Should I Sell A Service?

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Generic

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We have a patio. Some of the guests want breakfast on the patio. Now the terms have always been, you pick up the tray and go out and bring back the tray when finished. No asking us for things, no running in and out... you get the tray, you eat breakfast out there and you leave me the f*1$*(#@ alone, because I still have to do normal service inside and I can't have my attention in two places.

Today's guest ran in and out while I was preparing breakfast. (They must pass BEHIND me while doing this, while I'm working in the kitchen.) And then they left their breakfast tray outside.

I'm contemplating one of two solutions.
  1. A clean sign indicating that breakfast on the patio means you are responsible to pick up the breakfast tray, return the breakfast tray with all implements and trash and that no requests can be made once seated as we need to concentrate on those having full service breakfast inside. If we need to pick up the tray, the cost is $25 plus tax.
  2. Full service breakfast on the patio is available at an extra charge of $10 (plus tax) per person, which means we bring out the tray, pick up the tray and we will fulfil requests.
For #2, I'm thinking setting up a Square QR code to scan to pay us and setting it up to trigger an email asking if they want hot coffee or tea and how many servings. If they need cold water, orange juice or juice of the day. If they want toast of bagel (slices or halves) along with butter or jam. What time they want the tray ready. There are two spots, the table and the conversation set... you can't specify, it's first come first served.

Do you think I can get them to do #1 for free, which has been the norm up to now... but obviously these a**hats just couldn't be respectful and having a sign with a cost might make them realize that there is a cost associated with being a**hats?

Why the $25 charge? Well, the $10 would be prepaid via a QR code or website link, processed by Square and done. The $25 I have to manually process.
 

GoodScout

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We offer breakfast on our patio at no extra charge.

I don't know the logistics of your place, but our back deck is just outside of our main dining room, so we're only talking about an extra 10 steps for our staff.

We do tell guests if they want juice, cereal, fruit, yogurt, etc. from our sideboards they have to come in and help themselves. But we do set the tables on the deck, take orders, and bring the hot breakfasts out to them. Then bus them when they leave just like our dining room tables.

Truth be told, I'd be a little disappointed if you tried to charge me extra to eat outside. I'd accept it, but I'd think less of my experience because of it.

When I train new innkeepers, I always tell them "Stop thinking about your experience and start thinking about improving your customers' experience."
 

Generic

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To get to the patio is though the kitchen and another room. We don't have staff. I generally have to do service myself or with a little help from my partner. But I'm cooking breakfast and serving it.

I don't mind offering for free, if they do the extra... take it out, bring it back. But I just have no way to handle serving them out there without actually stopping cooking and taking my attention away from the guests in the dining room.

I don't want to actually charge... I want them to take the responsibility for the extra work. Not leave me a tray outside that needs immediate attention because of the squirrels, wasps and everything else.
 

Morticia

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If it needs perspective, it’s not much different than room service. Someone has to deliver the meal to the room (patio) and there’s a fee.

We only did outdoor service for two years. It involved me running trays up and down a flight of 15 steps. Good exercise, but that was about it. If guests tried eating after 9 am they were in direct sunlight and it was pretty toasty.
 

TheBeachHouse

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Our buffet is serve serve and self clean up. Every once in awhile, someone doesn’t clean up after themselves. I generally figure, oh welll, they won’t be back, so, whatever.

But again, not sure how far away the patio is. You can always, remind them as you give them the tray, “don’t forget to return all your dishes when you’re finished! The raccoons are just waiting for a chance at my french toast!”
 

Momma Smurf

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We require every one to eat outside on our front porch, six rooms, just the two of us. They load up their trays in the dining room; we open the door for them, and definitely remove plates, trays, etc. SOP.
 

gillumhouse

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I have had a regular who loved to sit on the porch with breakfast. I was happy to set it up for her - BUT she was usually here during the week and the ONLY guest each time. The morning sun floods my front porch and I cannot imagine sitting there with the sun in my eyes.

Another aspoct id having to go through the kitchen to get to that patio. When I am making breakfast it is my "breakfast ballet" and I do not like the choreography upset. As a former member Sanctuary said - I also have a "one-butt kitchen". Stay out! Especially when I am cooking!
 

JimBoone

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I don't mind offering for free, if they do the extra... take it out, bring it back. But I just have no way to handle serving them out there without actually stopping cooking and taking my attention away from the guests in the dining room.

Odd thought would there be any benefit to you to offer "patio" service at a specific time (or perhaps at an inconvenient time for the guest to discourage the practice) beginning or ending of your serving times so that your efforts are not split between areas.
 

Jay Curci

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We have room on our porch for two. It's conveniently located for flow of service. It's offered to suites and folks here alone on a slow day, first come first serve. No extra charge!
 

Generic

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We actually like to have someone out there, when it's busy, to cut down on the number inside... but I just can't do full service out there. We make the tray, you bring it back. I'm less interested in the fee... I'm more interested in their understanding that it's the same as a take-away breakfast.

Then again, we just had a guest who we gave a take-away breakfast who decided that everything just went into the trash when they were finished... including all the reusable dishes... we had to fish it out of the garbage. Didn't believe in recycling at all (why did he stay here?) and evey plastic bottle, every paper... everything went into the trash as if this is the 1950s.
 

JimBoone

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Didn't believe in recycling at all (why did he stay here?) and evey plastic bottle, every paper... everything went into the trash as if this is the 1950s.

We have a recycle can in every guest room with a sign as to what can or can't be recycled. For safety I'm not going to sort through their trash, but I swear at times I'm tempted to send it all to them COD and let them sort it out at home.
 

Generic

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We have a recycle can in every guest room with a sign as to what can or can't be recycled. For safety I'm not going to sort through their trash, but I swear at times I'm tempted to send it all to them COD and let them sort it out at home.

We have a recycling box in the room, but we have a sign asking them to bring food down (even from restaurants) so that we can deal with composting. We don't mind doing it. Most of our guests are actually happy to compost. I usually attract a more environmental group.
 

Anon Inn

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Porch is just off the dining room, so if they want outdoor service, its no extra work. Lots of porch service in the last two years. This year too cool here (so far)
For recycle, if they use the supplied bin, all good, if not, I no longer fish through the trash.
 
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