Posts Tagged ‘breakfast’

Waking Up To Great Value

Saturday, November 19th, 2011

Waking Up To
Great Value

Wednesday,
October 26, 2011

Dan
Marcec

 

The breakfast table offers an equal opportunity to make or break guest
experience, especially in the midscale sector, where free breakfast garners
higher and higher expectations as the category evolves. Here’s how hotel brands
are approaching their analysis of this imperative amenity.

Over the past few years, hoteliers have learned quite quickly that the days
of “build it and they will come” are well over, and “location, location,
location” is not necessarily the number one factor influencing profitability. On
the guest side of the equation, the mantra is “value, value, value.” By catering
to the guest’s sensible nature, hotels can truly gain the competitive edge.

Hardly anywhere is there a higher perceived value than at the breakfast
table. In Country Inns & Suites’ recent “Today’s Business Traveler” survey,
82 percent of respondents said they base their hotel selection on free amenities
such as high-speed Internet and breakfast. Breaking it down further, 90 percent
said high-speed Internet is the number one most important amenity (not
surprising), followed next by hot breakfast at 70 percent. That’s not just any
breakfast, it’s a hot breakfast. Especially in the highly competitive midscale
sector, where breakfast is included in the rate, perceived value is crucial.

Of course, business travelers aren’t the only guests looking for value when
they wake up in the morning.

“If I take my family to breakfast, I’m staring down a $35 to $40 check out of
my own pocket,” says Steve Mogck, executive vice president and chief operating
officer of Country Inns & Suites by Carlson. “So when you look at midscale
hotel pricing, which is $70 to $90 per night depending on the market, the guest
sees incredible value in that breakfast.”

The fierce competition to enhance the breakfast bar defines “amenity creep,”
and brands in the midscale sector have continued to add more and more for their
guests as part of their complimentary offering.

“Breakfast in midscale is always evolving, and we’re not unique in that,”
says Mark Southern, director of product innovation, F&B, Hilton Worldwide.
“We all started somewhere different than we are today, and the lifecycle of the
brands will be very different in 20 years as well.”

The trick to surviving this evolution is to not only to have a lot of food on
the table, but also to have the right food on the table. That involves staying
on top of consumer trends.

“From the macro perspective, I think individualization and customization is
here to stay. We all get to customize iPhones, websites, newsfeeds, and we have
to embrace a level of individualization at the hotel level as well,” says
Southern. “So when you look at breakfast over the course of a week, guests want
to be sure to have something unique every day.”

In other words, an attractive breakfast bar is not just about piling on
whatever is the cheapest and most efficient. It’s about perceived quality, and –
yes, this word again – value. Guests want options, and they want foods that fit
their lifestyle. Responding to this trend, both Country Inns & Suites and
Hilton’s Hampton brand recently added real oatmeal – not pre-packaged, and not
quick cooking oatmeal – to their repertoire.

“Health and wellness is important to our guests, and I don’t think anyone
will come in next year and say 2012 is the year of trans fats and corn syrup,”
says Southern. “On top of that, transparency in food is big, and we’re moving
toward cleaner of ingredient lists – in other words, when you look what’s in
your food, you’ll only see ingredients you understand. It is what it says.”

Selecting Service

Of course, an important part of a good hotel breakfast is how it’s served.
Midscale hotels again face a unique challenge because their guest base is so
diverse. From weekday business travelers to weekend leisure guests, from small
business meetings to large groups, fitting all this food as well as the people
to eat it in a small breakfast room is a challenge.

“We really do have to be all things to all people at times,” says Southern.

Again, it’s all about options. Southern adds as long as you make space,
guests will utilize it in ways they see fit, and in Hampton’s new Perfect Mix
lobby, there’s been an organic flow because people have a variety of seating
options and areas, but it remains one contiguous space.

Aside from ensuring the right staffing and attending to the guests – hotel
service 101 – utilizing back-of-house space is an important consideration as
well.

“When we add these elements, it becomes extremely complex to achieve high
quality food preparation and delivery,” says Mogck. “We joke that our pantries
are so small you can’t change your mind in them.”

Waste is one of the other major considerations when it comes to advanced
offerings. To combat this challenge, Country Inns recently rolled out
non-disposable dining ware.

“We decided to be the first to use non-disposable utensils. Even with adding
a dishwasher, from a cost standpoint it’s very close to what we were doing
before,” says Mogck. “But now we’re saving thousands of pounds of garbage from
landfills. There is not an RFP out there that doesn’t ask about what you’re
doing to be green, and we wanted something real.”

Rate of Return

In midscale, competition continues to up the ante and build on more and more
amenities to differentiate outside the beige box. At the end of the day at the
property level, the goal is always to create a better guest experience while
simultaneously  raising rate to get a better ROI.

“When you look at ROI, [improvements to breakfast] are table stakes. A number
of brands have skimped, and I see it everywhere,” says Mogck. “What are you
saving, $1 a room? When guest perceives what you get at a restaurant, it makes a
huge difference, and it gives you the ability to raise rate and drive occupancy
long-term to establish yourself in the market.”

Mogck adds an example. Some hotels, for example, will try to lure guests by
offering $20 gas cards or other incentives of the like. While that’s effective
in its own right, a $20 gas card costs pretty close to $20 for the hotelier
(taking into account discounts in bulk, etc.). If you look at breakfast at $2 or
$3 per room, with the ability to raise rate accordingly because the guest
understands the value there, it makes sense.

“When you have an asset you can leverage, you have to maximize it,” says
Mogck.

The proof is in the pudding, pun intended. According to Country Inns’
Medallia ratings, the new “Be Our Guest” breakfast showed +.02 in the “overall
breakfast” category; +.03 in “presentation of breakfast items”; and +.10 in
“variety of breakfast items” over one year ago. With a .01 change being
statistically significant on a brand-wide level, the numbers speak for
themselves.

Southern says that Hampton also saw a big lift in guest scores when the brand
added both waffles and, more recently, oatmeal. But at the end of the day, the
value the guest sees is not only from the products, but also how that product is
packaged with great service.

“Stuff is stuff, but the loyalty from our guest doesn’t come specifically
from oatmeal and waffles, it comes from great products wrapped in unbelievable
service,” Southern adds. “When you have those things together it becomes hard
for the competition to touch, and that’s why there’s so much potential at
breakfast.”

Check out www.nebraskabb.com

Waking Up To Great Value

Sunday, October 30th, 2011

Waking Up To Great Value

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Dan Marcec

 

The breakfast table offers an equal opportunity to make or break guest experience, especially in the midscale sector, where free breakfast garners higher and higher expectations as the category evolves. Here’s how hotel brands are approaching their analysis of this imperative amenity.

Over the past few years, hoteliers have learned quite quickly that the days of “build it and they will come” are well over, and “location, location, location” is not necessarily the number one factor influencing profitability. On the guest side of the equation, the mantra is “value, value, value.” By catering to the guest’s sensible nature, hotels can truly gain the competitive edge.

Hardly anywhere is there a higher perceived value than at the breakfast table. In Country Inns & Suites’ recent “Today’s Business Traveler” survey, 82 percent of respondents said they base their hotel selection on free amenities such as high-speed Internet and breakfast. Breaking it down further, 90 percent said high-speed Internet is the number one most important amenity (not surprising), followed next by hot breakfast at 70 percent. That’s not just any breakfast, it’s a hot breakfast. Especially in the highly competitive midscale sector, where breakfast is included in the rate, perceived value is crucial.

Of course, business travelers aren’t the only guests looking for value when they wake up in the morning.

“If I take my family to breakfast, I’m staring down a $35 to $40 check out of my own pocket,” says Steve Mogck, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Country Inns & Suites by Carlson. “So when you look at midscale hotel pricing, which is $70 to $90 per night depending on the market, the guest sees incredible value in that breakfast.”

The fierce competition to enhance the breakfast bar defines “amenity creep,”  and brands in the midscale sector have continued to add more and more for their guests as part of their complimentary offering.

“Breakfast in midscale is always evolving, and we’re not unique in that,” says Mark Southern, director of product innovation, F&B, Hilton Worldwide. “We all started somewhere different than we are today, and the lifecycle of the brands will be very different in 20 years as well.”

The trick to surviving this evolution is to not only to have a lot of food on the table, but also to have the right food on the table. That involves staying on top of consumer trends.

“From the macro perspective, I think individualization and customization is here to stay. We all get to customize iPhones, websites, newsfeeds, and we have to embrace a level of individualization at the hotel level as well,” says Southern. “So when you look at breakfast over the course of a week, guests want to be sure to have something unique every day.”

In other words, an attractive breakfast bar is not just about piling on whatever is the cheapest and most efficient. It’s about perceived quality, and – yes, this word again – value. Guests want options, and they want foods that fit their lifestyle. Responding to this trend, both Country Inns & Suites and Hilton’s Hampton brand recently added real oatmeal – not pre-packaged, and not quick cooking oatmeal – to their repertoire.

“Health and wellness is important to our guests, and I don’t think anyone will come in next year and say 2012 is the year of trans fats and corn syrup,” says Southern. “On top of that, transparency in food is big, and we’re moving toward cleaner of ingredient lists – in other words, when you look what’s in your food, you’ll only see ingredients you understand. It is what it says.”
Selecting Service

Of course, an important part of a good hotel breakfast is how it’s served. Midscale hotels again face a unique challenge because their guest base is so diverse. From weekday business travelers to weekend leisure guests, from small business meetings to large groups, fitting all this food as well as the people to eat it in a small breakfast room is a challenge.

“We really do have to be all things to all people at times,” says Southern.

Again, it’s all about options. Southern adds as long as you make space, guests will utilize it in ways they see fit, and in Hampton’s new Perfect Mix lobby, there’s been an organic flow because people have a variety of seating options and areas, but it remains one contiguous space.

Aside from ensuring the right staffing and attending to the guests – hotel service 101 – utilizing back-of-house space is an important consideration as well.

“When we add these elements, it becomes extremely complex to achieve high quality food preparation and delivery,” says Mogck. “We joke that our pantries are so small you can’t change your mind in them.”

Waste is one of the other major considerations when it comes to advanced offerings. To combat this challenge, Country Inns recently rolled out non-disposable dining ware.

“We decided to be the first to use non-disposable utensils. Even with adding a dishwasher, from a cost standpoint it’s very close to what we were doing before,” says Mogck. “But now we’re saving thousands of pounds of garbage from landfills. There is not an RFP out there that doesn’t ask about what you’re doing to be green, and we wanted something real.”
Rate of Return

In midscale, competition continues to up the ante and build on more and more amenities to differentiate outside the beige box. At the end of the day at the property level, the goal is always to create a better guest experience while simultaneously  raising rate to get a better ROI.

“When you look at ROI, [improvements to breakfast] are table stakes. A number of brands have skimped, and I see it everywhere,” says Mogck. “What are you saving, $1 a room? When guest perceives what you get at a restaurant, it makes a huge difference, and it gives you the ability to raise rate and drive occupancy long-term to establish yourself in the market.”

Mogck adds an example. Some hotels, for example, will try to lure guests by offering $20 gas cards or other incentives of the like. While that’s effective in its own right, a $20 gas card costs pretty close to $20 for the hotelier (taking into account discounts in bulk, etc.). If you look at breakfast at $2 or $3 per room, with the ability to raise rate accordingly because the guest understands the value there, it makes sense.

“When you have an asset you can leverage, you have to maximize it,” says Mogck.

The proof is in the pudding, pun intended. According to Country Inns’ Medallia ratings, the new “Be Our Guest” breakfast showed +.02 in the “overall breakfast” category; +.03 in “presentation of breakfast items”; and +.10 in “variety of breakfast items” over one year ago. With a .01 change being statistically significant on a brand-wide level, the numbers speak for themselves.

Southern says that Hampton also saw a big lift in guest scores when the brand added both waffles and, more recently, oatmeal. But at the end of the day, the value the guest sees is not only from the products, but also how that product is packaged with great service.

“Stuff is stuff, but the loyalty from our guest doesn’t come specifically from oatmeal and waffles, it comes from great products wrapped in unbelievable service,” Southern adds. “When you have those things together it becomes hard for the competition to touch, and that’s why there’s so much potential at breakfast.”

Recipe: White chocolate and orange muffins

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Recipe: White chocolate and orange muffins

By Nigella Lawson

Last updated at 8:01 PM on 18th June 2011

 

The fragrant tang of orange perfumes the kitchen as these cook, and I can’t imagine a more welcoming wake-up call. Not that these muffins, in all their light-golden, gently domed glory, need to be considered for breakfast only; they are as good as a tea-time, indeed anytime, treat

White chocolate and orange muffins

 

Makes 12

  • 250g plain flour
  • 50g fine cornmeal/polenta (not instant)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 150g white chocolate chips
  • 90ml vegetable or groundnut oil
  • 1 large organic egg
  • 200ml full-fat milk
  • 1 orange, zest and juice

Kitchen kit

  • 1 x 12-bun muffin tin

 

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas mark 6. Line a muffin tin with papers.
  2. Measure the flour, cornmeal, raising agents and sugar into a bowl, and stir in the chocolate chips.
  3. In a measuring jug, mix together the vegetable oil, egg, milk and zest and juice of the orange.
  4. Pour the mixed liquid ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients, stirring with a wooden spoon. A lumpy batter makes for a lighter muffin; in other words, do not overwork.
  5. Divide among the paper cases and bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until cooked, when a cake tester should come out dry.
  6. Let stand on a wire rack for 5 minutes, before removing the muffins, in their papers, and eat warm.

Feeding an Addiction: Oatmeal Raspberry Cupcakes Recipe

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

Feeding an Addiction: Oatmeal Raspberry Cupcakes Recipe by Elana Harris Schanzer

Meal Monday

IMG_4910 I have a serious addiction.

Not cigarettes. Not alcohol. Not drugs. Though all those things would seem likely coping mechanisms, considering I’m the mother of two-and-a-half-year-old triplets.

My obsession is far more innocent. I’m addicted to buying berries. Strawberries, two for the price of one? What a deal! Organic raspberries on sale? Better stock up.

I can’t help myself.

Luckily the trio is crazy for them. They love all varieties. “Peez more boobies!” the kiddos cry, desperate for blueberries. “Red stawbees!” they exclaim when I bring them to the table, as if they had not eaten them every day for the last, um, long time.

The positive side of this behavior: My kids love berries and eat them with just about every meal. The negative side: Berries are delicate and have a small freshness window. There are only so many berries the little guys can eat at a time (particularly with a Dude who’s prone to puking).

Looking for something new to offer the kids at breakfast—and a way to save some forlorn berries in the back of the fridge—I tried a recipe for Raspberry Oatmeal Muffins.

My tasters were a tough crowd, as always. After just one bite, Zeke demanded, “more bee cupcake…peez!” Our cake-hating Dude took one sideways glance at it and turned up his nose. Bitty picked up a piece, smushed it up, then put it back on her plate, without ever taking a taste.

Getting three kids out of bed, diapers changed, and eating breakfast before 7:30am is no easy feat. But following up with a yummy muffin and a cup of “hot cocky,” as the kids say, is a very sweet reward.

Raspberry Oatmeal Muffin Recipe
Adapted from The Hadassah Everyday Cookbook

Ingredients:

1 cup white whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup quick cooking oats
1 cup fresh or thawed frozen raspberries

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a muffin tray with paper cupcake cups.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, nugmeg, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, mix the butter and brown sugar until fully combined. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla to the butter mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Slowly add dry ingredients to the wet ones and mix to combine. Fold in the oats.

Fill each cupcake cup a little less than half way. Gently press a few raspberries into the batter and cover with more batter until the cups are 3/4 full. If desired, press a raspberry into the top of each muffin.

Bake muffins for 16-18 minutes until brown and a tester inserted in the middle of one comes out clean. Immediately remove muffins from pan and cool on a wire rack.

Perfect Breakfast: Avocado and Tomato Toast

Sunday, May 8th, 2011

Perfect Breakfast: Avocado and Tomato Toast

Posted by bellalimento on May 2nd, 2011 at 8:22 am


Avocado Tomato Crostini Perfect Breakfast: Avocado and Tomato Toast

Avocados are creamy, and oh so delicious and can be used for much more than just guacamole {not that I don’t love guacamole, in fact I’ll be sharing my recipe for guacamole later in the week as we’re gearing up for Cinco De Mayo}. This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy avocados. It’s quick, easy, healthy and delicious. I could eat this every morning and be a happy camper.
Avocado Tomato Crostini p Perfect Breakfast: Avocado and Tomato Toast

I especially love these in the summer when my garden is in full swing and my tomatoes are sweet and juicy. Next time you’re craving a little something different for breakfast, I hope you’ll give this a go.

Avocado and Tomato Breakfast Toasts
What you’ll need:
Baguette – sliced
Avocado – sliced
Tomato – diced
extra virgin olive oil
salt/pepper

What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place sliced baguette pieces onto a rimmed baking sheets. Place into oven and cook until toasted.

2. To assemble: Place a few slices of avocado onto toast. Top with diced tomatoes. Season with salt/pepper and drizzle olive oil. Continue until you have desired amount of toasts.

Bacon and Cheddar Deviled Eggs

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

Bacon and Cheddar Deviled Eggs

Enjoy This Egg Dish All Day

PHOTO Bacon & Cheddar Deviled Eggs

ABC News
Bacon & Cheddar Deviled Eggs
From the kitchen of American Egg Board
Servings: Over 8
Difficulty: Easy
Cook Time: 1-30 min

Eggs don’t have to be just for breakfast. Try this dish at your next dinner party.

Ingredients

  • 14 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1-1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1/3 cup crumbled cooked bacon
  • 1/4 cup finely shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (1 oz.)
  • 2 Tbsp. chopped fresh chives OR green onion tops
  • Cooking Directions

    Cut eggs lengthwise in half. Remove yolks to medium bowl. Reserve 24 white halves. Finely chop remaining 4 white halves.

    Mash yolks with fork. Add mayonnaise, sour cream, mustard, lemon juice and pepper; mix well. Add chopped egg whites, bacon, cheese and chives; mix well.

    Spoon 1 heaping Tbsp. yolk mixture into each reserved egg white half. Refridgerate, covered, to blend flavors.

    Nutrition information per serving :83 calories; 6 g total fat; 2 g saturated fat; 1 g polyunsaturated fat; 2 g monounsaturated fat; 130 mg cholesterol; 133 mg sodium; 2 g carbohydrate; 0 g dietary fiber; 5 g protein; 199.4 IU Vitamin A; 10.4 IU Vitamin D; 14.8 mcg folate; 29.6 mg calcium; 0.6 mg iron; 77.3 mg choline.

    This recipe is a good source of protein and choline.

    Additional Notes:

     

    • Deviled eggs can be made up to 12 hours ahead. Refrigerate, covered.

    • Very fresh eggs can be difficult to peel. To ensure easily peeled eggs, buy and refrigerate them a week to 10 days in advance of cooking. This brief “breather” allows the eggs time to take in air, which helps separate the membranes from the shell.

    • Hard-cooked eggs are easiest to peel right after cooling. Cooling causes the egg to contract slightly in the shell.

    • To peel a hard-cooked egg: Gently tap egg on countertop until shell is finely crackled all over. Roll egg between hands to loosen shell. Starting peeling at large end, holding egg under cold running water to help ease the shell off.

    • Hard-cooked egg storage time: In the shell, hard-cooked eggs can be refrigerated safely up to one week. Refrigerate in their original carton to prevent odor absorption. Once peeled, eggs should be eaten that day.

    • No-mess method: Combine filling ingredients in 1-quart plastic food-storage bag. Press out air and seal bag. Press and roll bag with hand until mixture is well blended. Push filling toward bottom corner of bag. Snip off about 1/2-inch of corner. Squeeze filling from bag into egg whites.

    • Picnic or tailgate tip: Prepare filling in plastic bag, as above. Carry whites and yolk mixture separately in cooler. Fill eggs on the spot, pressing filling out of snipped corner of bag.

     

    A Note from Mary White

    Wednesday, March 30th, 2011

    A Note from Mary White

    Hotels have B&Bs beat when it comes to taking advantage of Internet marketing … or do they? True, they have infringed on our territory – brands from the Four Seasons to Hampton Inns are offering complimentary breakfast and an abundance of amenities, hallmark features of a bed & breakfast getaway – however, I believe there is still plenty of room to compete.

    When I started BnBFinder in 1998 the Internet was about to become the great equalizer, the chance for B&Bs to be on a level playing field with hotels because of a cost effective advertising vehicle (a website) to get the word out about our properties. Our industry has changed a great deal because of the Internet and the benefits have not come to an end.

    Our agility and individuality are some of the advantages that we should seize. As a small business owner you can make a decision right now and implement it immediately, you’ll never be held up by corporate bureaucracy. You can provide a truly personal experience for your guest, something even a 5 star hotel will have trouble rivaling. You frequently know ahead of time, or are the first to know, when couples become engaged and can add an extra touch such as champagne at breakfast or a mug from your inn as a remembrance of their engagement. You also have the advantage of deciding on the spot what to do, based on guests’ personalities, making the gesture more meaningful than a canned, corporate response. Beyond the special touches, guests would have to stay at a very high-end hotel to experience the type of concierge service offered at most B&Bs. Innkeepers are in the know about the best spots, restaurants, and local secrets.

    As a result of your agility and individuality, I believe your “Internet message” should always convey the value and experience that your B&B offers. Your advertising should start with the premise that your B&B is more than just a place to sleep; that to stay at a B&B is to wakeup someplace special; that B&Bs are a better way to stay. This means something different for every inn, so how do you use the Internet to convey this?

    Good photos are essential. We had wonderful feedback on Melissa Giannelli’s article on photos of your inn in last month’s newsletter. Does your marketing (website, blog, newsletter, directory listings, etc) show your breakfast, amenities, and area activities? Keep it simple and appealing and when it applies, flaunt it!

    Video tells your story and conveys the experience far better than words. No longer do you have to be able to shoot and edit video clips or hire a high priced videographer to have great video for your website. Programs, such as Photo Story 3, make it easy to assemble photographs into high quality, engaging video. I created the video below in less than an hour after one webinar taught by Acorn Internet. (If you’re not an Acorn customer you can sign up for their webinar series by contacting sales@acorn-is.com The video class was originally offered as a “test” beta-class, and will be worked into the class schedule later this year.)

    Don’t forget Social Media. At a recent HSMAI (Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International) panel discussion, revenue managers were asked how to judge the return on investment (ROI) of their social media efforts. I listened closely for this answer, as this is a question I am frequently asked by innkeepers. Interestingly, many chain hotels have not embraced social media as a format for engaging guests. It’s not that they don’t want to, but because of the priority of other corporate tech projects or because of the personal message necessary to engage in social media, they are unable to approach this medium with the agility that countless B&Bs have.

    As an Innkeeper you can always be thinking about what makes your inn special and how to convey that in whatever form of Internet marketing you use. It’s a privilege and a pleasure to promote your inn and as always I value your feedback.

    P.S.: I will be at the Northwest Innkeeping Trade Show & Conference April 4-6, in Portland Oregon. If you’re at the conference, make sure you stop by the booth and say hello!



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