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Why Do Hotels Offer Free Breakfast?

Hotel breakfast with eggs, bacon and fruits.

Hotels offer free breakfasts to attract customers and maintain their loyalty to the chain.

Free Breakfast for Hospitality

For many travelers, it offers a convenient way to fuel up in the morning. When you’re on the road or in a different place, it’s often not realistic to carry food around with you everywhere you go. So, it gives you one less thing to worry about. Also, it is a great option for customers.

They don’t need to travel to another place and spend their vacation time for something to eat in the morning. Everything is right there for guests, which means they can spend more time at the hotel.

For many people, the quality of the breakfast and the all you can eat style is one of the best perks of staying at a hotel. It also gives guests an opportunity to meet other people who are traveling, plan their day, or even catch up on news. We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important part of your day, and hotel breakfasts give travelers a good night’s rest and energy they need for the day.

Encourages Customers to Buy Other Things at the Hotel

Hotel breakfast buffet with different types of bread.

Many hotels offer other services, such as tours, ticket sales, massages, or even a small shop. By enticing customers to spend the first moments of their day in their lobby, they get the opportunity to draw them into the other offerings the hotel has.

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Whether it’s a hotel bar and restaurant or even a special membership card, it gets customers to spend more of their time interacting with the hotel and getting other opportunities for them to upsell.

Setting The Hotel Apart

It can also be a way for the hotel to differentiate itself from others in the area. When you have a choice of places to stay and one offers free breakfast while the others don’t, it’s an easy decision to make. In fact, some hotels make themselves known for their breakfast, such as their waffle makers or premium quality coffee. Many avid travelers will know which hotels serve the best breakfasts and make it a point to stay there.

It’s Customary in Many Places

Breakfast of coffee orange juice and bread with jam.

In some cultures, it’s customary to offer breakfast to guests. It’s a sign of respect and appreciation, especially if you’re staying in someone’s home. In these cases, the breakfast is usually much more simple and may only consist of coffee, tea, bread, and jam. However, it’s still a nice gesture that shows you’re taking care of your guests.

Better Word of Mouth

Travelers may be more likely to recommend a hotel to others or write a positive review if they had a good experience with the breakfast. If you’re looking for a place to stay and see that one offers free breakfast while the others don’t, it’s an easy decision to make.

Breakfast as a Marketing Tool

The other reason is that it’s simply a marketing tool. By offering this to potential guests, hotels are more likely to get their business. It’s a way of saying, “Hey, we want you to stay with us. And to sweeten the deal, we’ll give you breakfast for free.”

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Coffee maker and coffee bean.

Many of the ingredients in a continental breakfast are cost-effective and shelf-stable. For example, coffee grounds can stay fresh for several months. Cereals are always a popular option as are baked goods, and this means that it is a simple investment to make in a satisfactory customer experience.

Easy to Maintain

A continental breakfast spread is simple to set up in the morning. It normally only requires a few attendants, and they have to do the minimum for clean-up and customer service.

This is a big difference from a full breakfast spread that requires servers and cooks with wages to pay, as well as more involved cleanup, food storage, and preparation.

What Types of Free Breakfasts Do Hotels Offer?

Hotel continental breakfast with coffee and blueberries.

The type of breakfast offered will depend on the hotel. Some places will have a more elaborate spread while others will offer a Continental breakfast with just a few items.

What Does a Continental Breakfast Mean?

A Continental breakfast typically includes items like pastries, fruit, juice, coffee, and cereal.

Here are some examples of what you might find:

  • Fruit juices, coffee, and tea
  • Bagels, muffins, and donuts
  • Cereal, oatmeal, and yogurt
  • Eggs, bacon, and sausage
  • Waffles, pancakes, and French toast

It’s a lighter breakfast that is normally served buffet style. The reason it is called continental is that it’s similar to the types of breakfasts that Europeans normally have. It came into popularity in the early 20th century, and set itself apart from the heavier “American breakfasts” people were used to

Some hotels will also offer made-to-order items like omelets or pancakes. Other places might even have a specialty item like a build-your-own smoothie bar or a make-your-own crepe station.

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It really just depends on the hotel and what they are trying to offer their guests.

Breakfast as Membership Perk

A couple enjoying breakfast at the hotel.

Some chains, like the Hilton, offer the breakfast buffet as an upgrade option. For frequent travelers, this will easily pay for itself. Plus, the convenience of a fresh-to-made breakfast where you travel is hard to beat.