Should You Offer A Continental Breakfast At Your Hotel?

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Offering a continental breakfast at your hotel can be an excellent addition to the amenities you provide for guests. Not only does it create a more enjoyable and convenient experience, but it also allows you to attract more customers. However, several factors must be considered before deciding if a continental breakfast suits your hotel. Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of offering a continental breakfast at your hotel.

What Is A Continental Breakfast In A Hotel?

A continental breakfast is a term typically used in the hospitality industry to describe a type of breakfast where a variety of foods and drinks are served. Continental breakfasts are often offered as an amenity for guests staying in hotels and other lodging establishments.

Continental Breakfast Menu

A continental breakfast menu is a collection of items that are typically served at a hotel breakfast buffet. The items on this menu vary depending on the country or region, but usually include both sweet and savory options. In the United States, for example, a typical continental breakfast might include pancakes, waffles, bagels, muffins, yogurt, cereal, and coffee.

Why Is It Called Continental Breakfast?

There are many theories about where the term “continental breakfast” originated. One explanation is that the phrase was coined in the early 1900s by hotels in the United States to describe a new, light breakfast option that was different from the traditional American breakfast. This new breakfast consisted of coffee or tea, a selection of pastries, and juice or milk.

The term may have also been borrowed from Europe, where a similar breakfast tradition exists. In France, for example, a continental breakfast typically includes bread, cheese, and jam. Whatever the origin of the phrase, there's no doubt that continental breakfasts are becoming more popular all over the world. They offer guests a convenient and affordable way to start their day without indulging in a large, heavy meal.

Why Do Hotels Offer Continental Breakfast?

Hotels offer continental breakfast to provide a convenient, affordable option for guests. In most cases, continental breakfast is significantly cheaper than ordering breakfast from the hotel's restaurant. This can be especially helpful for guests who are on a budget or are not interested in spending much money on breakfast.

Another reason hotels offer continental breakfast is to appeal to a wider range of guests. Not all guests want or need a full breakfast, so having a variety of options available makes it easier for everyone to find something that fits their needs. This can be especially important for hotels that are located in tourist destinations, where guests may have different dietary restrictions or preferences.

Why Do Hotels Offer Free Breakfast?

There are a few good reasons why hotels offer free breakfast. First, it's a great way to welcome guests and make them feel at home. It also helps guests start their day off right, with a full stomach and plenty of energy. Breakfast is also a good opportunity for hotels to promote their other services, such as restaurants or bars. And finally, free breakfast helps attract new guests and keep existing ones loyal to the hotel.

Pros & Cons Of Offering A Continental Breakfast

Offering a continental breakfast at your hotel has both pros and cons. In this section, we will discuss the benefits of providing this service and also mention some potential drawbacks. So, whether you are on the fence about offering a continental breakfast, read on for some helpful information that might make your decision easier.


  • Affordable: A continental breakfast is a low-cost way to offer your guests a morning meal. Continental breakfasts are a great way to provide guests with a morning meal without breaking the bank. Most continental breakfasts consist of various pastries, yogurts, and fresh fruit. This type of breakfast is perfect for guests who are in a hurry and need to get on their way.
  • Customizable: A continental breakfast can be as simple or as elaborate as you like, so it's customizable to your hotel's needs and budget. Some of the most popular items for a continental breakfast include pastries, muffins, cereal, oatmeal, toast, bagels, yogurt, fruit, juice, coffee, and tea. You can also get creative with your continental breakfast offerings by adding things like eggs benedict, pancakes, waffles, or even a breakfast burrito. Whatever you choose, make sure you have plenty of signage around the breakfast area, so guests know what's available.
  • Display local cuisine: A continental breakfast is a great way to introduce guests to some of your local culinary specialties. The meal typically includes fresh fruit, yogurt, pastries, cereal, and coffee or tea. It's a great way to showcase your region's flavors and give guests a taste of what your area has to offer. Whether you're in the Midwest and serving up hearty buckwheat pancakes or in the Southwest and dishing up spicy chilaquiles, a continental breakfast is a great way to show off your culinary skills.
  • Stand out: Offering a continental breakfast can help set your hotel apart from the competition. This type of breakfast is simple, but it can effectively attract guests. 


  • Unsatisfying: A continental breakfast often doesn't satisfy guests' hunger quite as a full breakfast would. Continental breakfast is typically seen as an unsatisfactory meal option for guests. It's common for people to be famished when breakfast is served, and a continental breakfast doesn't always fill them up like a full breakfast would.
  • Big cleanup: If you're not careful, a continental breakfast can be messy and difficult to clean up after. The food is regularly spread out on a buffet, and there are often crumbs and spills. This can make it challenging to keep the dining area clean. In addition, breakfast foods can be smelly and attract insects. It is essential to clean up quickly and thoroughly after a continental breakfast to keep the hotel neat and tidy.
  • Not favorable in some areas: A continental breakfast, while often the default breakfast option at many hotels, may not be as popular with guests as other types of breakfasts, depending on your location. In the United States, for example, a continental breakfast is most often seen as a light and relatively low-cost meal, while in Europe it is seen as more of a full-fledged breakfast. Because of this cultural difference, guests in the United States may be less likely to choose a continental breakfast over an American or Mexican breakfast, for example.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to offer a continental breakfast at your hotel depends on your specific guests and what you think would best suit their needs. If you're unsure, you could always survey your guests to see what they prefer.

How Do I Host A Continental Breakfast?

A continental breakfast is a great way for a hotel manager or owner to welcome guests and show them hospitality. By providing a variety of breakfast items, guests can pick what they would like to eat and start their day off right. It's important to provide various food and drinks so that all guests can find something they like. Additionally, be sure to have plenty of tableware available so guests can easily serve themselves. A continental breakfast is a great way to show guests that you care about their stay and want them to feel comfortable and welcome.

What Other Types Of Breakfasts Do Hotels Offer?

When most people think of hotel breakfast, they think of a continental breakfast, which typically includes items such as pastries, fruit, juice, and coffee. However, other breakfast options can be equally delicious and satisfying. For instance, many hotels now offer a cooked-to-order breakfast, a build-your-own-parfait bar, or a make-your-own-waffle station. Another option is a buffet-style breakfast, which allows guests to choose from various hot and cold items. Whatever type of breakfast you pick to serve at your hotel, remember that it should be fresh, delicious, and served with a smile

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