Self-Service and Flexible Hours for B&B Breakfasts

Mary and Roger Wolters of the Red Horse Inn in Landrum, South Carolina, listened when many of their guests told them that “they didn’t want to get out of their cozy bathrobes to come for breakfast and talk to a bunch of strangers.” And late risers wanted to have breakfast after the dining room’s 10:00 a.m. cutoff.

The Wolters’ solution was to install a microwave, coffee maker and small fridge in each room. Additionally, the innkeepers added "kitchen closets" fully stocked with fresh fruit parfaits, orange juice, coffee, tea and packaged oatmeal, as well as egg casseroles, frittatas and quiches baked and frozen ahead of time. They’ve had so much success with this approach that they call it “our greatest asset to guests.”


Do not disturbt


Changing Up the Breakfast Menu at Your Inn

The Captain Fairfield Inn in Kennebunkport, Maine, is one of our runners-up for Innovator of the Year. Jessica Ferguson, who manages the inn, compares their popular small-plates breakfast to “gourmet breakfast tapas.” She explains that guests can have as many small items as they want, including specialty dishes like open-faced pulled pork egg sandwiches, caprese baked eggs with basil and tomato, and Mexican hot chocolate scones.

“We have found that guests are thrilled with the uniqueness of this breakfast and the variety of choices,” Ferguson says. Even better, the Captain Fairfield’s approach to breakfast has allowed the inn to maintain its gourmet standards while reducing food waste and lowering costs.


Breakfast tapas


Replacing Breakfast with Something Better

The Safford Mills Inn & Café — our Innovator of the Year winner— has done away with breakfast altogether. John and Lisa Redding eliminated morning meals in favor of evening refreshments at their Bennington, Vermont, inn, in an attempt to attract younger, urban travelers more interested in nightlife buzz than countryside peace and quiet.,

Every evening, Safford Mills offers complimentary appetizers and desserts along with cocktails, wine and beer in the inn’s martini bar and café. Guests mingle with locals in the 18th-century house, which is located within walking distance of Bennington’s downtown shops and restaurants.

The Reddings have labeled their innovation “accommodations and aperitifs, or "A&A," to distinguish it from the traditional B&B experience. According to the couple, their decision to offer food and drinks in the evenings “has been met with interest and delight.” More than that, it has helped them to double their occupancy with a growing mix of guests including locals, travelers from the East Coast and international travelers. They want to continue to expand their inn's food and beverage offerings by opening a full restaurant in the building next door, and launching a gin and vodka distillery that uses Vermont-grown ingredients.

Whether you shift to cocktails or stick with breakfast, how might you change things up to improve the dining experience for your guests?


Happy hour