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To cook or not to cook. What is expected of the host?

I don’t do any cooking and at this stage of my life… Over 60, I’m not wanting to start now. How much of the second B is critical to making the first B a success?

Is it enough to allow the guests access to the kitchen and what essentials should I have on hand for them vs what they need to supply on their own?

Cooking isn’t required to be a success.

IMHO, having Breakfast in some shape or form, is critical to being a success.

You don’t have to go overboard. You don’t have to supply eggs and bacon and sausage, etc. You don’t have to cook breakfasts to order (although I do, from a limited menu).

If the guests want, they can buy their own eggs and meat, and you could have salt, pepper, and a couple of spice blends like Old Bay or Cavender’s available for them, along with an inexpensive skillet, a 1 qt pot and a couple utensils set aside for their exclusive use. Supply paper plates and plastic ware for them to use. Don’t allow guests to go ramaging through your cupboards and drawers.

Many hosts just supply cold cereals and hot cereal packets and a couple of dairy products along with cafe and decaf coffee and tea. Others add fruit and bagels/bread. Others add fruit juices, pastries and other things.

No cooking is required by you unless it is a service that you would enjoy providing. and of course included in your costs.

Decide what you want to provide and leave a clear description on your page.
I suggest keeping it simple and perhaps include in your description “limited use of kitchen and no preparation of large meals”. “Staples are provided for breakfast, cereals, coffee, creamer etc” or not - you don’t have to provide anything.

You can be friendly, welcoming, and a great host without feeling the need to roll out the red carpet.

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My household is 100% plant-based. I’m not about to start taking requests for food. lol

I provide self-service snacks and that’s it. Ratings & reviews haven’t suffered a bit.


I can tell you that in searching for listings very few airbnbs provide breakfast. Which is sad, because I do, and while on vacation it would be nice to have it done for me.

If anyone insists on the last part of that name - the ‘b’ in breakfast, you will have to insist on the first part - and whip out an airbed for them to sleep on -

I do agree that a few staples would be appreciated - describe it as ‘self-serve’ breakfast.

Search all the posts on here about cooking - it can be a nightmare if you allow it in your home, unless strong odors, messes, and you fridge stuffed with other people’s stuff won’t bother you. Think Chinese, fish, Indian, etc.

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kitchen is not available to guests and we do not prepare breakfast. there is a kettle, microwave and fridge in the room and a plenty of places around our house where the guests can have breakfast

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So glad I found this forum before going head long into this. Thank you, thank you.

Right across from the door to their room there is a jog in the wall about 5’ wide x 3’ deep. I think I can build a small kitchenette right there.

I have a small fridge and microwave. Can get a coffee maker, too. Like the idea of providing cold/hot cereal packs. Small half & half, sugar, paper cups, bowls and plastic utensils.

I do want to keep my rates reasonable. Besides, if they go out for food and tell the place where they are staying, that can work both ways. Maybe get me some guests in return for the referral.


I think the best way to learn cooking is to join some good cooking classes or you can take help from internet.

My listing doesn’t say that it offers breakfast. However, I put out a Continental spread for my guests each morning. Some people are pleasantly surprised; others, it seems they expected it anyway even though it’s not part of my listing.

I think in the end, it helps with overall guest satisfaction to not list the breakfast yet provide something anyway.

I can’t actually cook food for people or let them use the kitchen. The former violates my state’s Dept. of Health regulations and the latter violates the terms of the rider on my home owner’s insurance.

I would have started hosting years earlier if I’d realized we weren’t obligated to cook breakfast or offer kitchen use to guests!

I simply point to a cheap box of cereal if they want breakfast - and provide high quality coffee. I work full time so I cannot be on my guests schedule. I believe all my reviews have been 5 star, so its not all about the food.

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There are a wide variety of items that can be bought in individual packs (usually 6-8) that cost about $0.25 - $0.40 each. Every time I go to the grocery store I try to buy one such item, usually a $2.50-4.00 expenditure. After a while this turns into a large volume of breakfast foods or snacks. I try to only buy items that will last forever without going bad, or perishable items that I would eat myself.

Most guests will only use a few of the items (or none at all), so your cost per guest could be as low as $0.50 or as high as $3-4.00. If they are booking for 3 nights that at least $150 for me, so it’s a very small percentage. Only one time did someone really go nuts and drink 12 Kcups and eat a ton of snacks, but it was a recurring guest who paid me over $800 in one month. I would have her back any time, food notwithstanding.

Bottled water
Juice boxes (no need to refrigerate)
V8 in cans
Dried fruit / nuts / granola
Boxes of raisins
Granola type bars - huge variety here, healthy and not-so-much
Hostess coffee cakes or Little Debbie cakes
Those square snack crackers that come with peanut butter or fake cheese filling
Keebler products such as cookies or crackers
Instant Oatmeal or Grits
Small boxes of Kellogg cereals, variety pack

Coffee, tea, sugar, creamer - the first time you buy it will be a few bucks, but you restock at different times. The sugar packs have lasted months and are no place close to running out.

Perishable - yogurt, milk in boxes, OJ, frozen burritos, breakfast sausage sandwiches. I used to put out fruit but now I only do so if requested.

I know this really sounds like a lot but I bought it all over time and each guest wants something different, so I could probably go another 6 months without restocking the dry goods. Most of my guests are about $1.00 a day.

My local store has an aisle with bulk goods and often has sales on these items so I stock up when possible.

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If you can provide food and do it within the realm of what you ask for in fees go for it. Our experience is that we get flack for food handlers permits or some type of tax. So we don’t do it but we let others who have the permits or pay the tax and provide the referral. I think some people arrange like coupons from favorite places too. If we could do everything from preparing the room to cooking we would do it but between the work and entertainment there’s little time.

I dont cook I don’t provide breakfast other than coffee.

If they ask about breakfast, I let them know we’ve got bread, butter, jam, cereal, and milk. If I have fruit, they can have some.

Basically, the whole thing must work for you. So don’t do stuff that you don’t really want to. Because it’ll turn into burnout.

I still get good reviews. Good enough for me anyway. I’d prefer to avoid super host status.


I don’t know where you are but here in the UK we are not actually allowed by law to cook for guests as this would require a food hygiene license that has to be reviewed by the council on a regular basis.
I do however think that providing breakfast is important… it is called Air bed and breakfast after all.
I provide bread for toast, various cereals, fruit juice and yogurts.
Some guests just have a bowl of cereal, others a selection.
As we have guests stay who are going straight to work, i would hate to think of them starting the day without breakfast!
Just offer them a simple help yourself style breakfast and leave them to it!
I’m sure some guests would like the ‘full English’ but I’m not prepared to flout the law in doing so


I think your wording is slightly misleading.

An UK AirBNB host can handle handle meat, fish, egg or dairy products as part of their business but they have to register with their council, comply with Food Safety regulations and be inspected by the council to ensure compliance. Small businesses are inspected less frequently than - for example - large restaurants e.g. once a year if I remember correctly. Food safety compliance and inspection is relatively straight-forward.

Not misleading at all.
It’s exactly how it is… it is a requirement by law to have a license in place.
You don’t need it if you are not serving your guests cooked food.
Makes no difference if you are a hotel, guest house, traditional B&B or Airbnb.
All I was saying in my response to a hosts question about breakfast was that I don’t personally provide a cooked breakfast and all of my guests have been happy with the non cooked version I supply.

I offer bed&bathroom and not bed&breakfast and the my rates reflect this


That’s actually a funny way to put it. I may use that line next time some asks about the second “B”.


So for those of you that do not cook but offer bread for toast, cereal and milk, juice, coffee, etc…

Where is this provided? We talked about not letting guests access to the kitchen so where are they finding and enjoying their breakfast in the morning?

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