When running a bed and breakfast or hotel, the food is one of the most important aspects to consider. Some owners run a relatively simple operation which just includes breakfast for guests, while others incorporate full restaurants into their businesses. Here are some tips for combining food with accommodation and making it a success.
– Think about what you want to offer your customers. This will depend on the nature of your business, the prices you are charging and the kind of experience you will be offering – for example, are you offering simple budget accommodation with a buffet breakfast, or are you selling yourself on the promise of luxury? Will you only serve breakfast, or are you planning to offer a full dinner menu too? If you want to give your customers a gourmet experience, you will also need to provide a high level of service and will need to employ a professional chef and waiting staff. You could also offer treats such as afternoon tea, which may bring in extra custom and profit.
– Costing is of course one of the most important things to consider. Think carefully about your target market and the prices they will be willing to pay for a dish. Research the food on offer in other local B&Bs, restaurants, cafes and pubs to give you a general idea. Work out how much each dish costs to produce and price accordingly. As a general rule, you should be making a gross profit of at least 70% on each dish. If you are unable to achieve this level of profit, it may mean sourcing cheaper ingredients or being more innovative with them.
– Consider where you will source ingredients from. It can be very appealing to customers to include locally produced items on your menu, particularly if your region is famous for a particular dish. Purchasing from local suppliers can also save you money as it cuts down on the cost of travel.
– Keep it simple. A shorter menu and wine list will keep operations in the kitchen more manageable and reduce the risk of confusion when sourcing and preparing ingredients, which is especially important if you are running a small B&B business. It is also best not to unnecessarily complicate things for customers by, for example, having dishes in French on the menu without an English translation. Customers want their restaurant experience to be as easy and stress free as possible, and a shorter, more straightforward menu with a description of each dish will give them this.