Finish time for breakfast

We’re new hosts - we opened in November, letting out a private room in a small house with breakfast included (UK). Our twentieth guest arrived on Friday, and so far we’re doing OK - 94% 5* ratings.
We say in our listing that breakfast can be served when guests want it, but last night our guests didn’t specify a time before they went out (they went out at 7pm and didn’t get home again until 2.30am). They eventually appeared downstairs at 9.55am - I’d been sitting waiting for them for over an hour, and the home-made croissants I’d baked for them were ruined.
Short of shouting out “Breakfast!” up the stairs (a bit seaside landlady!), I’m not sure what I should’ve done. Do people think it’s OK to specify breakfast available until (say) 9am only?

You need to ask the guest the day before at what time they want breakfast until a max time.

I would have done last night but when they went out for dinner at 7pm I was expecting them back by say 9-ish - not at 2.30am!

I don’t set an “end time” for breakfast – I’ve made it as early as the night before (savory muffins) and as late as 11 AM after the guest returned from a run and a workout at a local gym. I never fail to ask the guests – on check-in when we show them round – what time they want brekkie.

I’ve thought about setting an end time, and may still, but we have few late requests (10AM or later).

I understand that you have gone out of your way baking croissants. And wow! I can’t even imagine. But being on vacation means coming and going whenever we want to, and not having to get up for a specific time.

I offer breakfast but not myself to make it. (cereal, coffee, tea) They can use the kitchen. So if they want it they can make it and if they don’t that’s fine. And you get to have a life.

If you want to continue offering breakfast etc just ask them the night before.


Early on I stopped time-consuming-to-prepare breakfast items. Some guests eat no breads or sweet pastries, some only regular, not Greek, yogurt, some no coffee, etc. I set out my regular buffet the first day and learn from there. I state that breakfast will be laid out by 7:30 (perishables are held until I hear them moving around) and brought in at 9:30 AM and will make adjustments only to the later time. I don’t get up early to meet their 6:00 AM departure time. If it’s that early, they flip the switch to start coffee and can help themselves from the refrigerator. After the buffet is laid out, I hang around reading or gardening or doing odd jobs so I can talk with them or help them feel at home. I freeze special bread items for use as needed. I splurge on wide selections of cereals and fruits, as these keep well. I don’t think that asking guests when they want breakfast sets the tone I want. I would expect that puts them in a princely mood and I am not a retainer. I also don’t wait up for guests. They have a key, are grownups, and if they miss breakfast because they are out late and want to sleep in, so be it.

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We usually ask guests at what time they want to have breakfast. This is mainly to prevent them having to wait a lot of time for breakfast to be on the table.
I understand that this wasn’t possible with your guest. In that case I would have only started preparing when I saw/heard them awake. By consequence they would have to wait a little while.

I think it’s perfectly acceptable to put in place a “Breakfast until …” rule. We have been thinking about doing this, mainly to deter people who come to Lima to party for days in a row, all night long and who expect to get their breakfast at noon. It hasn’t happened a lot, but it did happen.
For me however 9AM is quite early, even when going to bed early, people might still want to sleep a little longer. I think 10AM is a good limit. If they get up much later they might as well go straight out for lunch :smile:.

Baking croissants does sound like a lot of work and/or energy. It is a wonderful gesture for those who like croissants (not me sorry :slight_smile:), but maybe you should consider switching to something less labour intensive that distinguishes you from competition, unless your price level demands that you serve freshly baked croissants of course.

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I don’t know… does being a short order cook really come with the nightly rate?

I would never do breakfast but if I did, I would do it like many hotels. Just make a self serve breakfast and put it out on a buffet and state the breakfast buffet was open from x to xx


I agree wholeheartedly with @konacoconutz

When we stay somewhere I’m more than happy with a buffet breakfast, especially if it’s laid out attractively and has fresh fruit.

I’m wondering why the smell of fresh croissants didn’t get them haring down the stairs. I would have!


A buffet is very nice for guests and practical for hotels, but I don’t think it’s an option when renting out 1 or 2 rooms. There would be loads of waste. Buffet works perfect for larger numbers.
We only ask if there are any dietary restrictions and just serve whatever we feel like serving. Staying with a family also means eating what the family eats.


When I had a traditional B & B cooked breakfast was between certain hours (I forget what they were now).

If guests told me that they wanted breakfast later, it would be a buffet laid out on the dining room table. There was no waste because I’d only supply things that the family would use up if the guests didn’t.

But could they put out two croissants and fruit or yogurt for two?
Does breakfast really really help ratings? I’m just asking not trying to be confrontive because I’m really just thinking if you took breakfast off you will still get bookings…

I don’t specify a time for breakfast; it’s self serve. I’ve had guests wake up anywhere from 6:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. I bake muffins and rolls and freeze them. Guests can microwave them whenever they like. I make granola (thank you, @smtucker), yogurt and jam. Guests can help themselves whenever they like. I have lots of varieties of tea. I show them all the breakfast food during the house tour. As I have a pour over coffee maker, I make coffee for the coffee drinkers when they wake up.

I’m curious, how does being out an hour or two ruin croissants?

Of course that would be an option.

In our case it woud be a bit weird, because we share the table with our guests. Not always at the same moment, but it would be weird that we are eating a bit of everything and guests only having two croissants, fruit and yoghurt. Not that we always offer loads more, we just offer what we are having.

For me personally, from my experience as a budget backpacker, breakfast is just really handy. I can’t start a day without breakfast, and a decent breakfast isn’t always easy to come by: Could be expensive, could be non-existent at 8AM, etc. … Really depends on where you’re at and what is available.
For us it’s also a good opportunity to interact with our guests and keep them satisfied to the point that they won’t go complaining about e.a. the road noise or the shared bathroom.

I will probably never be in hospitality without offering breakfast. I consider it part of a good offering. (All respect and absolutely not judging anyone doing otherwise :v:.)

True… we used to have a host here whose listing stated HOT BREAKFAST in the title, and I bought that was a great selling point. For certain types of travelers in different places that would be ideal. (Remember for me I have a separate apartment, and everything is self catering…food, coffee and provisions are the responsibility of the guests and I never offer to provide anything… even though I do have coffee, tea and sugars, etc. I don’t advertise it.)

I would find it a hassle to plan to eat with guests, although I get why you are doing it… every host has a different style!


To be honest we’ve found that breakfast is a major, major plus for us - we get lots of nice comments about it in our reviews… Most other places in our small town don’t offer it. It’s a great opportunity to socialise with guests - asking how they slept, etc., while making to toast. Also to solve problems, suggest places to go, etc. We describe the breakfast in our listing - basically it’s the same kind of thing that we eat so there’s no wastage.


It seems like you like doing it, it’s part of your hospitality and style. Except this guest wanted to sleep late and didn’t adhere to a nonspecified schedule.

Don’t change it just because of one guest. Just know that it isn’t going to be perfect all the time. It happens. The question is how can it be avoided. Hmmm without you feeling like you’re attached to the stove or your guest having to be obliged to get up at a certain time to HAVE breakfast.

A note… stating will you have breakfast and time? Which they can leave if you don’t see them before you go to bed. Something simple and uncomplicated.

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Evelyn seems to have it covered here. You could set a latest time for personally served breakfast and then leave something out for people who want to sleep in? Personally, I’m not much of a cooked breakfast person and not an early riser so a bit of cereal and fruit would do me fine. No hotel or guest house in the world will offer served breakfast beyond certain hours so airbnb guests should be no different. It’s up to you to set the boundaries - guests do appreciate it. I’ve stayed in some places where I was never sure what was allowed, what wasn’t and it can make everything awkward and uncomfortable.


This is what I used to do in the B & B. Plus, in those days, I expected guests to have the cooked breakfast at more or less the same time every day and within a limited time frame. It’s pretty easy to make a fry-up (those were the days!) whilst the guests were eating their cereal then make toast whilst they were eating the full English.

Then I left out cereal (those individually packed ones), fruit and yogurt, plus self-serve tea and coffee on the table for people who wanted to eat after the designated hours. Easy peasy :slight_smile:

Ya think? It would be my idea of hell. I would burn everything and turn into Basil Fawlty within minutes.

Just realised I quoted your truly easy peasy option! Yes, even I can manage to leave out some cereal and check the bread is in date.

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