Why Every Hotel & Lodge should offer a Continental Breakfast!

Posted by Leeanne Potgieter on

Like other food and beverage services at hotels – such as guest room servicein-room mini-bars, and on-site restaurants- a continental breakfast has been a key amenity for hotels looking to add value to their guests’ stay, stand out from competitors, impress guests and fill vacant rooms since the inception of the hotel.

What Is a Continental Breakfast?

Hotel guests are always looking for a unique experience to eat breakfast, which is why many Hotels, Lodges and even Bed and Breakfasts offer Continental breakfasts. This type of meal typically consists of light or take-out foods like cereal, toast with butter and preserves or honey (a popular choice), muffins; bagels; waffles with syrup – all served quickly so guests can get on their way!

The Benefits of offering a Continental Breakfast for Your Hotel or Lodge

There are many benefits of offering a continental breakfast in your hotel, but the main three are:

1. Continental Breakfast Provides Added Value for Your Hotel or Lodge

Adding a continental breakfast to your hotel adds a new feature to include in your portfolio of hotel amenities, attracting guests of all kinds and improving the overall value of your hotel. Hotels can also use a new complimentary breakfast for a new marketing campaign and in existing digital assets such as their website and profiles on online review, booking sites and search engines. It’s also a great way to improve your hotel’s star rating.

2. Attracts More Guests & Fills Vacant Rooms

According to Lavidge, 70% of overall travelers say getting a free breakfast included in their room’s rate is very influential in their final booking decision and 63% of business travelers say continental breakfast is very desirable when choosing a hotel for their business trip.

Offering a complimentary breakfast with your stay gives your hotel a new way to attract and target potential guests, especially when the majority travelers are expecting a continental breakfast as a de-facto benefit of your hotel’s experience.

3. Offers a Better Guests Experience

Offering a continental breakfast adds to the guest experience at your hotel. While this may seem small, these add-on features stick in the minds of your guests – leading to higher ratings, better reviews of their stay at your hotel, more word-of-mouth referrals for your hotel, and ultimately more booked rooms.

How to Start Offering Continental Breakfast in Your Hotel

Starting a brand-new service of any kind is tough to get started, especially when food is involved. We’ve outlined four steps to help make the process smooth and easy.

1. Figuring Out Your Food & Beverage Service

The first step in offering a complimentary breakfast to your guests is to figure out how you’re going to manage your food and drink service. If you’re lucky enough to have an on-site kitchen or restaurant with the right equipment and license to prepare and serve food, you can skip to the next step.

Should I Build an On-Site Kitchen at My Hotel?

The first step in offering a complimentary breakfast to your guests is to figure out how you’re going to manage your food and drink service. If you’re lucky enough to have an on-site kitchen or restaurant with the right equipment and license to prepare and serve food, you can skip to the next step.

Partnering with Turnkey Food & Beverage Services

With the rise of delivery, combined with the software and technology revolution for the hospitality and food industries, and trends such as ghost kitchens and virtual restaurants – hotels no longer need to spend high re-occurring operating costs on an on-site kitchen, kitchen staff, etc. to offer food services such as room service and continental breakfast in their hotel.

Enter Matumi Distributors:

Matumi Distributors provides hotel food amenities for hotels, remote lodges, lodges and B&B's to offer guests continental breakfast, along with other food and beverage services such as room service and more. You work with the Matumi Distributors team to determine the theme or type of food you want to serve in your breakfast, lunch and dinner menus, and then Matumi Distributors does the rest.

2. Plan Your Breakfast Menu

While continental breakfast may bring images of stale pastries, a cereal bar, and pre-packaged to-go items, the expectation of what a continental breakfast has changed. From new food and diet restrictions such as gluten-free and vegan-friendly items to higher-end hotels and resorts creating chef-created meals and build-your-own-breakfast bars, menus have reflected these trends.

You should also consider the demographic of your hotel or resort. A lodge in the Northern Cape that has no close Food Distribution Centre will need to craft a different breakfast menu than a family-friendly resort in Durban (Close to many businesses for catering).

Here are examples of common breakfast foods to help you get started crafting your continental breakfast menu:

  • Fruit: Bananas, blueberries, honeydew, pineapples, strawberries.
  • Bread & Pastries: bagels, croissants, donuts, muffins, toast
  • Beverages: Coffee, hot water, milk, orange juice, tea
  • Hot Items: Bacon, eggs, oatmeal, pancakes, potatoes, sausage, waffles
  • Cold Items: Cereal, granola, smoothies, to-go bars, yogurt
  • Build-Your-Own Stations: Cereal, crepes, omelet, pancakes, smoothies

It’s crucial to consider your overall continental breakfast strategy when creating your breakfast menu. For example, think about how you’ll prepare or store certain items that may need to be kept at a certain temperature. If you’re partnering with a Food Distributor, your menu is dependent on the type of food they offer.

3. Equipment & Dining Area

The type of equipment you’ll need for your hotel’s breakfast bar is dependent on the type of food service you’re providing. For hotels that are planning a full menu with in-house food service and an on-site kitchen, you’ll need to purchase and install a complete commercial kitchen. Others will need to only acquire certain equipment such as coffee makers, display cases, and other traditional equipment found in hotel breakfast areas.

Here is a list of equipment most all hotels planning any type of continental food service will need to acquire before launching their new breakfast amenity:

  • Beverage equipment such as coffee makers, drink dispensers, ice machines
  • Display cases for holding pastries and donuts
  • Utensils such as forks, spoons, knives, tongs, serving ladles.
  • Cooling tubs for cold items.
  • Kitchen appliances such as toaster ovens and waffle makers.
  • Serving items such as plates, bowls, napkins
  • Decor 
  • An area to serve your food complete with tables, chairs, trashcans.
  • An overall foodservice stand, buffet table, or mobile-food station.

4. Integrate into Your Marketing

When you’ve finally launched your hotel’s new continental breakfast, it’s time to launch a brand-new marketing campaign around it. 

Start by adding your new breakfast service amenity to all of your digital marketing and collateral. Anywhere that drives inbound guest bookings should be updated to include your new service.

You’ll need to update the following:

  • Your website
  • Your hotel’s profiles on travel and hotel review sites such as Expedia, Hotels.com, Oyster, and TripAdvisor
  • Your Google My Business account
  • Your current landing pages
  • The copy in any on-going search ads
  • Your social media accounts

Finally, don't forget to invest in new signage to direct guest traffic to your continental breakfast. From here, you should be ready to start the process of integrating a brand-new continental breakfast into your hotel’s guest experience. Goodluck to all Lodge and Hotel owners out there!

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