Breakfast is typically a BIG deal at most B&B inns as it makes up the second “B” in B&B! For most innkeepers, there is a lot of pressure to make breakfast memorable for their guests. What is great about the B&B experience is every breakfast you have at every B&B is going to be different – no two will be the same.
The differences that you will find in breakfast service at each inn relates to what type of food is served, how it is served and for what time period is breakfast available. Each B&B hones its breakfast service to best fit their particular kitchen space constraints and culinary skills and occasionally local ordinances that may limit if food can be made on premise or not. The size of the inn, number of guests and size of the dining space also plays a part in how breakfast and morning coffee service is delivered at an inn.
At B&Bs where there may be more guests than can fit in the dining area at any one time the innkeepers may offer their guests a choice of times and seating options at check in; other inns choose to just offer breakfast service over a longer period of time and have you just come to breakfast at whatever time suits you and some B&Bs offer breakfast service at one set time.
The next variance in breakfast service for B&Bs relates to the type of seating that is offered. Some B&Bs offer breakfast as a communal affair where all guests are invited to eat together at one big table at one common time. This used to be the most common type of breakfast service in B&Bs and for many loyal B&B travelers what they loved best about the experience. Today, more and more inns are moving away from the communal breakfast to offering their guests the flexibility of sitting at an individual table for 2 or joining other guests at a small table. Others offer guests the option of room service or a breakfast tray to take back to the room or to an outside dining area.
The food will be equally as diverse as the breakfast service itself. Many inns prepare all homemade breakfasts featuring local ingredients and really “get” breakfast. Because of size limitations for both the kitchen and the staff, most B&Bs will offer one daily entrée to their guests but will generally be able to tweak the menu to accommodate dietary needs (with advance notice) or offer alternatives to the breakfast fare. Some B&Bs do have the capacity to offer a breakfast menu much like you would get at a restaurant. The majority of B&Bs do not necessarily have large commercial kitchens nor professional chefs or kitchen staff. In fact many kitchens at an inn are the same size as what your kitchen is at home. Imagine cooking breakfast for 16-30 people in your own kitchen and then throw in some special diets, multiple courses or multiple dishes and you start to get a sense of the challenges. But the challenges aside, most innkeepers really do want to make the breakfast service special for their guests – it is just what they do! The best advice if you have dietary restrictions, really hate egg dishes or mushrooms or just prefer plain scrambled eggs while your partner indulges in more complicated fare is to talk to the innkeeper in advance to make sure that you both will be happy with the experience.
Today most innkeepers know that they need to describe the breakfast experience that is offered at their B&B to their potential guests either through a text description or photographs on their website. Is breakfast at their inn an upscale continental offering where you sit at individual tables or a hot served breakfast at one large table? Is there just one seating for breakfast or come whenever between certain hours? Generally you should find this type of information on the particular inn’s website. As a guest, if you know that you are not a morning person and have a strong aversion to a communal meal than do not book at an inn with one large table and one seating. If you are the type of person that is afraid of too much culinary adventure on your breakfast plate than make sure that you read about the breakfast service at the inn you are considering booking or call the innkeeper directly and ask about their breakfast service and what other options may be available that will satisfy you. This will help make the breakfast experience great for both you and the inn!
As an example, at the Berry Manor we serve our breakfast from 8 to 9:30am at individual tables for 2 or configured for larger groups if you are traveling together. The configuration in this dining room allows a guest who does not wish to speak to other guests at breakfast or who wants to read the paper quietly to do so without appearing rude or out of place. Likewise, guests that want to strike up a conversation with another willing party may do so quite comfortably also. There are pictures on the website of our dining area that shows individual tables for 2 and also have an entire page that describes our breakfast service and lists some sample menus. At the inn, the menu for the next day’s breakfast is posted by 3pm so that both guests checking in and guests that are already at the inn can peruse the breakfast fare and let the staff know if they would like an alternative breakfast choice.
Whatever the B&B you choose, you will probably be offered a deliciously decedent breakfast fare that you would not necessarily take the time to make yourself at home. The bowl of oatmeal will be waiting at home for your return tomorrow, for today – Indulge!