Hi Yana - I remember hearing about that story and being horrified! I have not had that problem because they have a separate little kitchenette, and come upstairs into my kitchen for breakfast. I put the food on the table. They rarely eat it all. Due to health code I can not crack an egg ; ). I can make hard-cooked but I can’t peel it. I have three standard menus, all that cost less than $2 per person.
Bagels, Hard Cooked Eggs
Frozen potato cakes heated in the oven, sausages (precooked, so I think it’s legal)
Croissants from Costco, heated in the oven they think they are homemade, brie and other cheeses.
In addition, jams, butter, fruit, coffee, tea, juice. And i can’t help myself so usually add a small bowl of toasted almonds, maybe a little bowl of grape tomatoes, just little things that make it seem like a feast.
; ) So far my guests love it. I enjoy the opportunity to interact with them. I love meeting these people from all over the world. They love the personal touch. My last guest said that I treat guests like visiting friends not paying customers. That just means to world to me.
I set a pretty table the night before. So the food is restricted - they are not helping themselves to anything.
I keep the bagels and croissant in the freezer and just pull them out the night before. So far it’s working. I may have to give it up eventually as I also home school my kids, teach a class at a co-op, and work for my church. UGH this week I’ve been very sick and the contractor let us know at the last minute that a room full of junk needed to be totally emptied. AND guests coming and going.
Perhaps you could try it again - but put the food in a designated place. Find a tray at a discount place, set the stuff on it. Or even a placemat, or pretty piece of fabric, anything to clarify what you’re offering. Don’t give them license to rummage through your cabinets. Especially since you specialize in IB, and some of your guests didn’t even know they were staying there that night, a few things - even a few granola bars, a piece of fruit - a cheese stick - would be a nice touch. Maybe find some china plates at a thrift store. If you don’t advertise it then it’s a bonus, a surprise, and they will love you! It doesn’t have to be as elaborate as what I do, just a little something to show 'em some love. ; )