The name Airbnb sort of indicates that you’ll find bed AND breakfast at whatever accommodations you find yourself in. However, you don’t have to serve breakfast.
I believe that how you approach breakfast and other consumables will depend a lot on your location.
If your Airbnb is on a farm or homestead and you can prepare meals from the crops you grow, then you’ll probably have a lot of luck doing that.
But if you’re located downtown or across the street from a nice diner, then most of your guests would probably rather go out to eat.
I don’t know what works everywhere, but I do know what has worked for us. Today I’ll share what Kate and I have been doing for breakfast (and more) in our Airbnbs that has worked great for us. And I’ll share some things I’ve read from other hosts that seem to have worked for them as well.
Why You Should Serve Breakfast
Airbnb doesn’t require that you stock any breakfast foods for your guests, but we do, and we think you should too.
Airbnb lists breakfast as an amenity, and since searches on Airbnb can be filtered by amenities, you could be missing out on bookings if you don’t serve breakfast.
But more importantly, it’s one of the cheaper ways to add a special touch that your guests will seriously appreciate.
All you have to do is think about your guests. What will their experience be? Or you can put yourself in their shoes.
I know for myself, when I travel, I usually arrive at my Airbnb or hotel later in the day. I’ll check in and probably just relax, watch some TV, then go to bed.
When I wake up the next morning I realize that I didn’t plan anything for my first breakfast, but behold! There’s a great spread of muffins,
How We Do Breakfast
Kate and I host three different Airbnbs, but we do breakfast the same way for all three.
1. Coffee and tea bar
First, we have a coffee and tea bar. Airbnb has coffee maker listed as an amenity, which means guests can filter by it when they search for a place to stay. And we’ve found that a huge percentage of our guests make use of the coffee bar.
What does that mean?
It means guests want coffee in their Airbnbs. It’s not expensive to supply coffee, and guests want coffee.
Here’s what one of our coffee bars looks like.
We use a Keurig K-Mini coffee maker with the Keurig coffee pods, along with creamer, sugar and sweetener. And we also stock tea bags.
2. Non-perishable breakfast items
Second, we keep a full stock of non-perishable breakfast foods like oatmeal packets, granola bars and those mini boxes of cereal. It’s important to have separately packaged items, so a big jar of peanut butter is probably a bad idea.
The non-perishable breakfast foods are easy to keep stocked and it guarantees that we’ll have something for our guests even if we couldn’t get them their fresh food.
3. Perishable breakfast items
And that’s the last thing we stock. We keep fresh fruit that keeps for a while, like apples, bananas and oranges. Then we also put some baked goods out for every guest, something like muffins or donuts.
Before finishing our preparation for an upcoming guest, we’ll either take a quick trip to the grocery store and pick something up, or we’ll pull something out of the freezer to defrost (muffins keep really well in the freezer).
At our more expensive listing, we often stock eggs in the fridge. Eggs are super cheap and if you have a kitchen and cookware in your house, your guests can cook up a warm dish.
On a brisk morning, sometimes a muffin just doesn’t cut it. You need something to warm you up! Of course, coffee or tea can also come in handy for that.
Or Prepare Fresh
Not every host goes the route of a continental breakfast. Some actually offer to prepare something fresh for their guests.
When we opened our first Airbnb (in our basement), we actually offered to cook breakfast for our guests. We did this for at least three months and hosted at least twenty guests, and not a single one ever asked for the fresh breakfast.
That’s why we stopped offering it. Nobody seemed to want it.
Still, I think there are a lot of destinations that have great success preparing fresh breakfast. It seems to be somewhat dependent on where you’re located.
In fact, Kate and I always use Airbnb when we travel, and we’ve gotten fresh breakfast a few times. We took a trip to Havana, Cuba for my 30th birthday, and we had freshly prepared breakfast there every day.
For us, we didn’t know the area, in fact, we didn’t know the country and most of us didn’t even speak the language. Having the option to have our hosts prepare a meal for us every morning just simplified things for us. So we happily paid for the meals.
If your Airbnb is more of a destination, and you have lots of guests from around the world, you probably have a good situation to charge guests for freshly prepared meals.
You can also look at other listings in your area to see what they do, or just try offering a freshly prepared breakfast and see how it works out.
We Stock Other Consumables and Food
Technically, toilet paper and laundry detergent qualify as consumables, and we definitely keep plenty of those in stock. But we also tend to keep more than just breakfast foods available for our guests.
We don’t always keep cold beverages in the fridge, but we have done this on and off for several years.
The idea came from a place we stayed in Bali, Indonesia for our honeymoon. While we were there we were supposed to avoid the tap water, and when we arrived there was a mini fridge in our villa with bottled water. They charged something like a dollar for each bottle.
This place probably made $15-20 off us while we were there.
Then later, when we opened an Airbnb, we decided to do the same thing. We keep different things stocked at different times and charge different prices depending on the beverage. Here’s what we do:
- Bottled water – $1.00
- Soda can – $1.50
- Beer can – $2.00
- Beer bottle – $2.50
We’ve experimented with the beverages quite a bit. Sometimes we charge and sometimes we just keep bottled water and don’t charge.
Honestly, I haven’t noticed any difference in guest satisfaction. Guests like having the drinks available whether or not they have to pay for it. I think you can charge for your beverages without risking negative feedback.
Note: We accepted cash or Venmo for payment. Seemed to work pretty well. You could also do payments through the Airbnb app.
Condiments and seasonings
We also keep salt and pepper in the kitchen for all our listings. You might also keep some additional spices like garlic powder, seasoning salt, crushed red pepper or Parmesan cheese.
We have gotten good feedback for having those things available. And if you’re also stocking eggs, then you’re giving your guests a hot AND flavorful breakfast option.
Kate likes hot sauce on her eggs (weird, I know), so maybe hot sauce is another good seasoning to stock.
And don’t forget about ketchup, mustard and maybe barbecue sauce. You might have questions around how sanitary these are, so I wouldn’t blame you for avoiding them.
At our Airbnbs, we have a continental style breakfast with fruit, baked goods and non-perishable foods like oatmeal. We serve breakfast because a large percentage of our guests want it, and Airbnb lists breakfast as an amenity, which keeps us from being filtered out of searches.
We also stock beverages and various items for cooking like salt, pepper, butter, ketchup and mustard.
Just like all things for hosting, the most important thing is to be aware of your guests wants and needs, and do your best to provide those things for them.
Your guests will give you feedback and that can help you refine your strategy for offering food and consumables.