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Reshaping breakfast buffets

Higher consumer expectations on breakfast drive change

Breakfast buffet in the States are undergoing a change. The traditional room service breakfast has lost its appeal, with less than 10% of guests ordering room service breakfast down from 30% in the 70’s according to a recent article in Forbes. Room service breakfasts often score low on quality, with plates traveling a long way from the kitchen and arriving cold or overcooked.

Breakfast has become a key offer not just in hotels but also in coffee chains and QSR’s, leading to a larger variety of breakfast options and products to choose from and ultimately driving consumer expectations up. This is true even if breakfast is offered for free – guests still expect good quality. If expectations are not met, it will damage the impression of the entire hotel and show up as negative customer satisfaction scores.

Stand out with a better breakfast buffet and offer

So how can you stand out in the breakfast jungle without trying to be everything to everyone? Target one key area to build your concept around: food quality, experience or convenience. All three are important, but by choosing one area as the core, you can build in unique values for your guests.  

Food quality

Guests often perceive food as more premium when ordered from a menu and delivered to the table compared to being picked up from an “all you can eat” buffet station. The strategy behind the à la carte offer is that many guests will order several plates with the overall spending exceeding that of a set price for a buffet. It can also help bring down food wastage. The à la carte breakfast is ideal for smaller, upscale venues whose guests demand this level of service.


By enhancing the breakfast experience using action stations, creative displays, and seasonal menu variations, hotels can boost their business and build a reputation for their breakfast or brunch buffet that will draw in not only guests staying at the hotel but also weekend diners. Action stations such as “build your own croissant” deliver a playful touch to the morning meal.


More and more people eat their breakfast on the go, desiring convenient solutions to bring with them instead of sitting down at a table. To cater to this need, hotels can adapt their offer to include portable breakfast options, with hot drinks in portable cups and food bags or prepackaged food solutions. One hotel that does this well is Staybridge Suits Downtown St Petersburg, where guests can pick items from the buffet and bring with them using the hotel’s grab-n-go breakfast bag.     

Lantmännen Unibake USA

2525 Cabot Drive
Suite 300
Lisle, IL 60532

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