|Posted on December 8, 2008 at 10:41 PM|
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
Imagine you are a guest coming to your B & B for the first time. Carefully look at the guest entrance.
Take a look at your potential guest bedrooms objectively. Put yourself in the guest's shoes.
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.
Probably the most important thing to impress your guests is the cleanliness of your home; their bedroom and bathroom.
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.
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.
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.
Why Market a B & B?
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.
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
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.
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.
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?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?)
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 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.
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 existsAs 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!
2) search for information
3) Evaluate the alternatives that are available
4) Making the actual reservation/purchase/stay
5) Post evaluation.
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.