The food you serve at your B&B or guesthouse can often be the number one reason why your guests are eager to book another stay – a memorable breakfast can go a long way! However, every hotel and B&B serves up a full English breakfast as standard, so what can you do to separate your menu from everyone else’s and how can you make it special? We’re here to help you with some practical advice.
1. Where to start
If you’ve got your heart set on designing a signature dish of your own, there are a few things you can do to set off on the right foot. Do some research into the local area’s famous dishes – Lancashire Hotpot or Cornish Pasties for example. Basing your signature offerings on local favourites, or at least locally sourced produce, will only entice guests more, as it adds to the local charm and character of your establishment. A standard Lancashire Hotpot might not win every guest over so try adding a more modern flair to a classic dish to give your menu something really unique.
2. Hunt for ingredients
If you’re a dab hand in the kitchen and would rather feel the heat of the hob yourself, or your budget can’t quite stretch to a top of the range chef, then don’t despair! You don’t have to go out of your way to create whole meals that add a bespoke touch to your menu. Instead, you could offer bespoke ingredients in your established meals. Doing some research on local suppliers and trying their offerings could mean you serve the tastiest food you can possibly find.
Get in touch with local butchers, egg farmers, dairy farmers and produce suppliers – they may even give you a discount if you build a strong enough rapport with them! Guests will love hearing that their scrambled eggs originated from the hens next door or that the meat in their sausages is from an organic farm down the road. If you have the wherewithal, you could even consider using your own produce if you can, such as using fruit trees in the garden to make jams.
3. In the restaurant
If you have an onsite restaurant, creating your own signature dishes for the menu is definitely something to consider. If you decide to spend part of your budget on hiring a chef to create some extra-special dishes, it’s definitely worth it if visitors order and enjoy them time and time again. Good chefs may well bring ideas for unique dishes with them! Your restaurant could even establish a standalone reputation, meaning that you could draw in local residents for dining as well as your treasured overnight guests.
4. Cheap vs. expensive
So, what kinds of ingredients should you buy? While you can make do with some cheaper options, your local supermarket’s basic sausages may not cut the mustard with your guests. Knowing when to splash out on ingredients, and when to hold back, is an art you’ll need to learn.
If you don’t want to blow the budget on such ingredients as fillet steaks, a lot of talented chefs can take cheaper cuts of meat and through their skills and expertise, make them taste just as good, if not better than the expensive stuff. Chefs are also trained in dressing a plate attractively and, as they say, the first bite is with the eye!
However, everyone needs to manage their budget when running a business but with food, the proof, as they say, is in the pudding. Take the humble sausage, for example, compare a lower grade, supermarket own brand sausage and a local farmer’s organic sausage. Whilst it may cost a little extra, your guests will really taste the difference, and the little extra expenditure will be reflected in your guests’ reviews!
5. Not just for restaurants
Offering bespoke dishes can extend beyond a restaurant’s menu. A la carte breakfast options can be a great way to give your menu a unique quality if you’re just offering a bed and breakfast. Guests’ faces will light up at the prospect of ordering the likes of eggs benedict in the morning – especially if it’s served as breakfast in bed!
Another option is to serve afternoon tea – this can be a great way to slip bespoke options into your menu without having to hire a chef to cook up amazing evening meals. If you love to bake, homemade cakes will give a personal touch to afternoon tea. And sandwiches are easy to make!
Whatever meals you serve, it’s a nice touch to take a recipe or food staple and make it your own. It will make you stand out and your guesthouse will stick in the minds of your guests for much longer than any of the unimaginative chain hotels. Don’t overstretch but do put the effort in because it will pay off in great reviews and more bookings…
We know how time-consuming cooking for guests can be, especially on top of everything else! But don’t worry, eviivo make running a B&B or guesthouse simpler with our award-winning booking software.
eviivo suite is specifically designed to help B&B, guesthouse and hotel owners to save you time and money running your business – so you have more time for the important stuff like designing signature dishes!