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What brands of breakfast items do you leave?


For those of you who leave milk, cereal, yogurt, bagels, cream cheese, butter, jelly/jam - can you provide details of the brands and types of milk, flavors, etc of the items? What percentage of guest partake? Particularly what kind of milk but want to know about everything.

And the same for snacks. Do you provide a certain brand of snacks individually sized or just whatever is on sale?

Would be very interested to hear.




I have whole milk and almond milk on hand all the time. Sometimes guests leave soy milk behind. We have half and half for coffee. We have a variety of coffee sweeteners. We have quick cooking rolled oats and quick cooking steel cut oats. The only time we have cold cereal is when guests leave it behind. I make muffins (bran muffins with fruit, corn muffins and English muffins) and put them in the freezer. I make jam. I also buy individual (tiny) containers of Bonne Maman jam and Nutella. I always have unsalted butter because I bake a lot. I make yogurt (whole milk for me, fat free for my husband) to which guests are welcome to help themselves.I also tell guests that it’s fine for them to use our eggs. Some guests drink coffee or tea and eat a lot of breakfast items. For example, our current guests each eat two muffins in the morning. Some guests have other plans or are on restricted diets such as vegan and/or gluten free so they don’t eat what we offer for breakfast.

We always have nuts and fruit around which guests are welcome to snack on, but most of our guests seem to eat only at mealtimes.


Thanks Ellen. Are they opened bottles?



Opened bottles of which item?


milk and half and half.



I always have milk on hand to bake and make yogurt and my husband uses almond milk to make his breakfast every morning so they are opened containers. The half and half is opened if it’s been used by a guest as I take my coffee black.


With just one connected apt, i end up just grabbing items out of my own fridge. Siggis icelandic yogurts (strawberry, blueberry, pomegranate) and Dreaming Cow yogurt (Maple Ginger, Honey Pear). I leave a box of Organic Flax instant oatmeal in the cupboard from Trader Joes. I usually purchase a lot of half-half which translates into quite a bit of waste since even the smallest available quantity can’t get consumed in 2-3 days. I have cute little white porcelain jars I could fill with creamer but I have a feeling guests wouldn’t like using something unsealed. I’d love to know if I’m wrong on this.

When my guests request soy/almond I buy it unsweetened – they can always add the sugar if they wish and I find those who request a dairy alternative seem to prefer it unsweetened. I get whatever is cheapest/on-sale.

When I leave bagels, cream cheese or butter, it’s a generic organic.

Half/half and almond/soy for coffee is used 9/10 times (I actually ask if they want cream or almond/soy in the fridge before they arrive). Yogurts and other food stuff are consumed only 5/10 times. People always positively comment that these items are available in the fridge, even when they usually don’t consume them. If the expiration dates get close, I bring them back into my fridge for my son.

I feel like opened containers are totally fine for people renting out rooms and leaving a breakfast spread in their dining room but I don’t know if people are turned off by open containers in a private apt. Some guests left an almost unused bottle of Simply Juice OJ in the fridge (like maybe one glass had been poured) and I left it in the fridge for the next guests and I noticed they didn’t touch it. I ended up tossing it out.


I have a guest room that sleeps two people. My breakfast buffet includes multiple cold cereals (usually Newman’s organic, Cheerios, Raisin Nut Bran, 3 or 4 organic granolas, and Quaker oatmeal); 1% milk; Greek yogurt in quart container; small bowls of chopped walnuts, raisins, blueberries, and strawberries; salted butter, a plate of 4 high end baked goods with one usually sweet; at least two jams; Nutella; hard boiled eggs in shell, orange juice in a pitcher, coffee, a cream pitcher with milk, sugar bowl, and tea bags. I have apples and bananas and sometimes grapes in a fruit bowl. I shop at a major grocery, adjust the above items a bit for fun or their preferences if they are staying for a week. The hard boiled eggs are new for me, and the Europeans always appreciate them.
I will be opening a studio apartment in the house to Airbnb and will have to play with what items to leave in that half refrigerator so your input is welcome
The breakfast costs are high and I do not want to waste profits throwing out unused food. Also I find myself eating the bread left (otherwise kept frozen) and this is not helping my waistline. I find I can pull things out of the refrigerator and cupboards and lay it all out attractively in 15 to 20 minutes.


I leave a basket of individually wrapped snacks in the room. People really like the “Cheese Nips,” Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies, peanuts, granola bars and Ande’s mints. I also leave a few bottles of water. Some people take a few - some people take everything in the basket. I also have a basket in the bathroom with a new razor, travel size toothpaste, lotion, shaving cream, and little bars of soap. For breakfast, I ask them what they like: one girl liked frozen breakfast burritos, another guy oatmeal and yogurt, another, bagels and cream cheese. I always provide small bottles of apple/grapefruit/orange juice.


Very impressed with you guys and your spreads…and esp. the homemade yogurt Ellen!

Chicago, yes I was thinking the same thing about things being opened in a private apt. Currently I leave the Land of Lakes Mini Moo Moos individual creamers. The don’t even require refrigeration. I do leave the large liquid bottles of Nestle flavored creamers that guests leave behind. But I do chuck any open bottles of milk, juice if I can’t use them myself.

I am considering turning an efficiency above a garage into a rental and was toying with the idea of providing a nice spread, and it giving me a competitive advantage. I have access to a discount grocery store - love this place - and you can get things for more than half price that you would pay at the Walmart grocery store. Only problem is some of the items are very close to the sell by or expiration date. As long as guests don’t look then it will be okay. They have really great steals. If guests think I am spending all this money on their breakfast and really it is so cheap for me, that will justify a higher price.

This discount grocery often has these kinds of deals:

Johnsonville pack of maple sausage links for $1.50 vs. at least $4 at Walmart. There is a small sink behind the wet bar so I guess they could use that to clean a small counter top cooking appliance.

  • Very large box of Nature Valley Fruit and Nut trail granola bars for $4.98. Regular price at Sam’s Club is at least $8.50.

  • Carton of Eggs for $1

  • Pack of Thomason’s bagels or a bag of the mini bagels for $1 or $1.50. Same price for Pepperidge Farm loaves of honey wheat bread, etc. It won’t matter if it’s not the freshest if they are just going to toast it anyway.

  • Jars of jelly for fifty cents. Although I would have to get squeeze bottle ones.

  • They have tons and tons of bulk individual snacks for so cheap too.

But I am thinking with a box of cereal and milk that guests would not want to use something open unless it was in the host’s home - then it would be expected to be shared by everyone.

And the cereal is so cheap too! Any thoughts on if I just put out some cereal in a clear glass jar and refilled it every time?

Thanks for all the responses.


I love the look of big mason jars (or mason jars of any size!). They always look homey and fresh. I have a big walk in butchers pantry full of them. I think serving cereals, or anything at all in jars always goes down well. It feels much more homey than a bunch of packaged food in plastic, and gives it a more home made feel. I put my jams in tiny little ones to go with the croissants I serve so I can top up fresh jars without people getting butter knives in the big jars, jars of half and half in the guests fridge, and for everything really! I would think they would be very nice in an apartment.

Also, I think your idea sounds great!


Very interesting. Funny how you mention the cozy look of Mason Jars. All of the cabin yard lights are hand made out of mason jars…lol! I should take a pic and post. The mason jars in the yard all automatically light up around sunset! - seriously.

So do your jam mason jars have snap top connected lids or are they the regular twist top? I am only familiar with the twist top ones. But I have seen clear canisters with snap top lids that are glass…or at least they look like glass. I imagine my guests will be digging their butter knives into it, but my partner does love peanut butter and jelly and has no problem eating after guests. I could always provide a fresh tiny mason jar of jarred jelly…the jarred ones at the discount store are even cheaper than the convenient squeeze bottles. I see what you are saying…it looks so much more elegant than having a squeeze bottle!



Forgot to ask…since you have multiple guests staying at a time…is a spoon provided next to the jam/jelly mason jar? That way they know not to stick their used utensils in it? Or how does that work?


Yes, a little spoon with each jam. But you know people…


trader Joes lowfat granola and trader Joes maple pecan granola.One quart of 2% milk, 1/2 gallon if they are there longer than 3 days. a couple containers of little chobani yogourt; maybe jice, bottled water. bananas, apples. Trader Joes organic popcorn,Trader Joes Belgian choclate crispy cookies. There are little container of raisins, nuts etc to top granola off. a bag of honey roasted peanuts.There is a container of indivually wrapped biscottis in a jar. AND I keep changing it…what I did last month may be different. I do not advertise continental breakfast so they cant complain; the snacks are a surprise; it sounds like a lot but most people dont even eat half of what I give them AND believe it or not I have been doing this since June and NOBODY has ever used the toaster!!! My people eat out most of the time.They often leave food behind too! Like tequila! and ice cream sandwiches!!!


eggs for $1? I just bought eggs from Walmart for $5 they have gone up A LOT


My cereal is in airtight plastic containers,labeled with the Trader Joes label, My rainsins, nuts, bananachips etc and in tiny glass jars that pop open with a top latch, bought a cute set of 5 for $4 at Marshalls; they are small so they cant take a lot, not that they would.My biggest problem is my guest never eat much; they leave a lot of stuff behind but I can reuse because they havent opened the container.


I provide a small milk (2%), sliced bread (I might stop offering it), eggs, cereal (trader joe’s raisin bran and Kashi) jams, butter, oatmeal oats, hot chocolate powder during cold months, coffee, tea, sometimes granola, butter, cooking condiments. If guests leave yogurt or other brand of cereals I leave it for the next guests.

Half opened containers of milk and bread I bring them down to my space. I don’t provide fruit because it was going bad. What I offer changes and evolves through time. You also have to take into account how much it costs you, etc.



Don’t you love it when guests leave goodies behind?? - lol. Yes, the eggs were $1 (or so I thought) - but I haven’t been in months so maybe eggs went up since then.

Eggland’s best cage free eggs at my walmart in NC are $3.98 - that’s what it shows online. Wow…you’re guests are spoiled with all that Trader Joes stuff!

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