Alla's Romantic Getaway Bed and Breakfast, Spa & Cabana Inn Dallas Texas USA

(Organic European style breakfast, free parking & WI - FI internet connection, free glass of wine with hors d'oeuvre upon your arrival, free choice of soft drinks during all of your stay! We are located only 15 min. from downtown Dallas, Tx.


Food Service in the Bed & Breakfast

Posted on December 8, 2008 at 10:41 PM
Food Service in the Bed & Breakfast
Food Service Requirements

One of the features that often attracts guests to a Bed and Breakfast is the special breakfasts served. The goal of the host is to serve attractive as well as nutritious meals to guests. The rules and regulations for food service operations will vary from state to state. Check with your local health department.

Breakfasts run from a  continental breakfast usually includes hot tea or coffee, fruit juice and sweet rolls, muffins or biscuits. Hot beverages should be freshly brewed, fruit juices freshly squeezed or of top quality to a full breakfast with juices,entree,breads and beverages. No matter what type meal you server,everything should also be of highest quality.

Keep in mind both the rules and regulations of food service operations as well as meal planning. These are both essential to the B & B business.

Meal Planning

To provide an outstanding meal, time and thought must be put into the planning of it. And, despite of all of your planning, there is no guarantee that everyone will enjoy the meals you serve. You may prefer to serve and eat foods that do not appeal to your guests. You need to consider that people have a wide variety of food preferences, flavors and combinations that appeal to them as well as specific nutritional and dietary needs. Plan to serve foods that compliment one another and are appropriate to the season as well as those that are easiest for you to prepare and serve.

  • Consider the number of people you will be serving
  • Type of place settings to be used and
  • The method you choose for serving
You must start with high quality foods. A meal can be no more appetizing than the individual foods used. Meals that are the most appetizing typically include a variety of temperatures, textures, shapes, colors, and sizes. Flavor combinations such as sweet, spicy, and bland are other considerations.

Table Settings

The current trend in table fashions is, just about anything goes. Use of colors or florals is a personal choice. There are no fixed rules about what to use and when to use it.

As you prepare foods just keep in mind that the foods should always look attractive and appealing against the table cover and place settings used. Table settings can range from the informal to the very formal. The choice is yours and is determined by the mood of your bed and breakfast and the feelings you want to convey to your guests at the meal. It is not necessary to always cover a table completely. However, there are very few occasions when there is not at least a place mat, doily or cloth between the dish and the table.

Serve Healthy Foods

It is important to consider the nutritional needs of your guests. You may want to inquire ahead of time if a guest has any specific dietary needs. This is just an added special touch that will show your guest that you want to provide for their needs. Some general guidelines to consider in serving healthy meals are:

1. You may want to use low fat products to control the calories count.

2. Include whole grains, fruits and vegetables in your meals. Bran or oats can be included in muffins, quick breads and served as cereal. These foods provide extra fiber need by most people in their diet.

3. Limit the use of fats and products with cholesterol and other saturated fats. Choose vegetable oils and liquid margarines rather than butter and other animal fats.

4. Limit the use of salt. Sodium can contribute to high blood pressure. Try substituting herbs, spices and other seasonings for salt in foods. Omit or reduce the amount of salt called for in recipes;and avoid using processed or fast foods that are high in sodium.

5. Limit the amount of sugar. Even though sugar itself is not harmful, it is a source of empty calories and provides very little nutritional value. Many people are weight conscious today, so serving too many sweets may not be appreciated.

Food Safety

Making sure that the foods you serve are safe and wholesome is a very important task. We are fortunate to have proper storage and adequate cooking methods today. However, it is amazing how many unsafe food practices people still use. Government inspections and strict standards in the food industry usually assure us of high quality,wholesome and safe foods. It is your responsibility as the cook to make sure that the standard is maintained in your bed and breakfast.

The danger zone for bacterial growth in food is between 40 degrees F. and 140 degrees F. Most food poisoning bacteria grow in room temperatures around 60-70 degrees F. When bacteria grow, it divides and multiplies in number. Two very basic important rules to follow are:

Make sure that all leftovers are stored promptly. Never thaw frozen foods on a countertop at room temperature.

For more rules and regulations in regards to food safety, contact your local health department.


 "Sanitization" means effective bactericidal treatment by a process that provides enough accumulative heat or concentration of chemicals for enough time to reduce the bacterial count, including pathogens, to a safe level on utensils and equipment.

For example, bleach is an effective all-purpose sanitizer that even kills bacteria that may cause food poisoning. This sanitizer is authorized by use under USDA meat, poultry, rabbit and egg products inspection programs.

If using other types of sanitizers such as tablets, then they must be registered with the US EPA and the product label must claim it will sanitize food contact surfaces without needing a final clear water rinse.

You will need to check with your local health department for rules and regulations in your area. You may have to undergo some type of health inspection.

The first impression formed about a bed and breakfast home happens the minute your guest sees your home and walks up to your front door. The next impression occurs in the first thirty seconds when they are greeted. Each  owner has his or her own unique strengths and assets that can serve as a strong marketing feature. You must determine what these are and how you can best use them. Since your home is the first attraction for most guests, make sure that it gives a good impression in all areas.


Imagine you are a guest coming to your B & B for the first time. Carefully look at the guest entrance.

  • What mood does it set?
  • Is it inviting?
  • Is there a sign?
  • Is the walkway clear and safe?
  • Is there a porch light?
  • Is it clear that you should ring the bell or just walk in?
  • Is the yard well kept and nicely landscaped?
The entrance provides the first gracious welcome to guests. If not, things get started the wrong way and it may be difficult to change your guest's opinion.


Take a look at your potential guest bedrooms objectively. Put yourself in the guest's shoes.

  • Is this a room a guest will enjoy?
  • Is the paint and/or wallpaper in good condition?
  • Is the mattress comfortable?
  • Will it provide good support?
  • Is there adequate closet space?
  • Is there a chair for reading and relaxing? It will save wear and tear on the mattress.
  • Is there a desk or a place to write letters?
  • Is there proper lighting for reading and writing?
  • Is there a full length mirror available for dressing?
  • Have you provided a night light and smoke detector in each room as a safety feature?

Think about the bed linens. Be sure that you have an adequate supply. Double or triple sets of everything for each room;.sheets, towels,blankets etc comes in very handy to help you manage your time in changing the room for the next guest.Or, in case damage occurs to a bedspread, rather than having to replace the whole set, you have a spare to save you;.temporarily.

  • Are sheets of high quality fabric?
  • Are they fresh or worn?
  • Do you have adequate blankets?
  • Are pillows fresh and fluffy?
  • Can you provide a selection of pillows to suit guests' needs?
A guest room doesn't have to look or cost as much as if it came from the pages of home magazine, but it should be comfortable, and well kept. Expensive furnishings or special redecorating is not always  needed. A new coat of paint, and a few new linens may be all that is required. The room should reflect individual creativity.


Probably the most important thing to impress your guests is the cleanliness of your home; their bedroom and bathroom.

  • Are there cobwebs in the corners or behind the furniture?
  • Is dust collecting under the bed?
  • Furniture should be polished and dust-free.
  • Drawers should be free for guests belongings.
    • A scented lining in drawers adds a nice touch as well. Do be aware however, that some guests may have allergies or breathing disorders. If you fill your rooms with potpourri, candles and other types of scents, you may cause more problems; have very sick and unhappy guests.
  • Some type of towel rack in each room may also be appreciated especially if guests are sharing a bathroom.
  • Clean curtains or draperies framing shining windows are also a main requirement.
The initial outlay for opening a B & B need not be high. A spotlessly cleaned room and a bit of refurbishing may be all that is needed. If redecorating is called, it can be done in stages as time and money permit. If you plan on redecorating, consider keeping a filing system with ideas,swatches of fabric,carpeting, paper and paint chips that can help you make selections in the future. Redecorating and refurbishing is an on-going task in all good bed and breakfast homes. It is also considered a tax deduction; so keep meticulous records.

Ingenuity is often key to guestroom comfort. To expand limited closed space, a chest of drawers can be added, or attractive shelving with hooks can be mounted on a wall.

  • A inexpensive round wooden table can become a nightstand or writing area.
  • Coordinated curtains,draperies,bed covers, pillows and tablecloths and shower curtains can be easily made from decorator sheets.
  • Live plants, flowers--real or silk--add a nice touch.
  • You should be able to provide extra hangers,blankets or pillows for your guests.
  • A luggage rack is also another item that will save wear and tear on your bed coverings and mattress.
  • Consider providing a bed tray for guests.
  • A pitcher of water and glasses on a tray is often appreciated.
  • Some hosts provide a small decanter of liqueur for a nightcap. ( Be sure to check your state's dram laws in regards to providing alcoholic beverages, or you can be held liable.)

Today, guests expect a private bathroom. There are some though, who won't mind sharing a bathroom, although it is getting rare. Carefully look over any bathroom that guests will use from their viewpoint.

  • The sink, shower, toilet should all be impeccable.
  • There should be no unsightly mold or mildew on tiles, grout, around faucets or on the shower curtain.
  • Mirrors should shine.
  • Floors should be spotlessly clean.
  • Be sure to include a wastebasket. Use a throw-away liner for more sanitary clean up.
  • Paper towels and paper cups are more sanitary for guests.
  • Extra towels, soap, tissues and toilet paper should be easily accessible.
  • Adequate lighting and high quality mirrors in the bathroom are a must for both men and women!
Safety is also critical in the bathroom.
  • A non-skid floor surface or rugs with a non-skid backing should be used.
  • A non-skid surface or mat in the tub or shower is also needed.
  • Check the temperature of your hot water to assure that no one will be scalded.
  • Make sure that there is ample hot water for all your guests needs.
  • Are faucets dripping? This can be a most irritating sound for a guest trying to get a good night's sleep.
  • Another safety feature you may want to consider at some point is the use of GFI circuits in the bathroom to prevent shock.
After looking over your bathroom situation, a quick fix up with some fresh paint or paper and a few new linens may be all you will need to start up your bed and breakfast. However, if there are many of the basics lacking, you will probably want to do some remodeling immediately.Use your imagination to come up with some solutions to common bathroom problems.
  • If there is too little storage space, consider hanging shower caddies or corner shelving.
  • Shelving with pegs will add extra hanging space for towels.
  • Wicker plant stands can also hold towels.
  • You may want to box in plumbing features under the sink and use louvered doors for a decorative effect.
  • An old dry sink or a chest of drawers can be made into a sink as well by cutting out a hole in the top and placing the sink bowl and fixtures in place. If you are handy and can do it yourself, you may be able to save quite a bit of money in the remodeling and redecorating process.
If the bathroom is shared you will want to encourage guests and/or family members to leave the bathroom in good condition for the next user.  You may want to leave a nice wicker basket or some other attractive holder with cleaning supplies in sight. This hopefully will inspire guests to take a moment and clean up after themselves. If that isn't a strong enough hint, some type of clever sign can be used to get the idea across to everyone.
We could spend hours and hours discussing marketing and it's strategies however, our main purpose here today is to share some basic marketing information to get you started thinking in terms of what you will need to do to market your bed and breakfast. Just because you think you want to open a bed and breakfast, or may already have done so, doesn't necessarily mean it will be successful. I hope you will give much thought and research BEFORE you actually decide whether or not to open a bed and breakfast. It should not be a decision you take lightly.

What is Marketing?

If I were to ask you "what is marketing?" What would you say? ( Take some time to jot down a few of your ideas.)

Yes, marketing is probably all the things you have mentioned.  But if we get right down to the very basics of marketing hospitality and tourism------

Marketing is satisfying your customers (guests) needs and wants.

Needs: Gaps between what the customer (guest) have and what they would like to have.

Wants: Needs of which your customer (guest) are aware.

The inability to understand your customer's (guests) needs and wants can be a serious threat to your business. As B & B operators, we are here to serve the customer (guest). Their needs are priority #1! Now, none of us was born with a marketing degree, so this is something we need to learn and then polish through practice. Remember also, the marketing of hospitality and tourism is viewed a little differently than the marketing of a specific product. Let's take a brief look at the differences.

Why Market a B & B?

  • Change occurs rapidly in the hospitality and tourism industry and marketing plays a key role in a business's ability to cope with the changes. The "build it and they will come" philosophy just doesn't apply here. You have to have a reason and a plan in order for guests to buy your service (stay at your bed and breakfast.)
  • Competition is also greater today. Now that can depend on your location and the number of other lodging choices available where you are and if they are needed. Competition is not all bad. Many B & B owners form associations and work very cooperatively together locally as well as state and nationally. Pooling resources is economical for everyone as far as advertising etc. Referrals are also shared.
  • Next consider to whom you will target your marketing efforts. The economy, social, cultural and lifestyle issues all play a role in market segmentation. You cannot cater to everyone. You must aim for a specific group for the majority of your marketing efforts.
  • Travelers are much more sophisticated these days. They have a lot of travel experience and expect much more than in years gone bye. A lot more than a room with a bed is expected.To get these kinds of people requires you provide better quality service which requires more sophisticated marketing

The Seven Principles of Marketing

1. Marketing Concept: The means you are acting on the belief that customer (guest) satisfaction is your top priority. You continually want to put your resources and efforts towards satisfying your customers (guests).

2. Customer Orientation: You accept and act according to the marketing concept. The customer (guest) is always #1!
(For example: Mr. Marriott took time to read evaluations from all of his hotel guests daily and personally took interest in them.)

3. Satisfy the Customer: Is the only way to ensure your long-term survival. Success comes from knowing what your customer (guests) want and giving it to them. Never just make assumptions.

4. Target Market: All customers (guests) are not alike. You need to pick out and focus on those you want to attract. This is sometimes known as the "rifle vs shotgun approach.) Single bullet hits target rather than shot spreading all over.

5. Value/Exchange: Customers (guests) want value for their money. This is often hard for many to actually define. Some people equate value with the price of something while others do not. We must provide the experiences which guests find valuable in return for that they pay us money, make reservations and hopefully will return again.

6. Product Life Cycle: All products and services go through a life cycle: introduction, growth, maturity and decline. If we deal in services, we don't want to end up in decline, but do whatever it takes to continue to grow.

7. Marketing mix: Will be discussed next, but they are the controllable factors which are used to satisfy customer needs.

Marketing Mix

Whole courses are built upon just these principles of the marketing mix but for our purposes, we will just highlight each and you can relate what they might mean to you in the bed and breakfast business. The traditional 4 "P's" of marketing are:

1. Product: What it is that you have to offer or sell or service to provide.

2. Place: Your location, where the product or service will be sold. Considering distribution channels to help you sell. Who else can you work with?

3. Promotion: the different techniques you will use to sell your service. ie: ads,coupons,special events

4. Price: How much will you charge? You must consider what your costs are and if your pricing will cover them. You may not make a living from the income from a small four bedroom B & B, but you certainly don't want to go in the hole.

Now you must also consider the other 4 "P's" of the hospitality industry.

5. People: The hospitality/travel/lodging industry is a people industry.People are the reason why they exist--to satisfy their needs and wants. Your customer( guest) is part of the experienced purchase.

6. Packaging: Being customer oriented. find out what the customer wants and needs and then supply it satisfactorily.

7. Programming: Also is customer oriented. These are the special things you can provide for guest to give extra added appeal to their stay. May also use to induce extra spending. ( Cook books, craft articles, special weekend packages) All of these things can help alter the demand for your product/service.

8. Partnership: Cooperative efforts among other B& B's or other hospitality/tourism organizations. There is a great value in cooperation. Since we are all in the same boat, if we row together, we'll get the customer (guest) where he wants to be. Resulting in a satisfied customer (guest ) and will more likely a return one.

Think of place you've been that you want to keep going back to....why is that? You want your customers ( guests) to come away with those same feelings and thoughts of you as well.

Marketing Plans

Marketing takes a lot of effort. It cannot be done in a hurry because by making assumptions without knowing the real facts can be catastrophic. Plans range from the short term ( easily met ) to the long term. Just as with many other things the old saying " the best laid plans may go astray." Plans are meant to change they cannot stay static. Lets take a look at the basic steps in marketing to get you thinking as you start your planning process or make changes to ones you already have made.


Here we want to ask: Where are we now? and where would we like to be? If you are to succeed you must be realistic and look at both your strengths and weaknesses. Some of the previous information sheets will help you to do that.

Carrying Out

In this stage we ask ourselves How do we get there? A market plan is key. It will act as our blueprint for action.  You will have to know the answers to these kinds of questions if you are going to seek a loan. These items will also be part of your business plan. Or, you can think of it as your roadmap. If you don't know where you are going any road will get you there! Use the map to make sure you get to the place you want to be.


Here we ask How do we make sure we get there? Just because you have a plan doesn't always mean you follow it or that it will succeed. There must be some checks and controls along the way. Allow time and ways to do evaluation of your plans then if a change is needed, you can plan for it and then get on with where you want to be.


We spend a lot of time putting our plans together but often fail to plan for any evaluation of it to measure the results we are getting. We learn from both or successes and mistakes. Evaluation/ yours and your guests will help you answer the question, How do we know if we got there? From there, the cycle can begin again until we are satisfied with our planning and the results obtained.

Target Market Analysis

Before you even start planning a bed and breakfast, there a few hard facts you need to really think about and the main one is who out there will really want to stay at your bed and breakfast ? You need to do a target market analysis to see if there is even a demand for your bed and breakfast. Just exactly what is the potential? Many people can kid themselves about the potential, but if you are investing a large amount of capital into starting your bed and breakfast, you'd better be very sure about the potential. More about this when figuring your potential room nights etc.

Honestly, a small four bedroom B & B is not going to generate enough income for you to live off of, unless every room is filled every night!! And then, you'll be in for a case of burnout!!

When identifying the potential target markets, we must also know what it is we can provide for them specifically. Will enough of them buy our service? In doing a target market analysis we need to ask several key questions"

1. Who is/are the market/s we want to reach with our product?

2. What are the needs they are trying to satisfy?

3. Where do they live? Where do they buy? Where do they travel?

4. When do they buy?

5. How will they buy the product? Cash, credit etc.

6. How many of them can we attract with our product?

This may take a lot of time and research on your part. Are there others sources of secondary research you can go to ? Where or who would they be? ( Chamber of Commerce?, Local Businesses?, University? other? B & B Associations?)
Situational Analysis

This is more often done on an existing business do determine "where are we now" But a new business can benefit from this just as well. Try to think of it as the SWOT theory--Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats.

It will help you with your long term planning and in developing marketing plans. Start with the big picture and work your way down. When you know the answers to all of these points, you are better able to "position" yourself within your own "niche." Let's just take a brief look at each item.

  • Environment: Usually uncontrollable on your part-- what is the picture right now? legislatively, economically, socially, culturally that will make your operation feasible?
  • Location/Community: Are there any events, business openings/closings, expansion/development etc that could impact positively or negatively on your opening of a B & B?
  • Competitors: Do you have any? What kinds of services do they provide? Can you match or better? How do they promote? Often times, B& B owners don't see it as competition, but as cooperators--but this is not always the case.
  • Market Potential: Is there even a need for another B & B in your town? or one at all?
  • Services: What can you provide that will make you stand out above others? Are you willing to do it?
Once you know these answers, you are in a better position to develop your strategies for marketing.

The Buying Process

Maybe you've never really given much thought to the way you make decisions about buying certain products or services but there is a definite pattern in making these decisions.  You and your guests make all types of decisons--some are routine and require very little thought while others are extensive because they involve a great deal of money. These days guests will usually do a lot of research before choosing a place to stay especially if it is for a pleasure trip and if it will mean a great deal of money.
Of course, this process also depends on the person--how many of you can just take off on a minutes notice for a trip and be perfectly happen whereever you end up staying???? Or are you like me and have to spend months in advance planning out every step of the trip? These are the basic steps:

1) a need exists
2) search for information
3) Evaluate the alternatives that are available
4) Making the actual reservation/purchase/stay
5) Post evaluation.
As the B& B owner, we want to do all we can to help reduce any "perceived risks" the guests may have about a stay with us. Your service will be evaluated based on what the customers perceptions are--not yours!

Market Potential

As you think about who will stay with you in your B & B--these are some questions you will need to ask yourself. YOU must determine what your target market or niche will be. Realize, you will not be able to serve and satisfy everyone's needs. Can you answer these questions discussed above? If not, then you need to do some more planning and research BEFORE you open a Bed & Breakfast.

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