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What time do you serve breakfast?

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We do two seatings at breakfast (8 a.m. and 9 a.m.) and not many folks ever want to eat at the later seating. They all want to eat at 8 so they can "get an early start" with their hikes or skiing. The problem is that the 8 a.m. crew does not get up and leave to start those hikes and skiing once they are finished eating. They linger, they ask for more coffee, they chat. They want to know from us what the best places are to hike and which ski runs are the best, etc. Then the 9 a.m. crew comes to the table and everyone is still there and the 9 a.m. is starving and ready to eat! But the 8 a.m. crew then does one of two things- they jump up from the table and all leave at once (which leaves me a mess to clean up as fast as can so I can re-set the table while I am trying to get the 9 a.m. guests set up with coffees, hot teas, etc.) OR they sit there and ignore the 9 a.m. crew. Any suggestions? (We tried serving even earlier to give the earlier guests more time at the table, but nobody wants to eat before 8 a.m. either.)
We only have room to serve 8 people at once.
 

EmptyNest

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Hmmm tough one...as one of the "perks" of a B & B is to be able to sit around and chat with the other guests and innkeeper about the exact things you say...what to do, where to go, etc. Trying to keep folks on schedule is hard for them and for you. any way you can open up another room for breakfast? Set up chairs and table on a patio, living room?? What about breakfast in their room???? what about Breakfast at 9:30?
Do you serve plated or buffet style?
Since we only had 3 guest rooms we never had this problem. How many guests rooms do you have? Hopefully someone will have some suggestions better than mine. GOod luck
 

The Farmers Daughter

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In the Main Inn, we do a seated and served 3 course breakfast by candlelight. Fine china ...the whole shebang. This is one seating only and goes for about 1 hour to an hour and a half depending on the size and chattyness of the table. Max seating is 8.
The cottage and 1st floor suite gets breakfast packed in a basket and delivered to their doors. This service is a 'call for' between 9 and 10 AM.
 

wendydk

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You didn't say how many rooms you have?
 

Morticia

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If this is otherwise working (and I know how hard it is to get guests OUT of their seats when there is a line waiting!) maybe your brekkie info should contain the info that the first seating is OVER at 8:45 and you will be willing to help them with their plans while you are cleaning the tables.
If you have a 'jovial' personality, you could also try clearing plates as soon as possible and at 8:45 say, 'Sorry folks, I'll need you to step into the living room to continue your conversation, the hungry hordes are at the door!'
Last week was the worst confusion! We do a 'come when you want' style. I had 2 groups of 3, 1 group of 5, 1 single and 2 couples. The tables were set for 3-3-3-2 with the hopes the group of 5 would sit at neighboring tables. The first couple came and took a table for 3 (they could have taken a 2 top), the single came and took a table for 3 (she could have taken the 2 top), the 5 came and took the last 2 tables of 2 and 3 so that worked. BUT, the single would not vacate the table even tho there was a line milling around. She just put the newspaper up higher. The couple did the same thing. Just sat there. C'mon people, you didn't buy the table, you're long done, get up and move to the living room. It's not like they have to leave, just let someone else sit down. Go sit in the comfy chairs!
 

Willowpondgj

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Offer in room breakfasts for some?
Edited to say we serve plated at 8:30 m-f/ 9am s-s unless all guests agree to a different time. All breakfasts before 7:30 or before the agreed upon group breakfast are to-go.
 

JBloggs

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8 and 930 then the earlier will be more prone to leaving by then. 8 to 9 is not much time, and then you have to clear up and reset. Those who prefer a later meal think 9am is too early anyway, so I think 930 works well.
 

The Farmers Daughter

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You didn't say how many rooms you have?.
Little Blue said:
You didn't say how many rooms you have?
I'm not sure if this was a question for me or not, but I have a total of 6.
The Main Inn has 3 rooms and 1 luxury suite on the 2nd floor, a 1st floor suite with a private entrance and a 800 sq ft luxury cottage with private garden that is located away from the Main Inn, in the rear of the property.
 

wendydk

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You didn't say how many rooms you have?.
Little Blue said:
You didn't say how many rooms you have?
I'm not sure if this was a question for me or not, but I have a total of 6.
The Main Inn has 3 rooms and 1 luxury suite on the 2nd floor, a 1st floor suite with a private entrance and a 800 sq ft luxury cottage with private garden that is located away from the Main Inn, in the rear of the property.
.
Thanks FD...but I was wondering how many rooms mountainnkeeper has, to address his/her breakfast problem.
 
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You didn't say how many rooms you have?.
We have six guest rooms and can sleep up to 18 people. We have done the breakfast in the room before, but that only really works with the romantic stays. The normal folks want to eat together and meet each other.
 

gillumhouse

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You asked what time do you serve... My answer will not help you and I only have 3 guestrooms. I can do 6 comfortably, 8 in a pinch, and have done 11 (all in a family so they did not mind scrunch - our gift to the Eagle Scout the morning of the family departure (6 were in-house)). Answer is - we serve any time guest wants between 4 AM and 10 AM. And if requested, the breakfast will be a to-go.
 

Morticia

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So are you saying that you don't have the space to do one seating only?.
The Farmers Daughter said:
So are you saying that you don't have the space to do one seating only?
We certainly don't have the space to seat all 19 at once. Nor would I want to try that! I'm amazed at the 22 being served at once. We're just not that organized. So we kind of hope that guests space themselves out. Most of the time it works fine. Then we get the weekends where everyone sleeps in and they all come at 9:15 so we're still serving after 10.
Or, they all come at 8 and we're done with brekkie at 9 because they all ate and ran!
 

seashanty

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wow! i could seat all at once but served from 8 to about 9:45 (tried to get them out of the breakfast room by 10)
could seat 20 - my max occupancy
if you absolutely can't fit everyone and must have two seatings, you've got to do the hearty innkeeper thing as bree says and heard them out. little tent cards on the table explaining oclock to oclock because of limited seating and also emphasized when they express their desired seating time -
i'm sorry tho - if folks are enjoying their breakfast, they are not going to want to jump up and go in staggered lots to make clearaway, cleaning easier. they are going to stay until their seat is needed.
i had folks come in for breakfast at 8 and not want to shuffle out til 10. having a nice time ...............
would love to see your setup -- can't help thinking i'd be determined to find a way to accommodate more/all at the same time ----
 

Proud Texan

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Two rooms, maximum of 4: breakfast is at 8:30. If we only have one couple, we're flexible.
I tell our guest that we serve it hot at 8:30, warm at 8:45 and cold at 9.
 

Tim_Toad_HLB

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We offer a window of serving from 8-9:30 and have enough individual tables to serve a full house plus two extras even if all show up at the same time. Which happens more often than we desire, but we work it pretty well and pace things so everybody is well fed and not feeling either rushed or neglected. We had nine this morning and the first started about 8:15 and the last group left the dining room at almost 10.
We have the undeveloped space under roof, energy, business potential and enthusiasm to add another guest room, but our dining room lacks the space to comfortably accomodate more than our current maximum of 10-12. A nice luxury to have for the big pitcure, but we're hoping to keep it the way it is for the foreseeable future.
If guests have an early departure and we're not that busy or they are staying in the room off the kitchen that will allow us to serve at 7 or 7:30 , we'll kick it back a little, but any earlier than that and they get the "to go" option.
We don't tell folks to plan their travel days the way they do and if they insist on grabbing early bird flights on the way out and stay at a B&B, then the "to go" option is the price they pay for that choice.
 

Baygirl

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We serve 8-9...have 8 rooms and total seating for 20. We thought people wanted to eat later and tried it later on the weekends from 8-930 and everyone was still down by 9...so we kept 8-9..no complaints so far and this is our 6th summer. Oh yea and we have coffee and tea ready by 7 for the early risers.
 

gillumhouse

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wow! i could seat all at once but served from 8 to about 9:45 (tried to get them out of the breakfast room by 10)
could seat 20 - my max occupancy
if you absolutely can't fit everyone and must have two seatings, you've got to do the hearty innkeeper thing as bree says and heard them out. little tent cards on the table explaining oclock to oclock because of limited seating and also emphasized when they express their desired seating time -
i'm sorry tho - if folks are enjoying their breakfast, they are not going to want to jump up and go in staggered lots to make clearaway, cleaning easier. they are going to stay until their seat is needed.
i had folks come in for breakfast at 8 and not want to shuffle out til 10. having a nice time ...............
would love to see your setup -- can't help thinking i'd be determined to find a way to accommodate more/all at the same time ----.
We frequently have breakfasts at 8 that do not get up to leave until 11 or after. The conversation just flows..... It is a good thing we do not need 2 seatings. Once DH and the guests get rolling......
 

Breakfast Diva

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We have 4 rooms, maximum of 11 but that's rare, it's mostly 8. We deliver breakfast to their door to all rooms. The choice is 9:00 or 9:30 and hot beverages will be delivered outside their door 1 hour before the desired meal time. Since we're rural and laid back, unless people are traveling to the airport, people are not in a hurry around here. We offer a continental breakfast for earlier times and we will put it in their room fridge the night before if they need an early breakfast (yogurt, fruit, muffins, juice, granola). For breakfast tomorrow all 4 rooms have opted for the 9:30 breakfast. On our website we make clear the times, so it probably eliminates most real early breakfast eaters to not book with us.
 

Country Girl

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I serve between 7:30 and 9:00, but if guests want to sleep in it's usually not a problem.
There's a wonderful lunch place nearby that has three seatings; 11:30, 12:45 and 2:00. After the first seating, around 12:40, the hostess will let the patrons know that they have another group waiting for that table. She then invites those lingering to take their coffee (or whatever they are drinking) and enjoy it while they walk around the gardens. Those first two seatings sometimes feel a bit rushed, but everyone knows ahead of time that they are expected to vacate when their specified seating is over.
 
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