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Hotel buffet-style breakfasts could be a thing of the past

By Sarah Finnan

June 10, 2020 at 10:51am

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Fáilte Ireland has released a set of guidelines advising hotels on how best to prepare for their reopening later this month - with one of the recommendations being that buffet-style breakfasts should no longer be in operation.

I won't lie, I'm VERY upset by this news. Buffet breakfasts are without a doubt my favourite part of staying at a hotel. Having the chance to sample a wide variety of different foods is a luxury that I'm not often afforded in one single meal.

You know the drill - start with some cereal... usually, something sugary and bad for you that your mam would never let you have (yes, even as a 24-year-old 'adult' I still head straight for the Frosted Flakes/Coco Pops). Next up is a fry, obviously. Wait until the trays are almost empty and if you're lucky you'll time it just right and get the hot, fresh food. Loads of toast and lashings of butter and then perhaps a pastry or some yoghurt for dessert.

That right there is my idea of heaven, and so news that hotels are being strongly advised against offering buffet-style breakfasts upon reopening has really hit me hard this morning.

A set of guidelines published by Fáilte Ireland has laid out a number of measures that hotels, restaurants, pubs and any businesses that fall under the hospitality sector should look into enforcing ahead of their reopening later this month.

Drawn up in collaboration with several industry bodies, the document includes specific guidelines for hotels and guesthouses amongst others, with some of the advice provided being that management should make big changes to the traditional hotel breakfast set up. According to the guidelines buffet-style breakfast should "be avoided" as it is difficult to ensure that adequate social distancing measures are enforced.

The document reads:

"Avoid buffet-style service, where possible. If it is required, maintain physical distancing by avoiding queuing systems and staggering guests’ access to the buffet. Place clear markings on floor to indicate appropriate physical distancing when queuing. Introduce a one way system around the buffet/carvery is required."

Other measures included in the document state that all foods in a bain-marie or hotplate must be covered and that only employees can plate up and serve food. Any food on display must be covered or individually wrapped and common tongs or ladles must not be used.

In other words, the buffet-style breakfasts that we've come to know and love of hotel stays look to be a thing of the past.

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