Monday, February 22, 2010

Breakfast Recipe For Late Risers - It's All In The Planning

Innkeepers, or their inn sitters, are generally early risers due to the nature of the bed and breakfast business. After all, one of the things that a guest expects is a good bed to sleep in and a tempting breakfast.  How long does it take to get breakfast ready?  For those who like to sleep as late as they can, I would say about an hour from when you hit the kitchen to food on the table for guests to eat.

How does the innkeeper manage to get it all done, and on the table, sometimes as early as 8am?  Planning!  Much can be done the day before, in preparation for the next days breakfast. All of the juices, in their containers, can be placed in the refrigerator ready to serve.  Condiments such as jellies and butter can be filled and in their containers (or single serving packets) and placed in the refrigerator, just waiting to be brought out. The table can be set and the coffee service stocked ready to go.  Coffee and water can be measured and in the coffee pot waiting for the innkeeper to push the start button or for the automatic timer to turn on.

All well and good, but what about the food portion of the meal?  This is when many innkeepers, when faced with a full house, will opt for an overnight egg dish.  These dishes are assembled the night before and covered in their baking dishes.  Usually, whether it be for a strata or French toast, there is a need for the entree to soak overnight so that the egg is absorbed into the bread.  All that the innkeeper needs to do is take the dish out of the refrigerator and put it in the oven to cook. While this dish is cooking, the fruit course can be prepared, bread can be sliced, and meats can cook on the top of the stove.

One thing that any organized innkeeper needs is a timer that has two or sometimes three settings.  This will help keep the innkeeper on track, especially if they are the only one doing all of the food preparation.  If you are a lucky innkeeper who has two ovens, you might even be able to make fresh cooked muffins.  All it takes is planning.

If you would like a copy of our Overnight Green Chili Strata Breakfast Recipe, let me know.

Lynda and Howard Lerner
Inn Caring

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Social Media for Your Business

I came across this in a Hub Spot e-mail that came in my in box this morning.   It made sense and I wanted to share it with others.  Monitoring your business' social media presence daily is very important. You need to respond to people talking about your brand and understand how people view your company. However, it does take time.  This is important whether you are an innkeeper or inn sitter  If you set up a solid routine, monitoring your online presence doesn't have to be a hassle at all.

From Hub Spot, here are five free, easy steps you can take to get things started. Do each task in the morning when you start work, and you should be good to go.

1) Check Twitter for chatter about your company (takes maybe 2 minutes): Use tools like TweetDeck or Twitter Search to monitor conversations about your company in real-time. To check once a day, set up an RSS feed for a specific Twitter Search to go straight to your Google Reader. Do this by clicking the little RSS icon after you complete a search. Now, ongoing search results will be sent to your reader.

2) Scan Google Alerts (should take about 1.5 minutes): Check your Google Alerts for your company name, products, executives or brand terms. To set this up, enter your search terms and select to receive updates as they happen or once daily. Now, when people blog about your products, an alert will be sent to your inbox. You can read the articles and respond right away!

3) Check Facebook stats (should take about 1 minute): Visit your Company Page's Facebook Insights. This can be found by clicking "more" under the page's main photo. Scan your fans and page views count. If you are a member of a group, check to see if any new discussions started.

4) Answer Industry-related LinkedIn questions (should take about 3 minutes): Search for questions on LinkedIn that you or members of your company can answer. You can set up an RSS feed for specific question categories to go to your Google Reader as well. When you find a relevant question, respond and include a link to your website.

5) Use Google Reader to check Flickr, Delicious, Digg and others (should take about 2.5 minutes): Also set up RSS feeds for searches on your company name and industry terms in other social media sites. Similar to monitoring LinkedIn and Twitter, your Reader will serve as a great place to centralize your other searches too!

So, whether you own a bed and breakfast or are the temporary inn sitters paying attention to social media is very important.

Lynda and Howard Lerner
Inn Caring

Saturday, February 6, 2010

What Can A Burned Out Innkeeper Do?

When you are burned out by the demands of your chosen innkeeping profession and feel overwhelmed by the many hats you are required to wear as a bed and breakfast or other lodging property owner or manager, let a professional Interim Innkeeper or Inn Sitter step in and give you some much needed rest. Renew that freshness you once had by allowing yourself the down-time you deserve, and require, to give a genuine welcome to your guests. How can you pamper your guests and give them a sense of peace and relaxation if you need that very thing yourself ?

Interim innkeepers or inn sitters will run your bed and breakfast or other lodging facility your way. Their mission is to ensure that your inn continues to operate at the same standard of excellence that you provide when you are there. You can feel comfortable leaving your property in the care of experienced, trustworthy professional interim innkeepers or innsitters.

These professionals will continue to answer your phone. They will be there to take that reservation for next month or maybe even next year. Why miss out on short term and long term revenue? There is no need to give that guest to your competition if you have hired an interim innkeeper or inn sitter to continue running your lodging operation.

Most Basic Daily Inn Sitting Fees Usually Include The Following
* Check-in and check-out of guests
* Making and confirming future reservations
* Concierge service for your guests
* Breakfast Preparation and service (including clean up)
* Limited outdoor services - sweeping porches, cleaning patio furniture, watering plants & lawns
* Credit card processing, deposits, etc.
* Innsitter Reports-activities presented to you upon your return

For innkeepers who have no outside housekeeping staff, or may require occasional housekeeping during staff days off, there may be an additional cost.

So, don't get to the point where you don't like what you are doing because you are so tired and overwhelmed. Plan to take that time off and it doesn't have to be only during your slow time of year. It actually is more cost effective to schedule your innkeeper time off when your bed and breakfast or other lodging property is busy. There is greater income being brought in to offset the cost of having an inn sitter running your operation.

If a short vacation will not do the trick and you need to sell your facility, this can take time.  Consider hiring an Interim Innkeeper to run your facility full time acting as the manager doing everything that you normally would do.  This will allow you the time to pursue other interests, or business opportunities, while still maintaining your operation in a normal manner until a buyer can be found. 

Please contact us if you have other questions on Innkeeper Burnout

Lynda and Howard Lerner
Inn Caring

Monday, February 1, 2010

What to do Valentine's Weekend in Colorado

As Interim Innkeepers or Inn Sitters, we still try to keep track of what is going on in our own backyard even if we happen to be staying and taking care of  another B&B in different part of the country.  Having been former owners and innkeepers of a bed and breakfast in the Colorado Springs area, we have first hand knowledge of some interesting events which take place. 

So if you are trying to stay close to home and keep your costs under control,  try this staycation in the Colorado Springs area over Valentine's Weekend.  You can either visit for the day or plan on staying overnight, at one of the many bed and breakfast or other lodging facilities in either Colorado Springs or Manitou Springs.  

The event will take place in Manitou Springs, just a few miles from downtown Colorado Springs.  You can be part of the Carnival Parade and Mardi Gras celebration on February 13th!  There will be a Mumbo Gumbo Cook-off with fabulous chefs competing with their secret recipes starting at 8:00am in Soda Springs Park.  Starting at 11:00am, following the judging, the public can purchase tastings of the gumbo for a nominal cost.  A Mardi Gras Carnival Parade through Downtown Manitou Springs will follow the cook-off at 12:00 noon.

After the parade, you can visit any number of restaurants along Manitou Avenue.   However, one of the best kept secrets for non-locals is the Keg Lounge Bar & Grill.  Located at 730 Manitou Ave. they have been at this location for over 25 years and are family friendly. 

They are home to the "Best Buffalo Burger and Famous Berry Salad".  What is really neat to view is the collection of patches from Law Enforcement, Fire, Rescue departments brought or sent in by patrons from throughout the United States.  There are even some international patches.  As a patch collector, I can appreciate all the patches all over the walls even if my collection is totally different.

The food is wonderful, as well as priced right, plus the service is exceptional.  However, don't plan on paying by credit card - cash only.  If you are desperate, they do have an ATM machine to help you out. 

Lynda & Howard Lerner
Inn Caring