The Technology Of Hotel Breakfasts

I hate, for the most part, hotel breakfasts. They’re dreadful, overpriced affairs in over-airconditioned caverns offering buffets of dried-out, re-heated mush which has to be labeled so guests can figure out what it is they’re eating. There has to be a better way.

Two pet peeves:

  • The buffet toaster: usually a conveyor type machine where you slot a piece of bread in one end and it disappears, coming out five minutes later barely toasted on one side and black on the other. Chances are that if you haven’t been standing over the machine in the meantime, someone else has either stolen your piece or fingered it.
  • The over-eager waiter/ress: Not their fault, because they’re told to do it, but what is it with the need to hover over guests as they’re eating, swooping in and swiping any plate, spoon, cup or yoghurt carton as soon as it’s put down by the guest? This behaviour drives me nuts as it’s impossible to relax and read the paper for fear that by putting down a spoon for 10 seconds to turn a page, a waiter will descend and grab your plate away from you. This morning I lost some yoghurt, some Rice Krispies (I’m a sucker for them, still) and a half-glass of grapefruit juice because I wasn’t quick enough.

This is a solution-oriented blog, so here are my solutions:

  • The buffet toaster: Toasters need serious work by technology companies. Even the kitchen toaster could do with a makeover. But in the meantime, hotels should have one of the over-eager waiters cut fresh bread on request and toast it for guests. Either that, or small kitchen-style toasters should be installed around the restaurant so guests can more easily identify which is their toast, and don’t have to walk halfway across the restaurant to retrieve it.
  • The hovering waiter: Don’t clear away anything until the end of the meal, or until a guest puts the plates, cups or whatever right at the edge of the table. Don’t refill coffee cups unless the guest asks for it. A good waiter should be invisible but available, hovering at the corner of a guest’s eye. To counteract these dawn-raids, guests should get T-shirts made with the logo ‘Don’t take away my plates until I ask you to. I’m trying to have breakfast, not a heart attack’.  I’m thinking of having some made up. Anyone want to order one?