following - she had called a B&B and asked if they served dinner - their reply - WE ARE A BED AND BREAKFAST NOT A RESTAURANT
Now come on people, mind the sarcasm. Just nicely tell the potential guest that no, unfortunately you don't do dinners and maybe recommend somewhere in the area that they can eat. They didn't know or they would not have called. Maybe or maybe not it's on your website that you don't (or can't, because of food service regulations) but the WAY you reply goes a long way to how the guest perceives you.
 

scrambled_eggs

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It is great that you are able to include dinners. I know it would be a lot of work but I am sure the guests appreciate it. Here in California they won't allow it with the kind of kitchen I have since it is not commerical so I would get in trouble doing that. I'm not sure if that is a statewide thing or a county thing. The county health dept is the one who comes and inspects the kitchen. It is interesting to see how regulations are different in other states.
 

Samster

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I just let callers know that we could only serve one meal, breakfast, and that was to our registered guests only because of our licensing. I also told them that we had an extensive list of local places to eat for our guests.
 

gillumhouse

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Goodness, what a sweet reply! Just goes to show not everyone should be an innkeeper. I am fortunate in that I can do dinners for registered guests only. Otherwise I would be a restaurant and be required to have a commercial kitchen. The way I put it when I am asked is "Only for registered guests, otherwise I would be a restaurant and I do not want to work that hard." as I try to put a smile in my voice. It is posted on my websitethat I do packages that include dinners. It is a tremendous amount of work, but the guests like it.
 

egoodell

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We are polite when they ask - they don't know what our county allows - why should they? I tell them we are not allowed to serve dinner or lunch. We also have an amenity they can order for a gourmet picnic they can enjoy at the inn. I pick up gourmet sandwiches, kettle chips, salads, cheese for a cheese platter for an appetizer, and a fresh pastry dessert and include a bottle of wine. Guests who don't want to drive the 6 miles to dinner love it.
RIki
 

Don Draper

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I am the sarcasm QUEEN and I would never speak to someone that way. A simple "We just serve breakfast and only to guests staying here" covers it all.
God Bless You serving dinners...when you ever get any free time??? By 6 pm I am packing it in.
 

MTLLodge

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Goodness, what a sweet reply! Just goes to show not everyone should be an innkeeper. I am fortunate in that I can do dinners for registered guests only. Otherwise I would be a restaurant and be required to have a commercial kitchen. The way I put it when I am asked is "Only for registered guests, otherwise I would be a restaurant and I do not want to work that hard." as I try to put a smile in my voice. It is posted on my websitethat I do packages that include dinners. It is a tremendous amount of work, but the guests like it..
gillumhouse said:
Goodness, what a sweet reply! Just goes to show not everyone should be an innkeeper.
Thats the problem some innkeepers shouldn't be innkeepers!
 

Alibi Ike

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Goodness, what a sweet reply! Just goes to show not everyone should be an innkeeper. I am fortunate in that I can do dinners for registered guests only. Otherwise I would be a restaurant and be required to have a commercial kitchen. The way I put it when I am asked is "Only for registered guests, otherwise I would be a restaurant and I do not want to work that hard." as I try to put a smile in my voice. It is posted on my websitethat I do packages that include dinners. It is a tremendous amount of work, but the guests like it..
gillumhouse said:
Goodness, what a sweet reply! Just goes to show not everyone should be an innkeeper.
Thats the problem some innkeepers shouldn't be innkeepers!
.
MTLLodge said:
gillumhouse said:
Goodness, what a sweet reply! Just goes to show not everyone should be an innkeeper.
Thats the problem some innkeepers shouldn't be innkeepers!
Into every profession a little rain must fall.
 

agoodman

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It is great that you are able to include dinners. I know it would be a lot of work but I am sure the guests appreciate it. Here in California they won't allow it with the kind of kitchen I have since it is not commerical so I would get in trouble doing that. I'm not sure if that is a statewide thing or a county thing. The county health dept is the one who comes and inspects the kitchen. It is interesting to see how regulations are different in other states..
I did have to get a separate food service permit for anything other than dinners and my health inspector did require a few other things but I know the regs in other states are MUCH more strict
 

muirford

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Maybe that innkeeper was on their 15th call that day asking for a restaurant, while scrambling to find somebody to fill in for a full weekend because her mother-in-law had just passed away, and this particular phone call came at 11:00 at night. I'm sure the guest didn't paint herself in a bad light, but that's her side of the story. It's a pretty big leap to say that the innkeeper shouldn't be in the business because of that one comment without hearing her side of the story.
That statement, in and of itself, is something I say on a regular basis - We are a bed and breakfast, we don't have a restaurant - because my biggest competition in town is listed in some places as a B&B and they have a very well-known restaurant.
No, it wasn't me that did it - that I know of - but if we are going to ask for forbearance for ourselves let's be a little more generous in giving it to others.
 

gillumhouse

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Maybe that innkeeper was on their 15th call that day asking for a restaurant, while scrambling to find somebody to fill in for a full weekend because her mother-in-law had just passed away, and this particular phone call came at 11:00 at night. I'm sure the guest didn't paint herself in a bad light, but that's her side of the story. It's a pretty big leap to say that the innkeeper shouldn't be in the business because of that one comment without hearing her side of the story.
That statement, in and of itself, is something I say on a regular basis - We are a bed and breakfast, we don't have a restaurant - because my biggest competition in town is listed in some places as a B&B and they have a very well-known restaurant.
No, it wasn't me that did it - that I know of - but if we are going to ask for forbearance for ourselves let's be a little more generous in giving it to others..
I know you just went through a bad time, but I cannot imagine you answering like that - ever! You are too aware of being an innkeeper. You are correct though in painting a scenario that would push one to the brink. I know I gave a snarky e-mail reply to someone in early November who raked me over the coals and who then responded I had no business being in the hospitality business. Honestly, on some days he was right.
That said, I do believe there are some in this business who DO give us a bad name - those who had no idea what they were getting into and wish they had not, those who are ready to move on and cannot (no one that is here - I am referring to those who have been trying to sell for many years but have no website much less online rez and cannot unsderstand why they cannot sell), and those who list as a B & B because someone told them that is how they should list themselves but are NOT a B & B (more motel).
A dear friend who now has a B & B herself told me of their first B & B stay. It really was a motel (son said we should put B & B on the sign) and was horrible. It would have been the last B & B except they had reservations at another the next night of their vacation and could not back out. THAT B & B made them B & B people. Fortunately they saw the difference quickly enough to make the difference. That is what I meant by some innkeepers should not be innkeepers.
 

agoodman

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Free time? None of that ... I also have a 2nd job working from home (customer service) which I have been doing ever since I had the Inn, it helps pay the bills although not great $$, but the sched flexibility suits me
I would love to have a vacation, I don't think my finances or my bankruptcy trustee would see kindly to that .... so I just keep working and thank God that the last 4 months have been significantly better than the first 8 of this year "significantly" not meaning great but better .... and I only hope that things stay at least this way, but an improvement would be nice ...
 

Alibi Ike

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Maybe that innkeeper was on their 15th call that day asking for a restaurant, while scrambling to find somebody to fill in for a full weekend because her mother-in-law had just passed away, and this particular phone call came at 11:00 at night. I'm sure the guest didn't paint herself in a bad light, but that's her side of the story. It's a pretty big leap to say that the innkeeper shouldn't be in the business because of that one comment without hearing her side of the story.
That statement, in and of itself, is something I say on a regular basis - We are a bed and breakfast, we don't have a restaurant - because my biggest competition in town is listed in some places as a B&B and they have a very well-known restaurant.
No, it wasn't me that did it - that I know of - but if we are going to ask for forbearance for ourselves let's be a little more generous in giving it to others..
muirford said:
No, it wasn't me that did it - that I know of - but if we are going to ask for forbearance for ourselves let's be a little more generous in giving it to others.
Touché
 

Breakfast Diva

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It is great that you are able to include dinners. I know it would be a lot of work but I am sure the guests appreciate it. Here in California they won't allow it with the kind of kitchen I have since it is not commerical so I would get in trouble doing that. I'm not sure if that is a statewide thing or a county thing. The county health dept is the one who comes and inspects the kitchen. It is interesting to see how regulations are different in other states..
I did have to get a separate food service permit for anything other than dinners and my health inspector did require a few other things but I know the regs in other states are MUCH more strict
.
At 1:30 today I have the health inspector coming to ok us for our restaurant license. Looking toward the future, both for revenue and resale, we decided to go ahead and do what was necessary to make it a commercial kitchen. It's a big expense both in equipment and labor. Fortunately we found a used commercial dishwasher on craigslist for only $1,000 (they run approx $4,000), had the floor sink installed and a 3rd sink for a dedicated handwashing sink plus running 220 electric to the dishwasher. Between electrician, plumber and equipment it's going to be about $3,500...that's a lot of dinners, but we consider it an investment for the future. We do think the dinners will go over well with our guests and plan on offering them during the slower seasons.
As far as the snippy innkeeper's remark, I'm sure it could happen to any of us during a stressful time, but it's good to post it here so that maybe our brains will quickly remember these discussions before we blurt out something we'll regret later.
 

Joey Camb

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we in theory could do dinners but it would come with a lot more paperwork and I ain't a good cook (of anything but breakfast) also we are within 10 mins walk of 45 restaurants and 5 delivery places it just would not be worth it. I would end up in every night for 2 people at most. I would also point out that because of the volume of restaurants they are of an excellent standard and price I reaslistically could not compete. We will do packed lunches though which I feel is a good compromise and helps a lot of our busy clients much more. I think it is something that works better in more remote places as it means a captive audience to a certain extent but here there is just too much competition.
 

agoodman

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Heck if I was within TEN minutes of even one "decent" restaurant I probably would not do them .... and NO delivery in this area ...
 

MTLLodge

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I wish we didn't need a commercial kitchen to serve meals other then breakfast. I thought if you had 4 or less rooms you didn't have to have a commerical kitchen, but here in Missouri that is not the case. Food comes under different regulations. It was just the regulations for hotel.
 

gillumhouse

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I wish we didn't need a commercial kitchen to serve meals other then breakfast. I thought if you had 4 or less rooms you didn't have to have a commerical kitchen, but here in Missouri that is not the case. Food comes under different regulations. It was just the regulations for hotel..
MTLLodge said:
I wish we didn't need a commercial kitchen to serve meals other then breakfast. I thought if you had 4 or less rooms you didn't have to have a commerical kitchen, but here in Missouri that is not the case. Food comes under different regulations. It was just the regulations for hotel.
That was why the WV Association came into being - to fight the commercial kitchen issue. We then became a marketing focus that watches legislation. In 2006 we went to the Legislature for relief on the Fire Codes.
 

JBloggs

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Is there a reason restaurants require a commercial kitchen and health dept inspections?
 
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