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breakfast in hotel tips

Hotel breakfast: what should never be missing?


Dear WuBookers, breakfast is a key evaluation parameter for hotels and properties in general and can have a great impact on a guest’s opinion, positive or negative. Taking care of it to the smallest detail – without neglecting cost and revenue – can prove particularly strategic in terms of customer satisfaction and loyalty.

Here are our tips for managing breakfast as best as possible. 

How much does breakfast matter to guests (and therefore to business)

A recent study conducted by the University of Aveiro (Portugal), showed some interesting data about breakfast and guests’ relationship with the property in relation to this meal:

  • 44% of guests at 4-star hotels and 13% of guests at 5-star hotels consider breakfast very or extremely important when choosing a hotel;
  • 64% of guests said they would return to a hotel for their breakfast, with 44% and 31% rating the breakfast from their last stay as good and very good, respectively;
  • guests who access breakfast information through online reviews or rankings on reservation platforms are more likely to consider breakfast as an important factor in choosing a hotel;
  • According to 67 percent of hotel managers , breakfast is an important, very important or extremely important element for guests making a hotel reservation.

Research indicates, that breakfast plays a key role in guest satisfaction and loyalty, and properties that offer a high-quality experience are more likely to receive positive reviews and recurring reservations.

But how do you ensure a complete and impeccable breakfast?

4 tips for a 5-star breakfast

First, it is important to understand who your real or ideal audience is, that is, who are the guests you are targeting and what are their needs. This is a crucial aspect for all services and especially for breakfast, and as such it can (must) condition your choices in terms of your offer. An offer that consists of 4 main pillars.

1. Schedules and service, or flexibility and speed  

Breakfast times should be calibrated to the needs of your clientele, and a standard time window (7:00 a.m.-10:00 a.m.) is not necessarily right for those who are staying at your property. Leisure and business guests, for example, may not have the same habits, but if they are staying at your hotel, it is advisable to define a time slot that satisfies everyone

Speaking of timing, in general guests do not like to wait, whatever the reason for their trip. Fast and efficient service is therefore necessary to avoid complaints and frustration. 

2. Culinary offerings aimed at variety and clarity 

Gastronomic offerings are essential to win over customers. Whether it is a buffet or a la carte breakfast, the right amount and variety of dishes and drinks must be provided.

The menu also depends on the type of breakfast you decide to offer: continental (mostly sweet, typical of the French and Italians), English (with bacon, eggs, and tea) or American (a mix of the two), or a mixture of sweet and savory, with hot and cold offerings, ready-made or freshly prepared. 

breakfast in hotel tips

In any case, here is a quick checklist of what should never be missed:

  • coffee and derivatives of all kinds (cappuccino, American coffee, espresso, decaffeinated, etc.), preferably of high quality and served at the table;
  • Cow’s milk and any plant-based variants;
  • Natural and sparkling water, room temperature and cold, freshly squeezed juices and fruit juices;
  • teas and herbal brews;
  • Fresh yogurt of different flavors and origins; 
  • Seasonal fresh fruit, whole and cut, and dried fruit;
  • Sweet and savory brioches, both empty and filled;
  • Cookies, pastries, cakes homemade or packaged, including single servings;
  • Cereals and muesli of various kinds;
  • Fresh bread of different types and in various sizes;
  • jams, honey and marmalades, even in individual packages;
  • meats and cheeses, preferably local and of good quality;
  • sweet and savory creams and spreads (including butter);
  • eggs in at least two different preparations. 

To avoid waste and ensure proper food preservation (which also benefits aesthetics), resort to single-serving whenever possible: for example, butter or honey is best served in single-serving packages. 

If you aim for authenticity, a few homemade or typical local recipes will only pleasantly surprise your guests. Moreover, it is important to consider special dietary needs, related to cultural reasons, diets, allergies or intolerances. So don’t forget to integrate gluten and lactose free proposals, but also vegan and – if you serve an international clientele – Halal and Kosher.

So as not to confuse customers, remember to make it explicit what it is: a statement on the menu or a label next to each dish or beverage stating its name and any allergens will suffice. Again, if ingredients and provenance are a plus, highlight it. Moreover, we take it for granted that all food safety and health regulations are followed.

3. Details and atmosphere for a perfect Breakfast Room

Convenient hours, varied menu, and thoughtful ambiance – this is the secret to a flawless breakfast worthy of praise and positive reviews. The last point depends a great deal on the property and its style, but with carefully thought-out hotel decorating and home staging interventions, it is possible to create a welcoming and diverse area depending on the time of day.

In fact, if the same space is used for serving multiple meals, it is good to differentiate its appearance as much as possible. In this sense, lights and colors are perfect allies: dim and spot lighting are ideal for evening hours, while natural (especially on sunny days) or diffused light is perfect for a more spirited start to the day. The same applies, for example, to background music.

The ‘mise en place’ is equally important. This concerns the buffet, if any, and the table setting. In both cases, the watchword is cleanliness. If you use tablecloths, make sure they are always neat and change them between guests. Equipping the common space and individual stations with small containers for scraps will contribute to the overall decorum and feeling of order and cleanliness. 

breakfast in hotel tips

Also take care of details that can make the room even more comfortable and “warm.” Add a few decorations, such as fresh flowers or original salt and pepper shakers on each table, avoiding overly bulky items that could get in the way of movement or end up on the floor (think of families with young children). 

4. Attentive and polite wait staff

Even if you decide to opt for a self-service breakfast with a free-access buffet, it is necessary to provide for the presence of one or more operators.

In fact, the staff will have to take care of the reception and possible registration of guests who do not have breakfast included. 

But also of off-menu ordering, if provided, and generally of supporting guests who may have specific needs or curiosities. Not only that, the wait staff will need to supervise the buffet to ensure that everything is always in order and provide for refilling of any finished dishes or drinks, or removal of any empty ones.

Clearing the table and setting it up for the next customers, fixing any snags or replacing dishes are other duties of waiters during breakfast. 

All this should be done with the utmost courtesy, promptness and discretion: at that moment, the staff represents the face of the hotel and, like the actual breakfast, can make a difference in terms of perception and loyalty.

How to manage hotel breakfast thanks to WuBook’s Zak 

For the guest experience to be truly perfect, the organization must also be optimal. This includes, for example, the proper handling of all travelers with breakfast included and the ability to add ” room-only” guests as needed. 

Quite simple operations if done with the right tools, such as a hotel PMS.

Zak, WuBook’s management software for hospitality properties, in fact includes a module dedicated specifically to Restaurant Management. The features designed to facilitate the operations of managers and hoteliers are many.

In fact, with Zak it is possible to:

  • assign a specific area and table for each reservation for each meal (breakfast, lunch, dinner): why not accommodate any seating preferences of your customers if it can improve their stay and, consequently, your reputation?
  • create a special breakfast menu and generate a QR code that makes it searchable from any device – an added convenience that allows guests to browse the food offerings at any time;
  • Request immediate payment from the guest and issue the document immediately, or charge everything on their reservation and ask for the balance only at the end of their stay;
  • notify the kitchen in advance of the number of meals booked and define the wait staff needed to provide impeccable service;
  • consult dedicated statistics and reports to see how many breakfasts have been sold, what foods or meals have been consumed for each, and what the relative revenue is.

Still on the subject of earnings, Zak also allows the property to structure breakfast with different rates depending on the area in which it is consumed.
In fact, through the software it is possible to distinguish all areas of the hotel restaurant (e.g., bar area, pool area, main area, and so on) and set the relevant cover charge for each. Each area can also be matched with a price modifier, either fixed or percentage, so that all rates in that area are automatically increased or decreased by the chosen value. This is a clever way to provide guests with maximum freedom of choice, even in terms of economics.

Breakfast can influence guests’ opinions and affect overall liking: enhancing it is not only possible, but also extremely beneficial.

breakfast in hotel tips

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