Is Breakfast the Most Important (Hotel) Meal of the Day?Evil Erik, being a true F&B expert, hates breakfast. Not only that he doesnt like getting up so early, healso feels that “breakfast is just a cost center ".Supervising that activity in his hotel is therefore delegated to the Junior Assistant F&B Manager, whosimply doesnt realize that most hotel guests favorite amenity is “free " breakfast.Neither Erik, nor the rest of his F&B staff, comprehend that the word "breakfast" actually consists of twowords, break and fast.The use of those words stems from the concept that sleep prevents eating, thus an unconsciousabstention occurs during sleep and that this fast is broken by the first meal of the day, universallyreferred to as breakfast.The French, too, recognize this, as the expression “déjeuner " originates from the Latin verb " jejunare"meaning "to fast " !This meal is a chance for each hotel organization to shine, providing an exceptional breakfast offeringthat makes guests decide to select your property again. And the better the breakfast, the better thechance to keep the guests on property for other F&B experiences!But if you would ask Evil Erik what was the last time that he himself checked the breakfast menu, letalone ate from the buffet itself, he would have to answer ”I dont remember " !Most F&B executives consider breakfast “boring” and “it conflicts with the morning meeting, you cantbe everywhere ....”The common practice of offering breakfast, unfortunately, increases the risk of it becoming acomplimentary product rather than a unique service experience.However F&B experts who choose to focus their creativity on breakfast service and products can stillfind many opportunities to pleasantly surprise and impress their guests.Hotel websites now show an increased attention to breakfast and branding efforts, as well as slogans,like: The Tastiest Wakeup Call of all Best - 4 - Breakfast BIG DAY Breakfast The Art of Breakfast
Now compete directly with the likes of “Heavenly Beds ", etc .....These days, according to every survey Evil Erik reads in the e-hotelier, an inclusive breakfast is rated topof the wish-lists for hotel guests!But then Erik fails to grasp that breakfast included in the price of the booking represents value formoney and is a marketing tool, not " just " an expense and an impact on the food cost.All these findings also clearly reflect that paying extra for breakfast is the top complaint for hotel guestsaround the world.Therefore Erik, and fellow General Managers, an excellent breakfast sparks more than appetite, itensures a happy hotel guest, and please consequently, never, ever underestimate the power ofbreakfast, it is adding to the value proposition.When you think about business travelers budgets being crunched, and equally, about the leisuretourists holiday spending power being reduced, it adds even more value to the room rate.Breakfast is a relatively inexpensive way for a hotel to differentiate itself. Offering "cooked-to-order”omelets are much less expensive than promising guests flat screen TVs or premium mattresses in theirrooms.So Erik, please get rid of the old coffee machine in the kitchen, bring in the premium machine, the coffeeserved in most hotel breakfast rooms is a demonstration on how coffee was produced 60 years ago anda perfect example of ignoring the up-to-date techniques of making coffee fresh, in various variations andon demand.And when will hotels and resorts stop using those sugary travesties called “Danish pastries ", switch thefactory toast bread to freshly baked products, and review the selection of jams which show great skill inhow to keep the food cost low but disregard for the guests sophisticated tastes.Regular guests appreciate the basics but, more and more, value some variety. Hence, start changingyour breakfast food offerings, either seasonally or by some alternative daily / weekly plan.And who invented the policy that breakfast can only be served until 10:00 or 11:00 AM. Guests get upsetthat after that time breakfast is denied, but omelet, coffee and orange juice are items on the regularluncheon and/or dinner menus.So Eric, ask yourself what is the value, and the power of breakfast and then stimulate discussion withyour relevant Department Heads about the way you position your breakfast offerings in promotions, in-house merchandising and in sales presentations!Are you proud of the breakfast you serve?Paying appropriate attention to the breakfast, and to the guests at that time of the day, may lessen therisk of losing the loyalty of a guest.
Update the "small touches" regularly; this might differentiate your hotel, your restaurant and yourbreakfast, which may be the only meal your guests have at your hotel.......Know your guests and " dish up " what they want, attentiveness to their probable service and foodpreferences is within your reach and budgets - if you personally take the time to examine who yourguests are and what they really would like for breakfast.For that reason, please get up one day early and evaluate the actual buffet as it is set up around 06:00AM.These days, healthy alternatives are in demand and many guests are now looking for a heart healthy,lower fat diet and expect hotel breakfasts to meet those needs.Offer something unique and personalized, unfortunately, the commonly breakfast buffet offerings aretoo often just that ... common.Last but not least, look at who welcomes your guests at the entrance of the breakfast area, do they say“good morning” with a smile or bark "voucher" with a growl?Have a senior person at the entrance, not the intern that has no experience (yet) or that employee thathas 2 left hands and is useless in the service.Welcome each guest individually and realize that “good morning “and "please come again " are so muchmore powerful than " what is your room number?” or " have a nice day "........Having the restaurant manager, F&B Director or other manager acting as the “host " in, at least, certainpeak times does make a difference and lets the guests, but also the staff, know how important breakfastis !Whats more, breakfast is the ideal time for any General Manager to interact with guests, and learn agreat deal about the guest experience, by chatting with these guests and through active listening.Unfortunately, Erik also forgets that his sales staff can make excellent contacts at breakfast, andtherefore does not tell them to get out of their offices, stop updating their Face book pages and startinteracting with the people who pay their salaries. Some sales managers might then even rememberagain that these people are called "guests ".Breakfast is what 90 percent of your guests eat, you get them most days for breakfast, and then counthow many times for dinner?Poor Evil Erik, there are just too many other places to go and breakfast might be his only opportunity tooutshine your competition.Therefore, Erik, get up early tomorrow, surprise your staff, and more importantly your guest, youmight get the surprise of your life.