July 6th, 2009
07:27 PM GMT
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Tonight's rant on profitable moment came after my report on the renovation of the Savoy Hotel in London – not the sort of place where you will find the Buffet Breakfast when it opens its doors in 2010. It gave me a chance to re-open my one-man campaign against the abomination of this horrible morning ordeal.

Everyone likes a nice hotel – chocolates on your pillow – big fluffy towels…..these days are tough for the hotel industry- one wonders if the owners of the Savoy regret starting such an expensive project right at the start of the recession.

There is one thing I have a particular bug bear about – and that’s the hotel buffet breakfast. I hate ‘em. Miserable congealed eggs simmering next to hours old sausages. Yuch. And as for those ridiculous conveyor belt toasters. Please– we have sent a man to the moon. We have split the atom. So why, oh why, can’t an hotel have a toaster that gets it right. Don’t laugh. First time round and the breads comes out barely touched by the heat…so I send it around again – and out comes a burnt charred piece of bread. Is it really that difficult ? Has ANYONE ever made a decent piece of toast in those horrible machines ? I doubt it

Am I alone ? Join me – it’s my one man campaign. Quest against the Buffet Breakfast.



soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. timharper

    But the worst part, surely, is attempting to get a cup of coffee or tea out of anyone. Long after your eggs have congealed you can be still waiting for that elusive and precious hot beverage

    July 6, 2009 at 7:33 pm |
  2. Alan Welday

    I'm with you. Buffets are nasty. If labor is the issue, turn the stove around and let me cook my own eggs and meat. And for heavens sake, get a decent toaster.

    July 6, 2009 at 8:03 pm |
  3. treese

    ...ice cold pancakes, soggy waffles, half rotten room temperature fruit, miniscule butter and jam packets that can't be opened, rubbery scrambled eggs, burned/undercooked strips of greasy bacon, and children who just can't seem to get enough...

    July 6, 2009 at 8:29 pm |
  4. watson da silva

    Sounds like u never had a breakfast buffet in a nice hotel in Brazil
    I feel sorry for you
    go back to your muffins
    :-)

    July 6, 2009 at 8:45 pm |
  5. Manuel Vilhena

    Sorry Richard, but there are hotels with very nice buffet breakfasts.

    July 6, 2009 at 9:10 pm |
  6. Blond Rocker

    Cavalieri Hilton in Rome! Best buffet breakfast, lunch snacks, and pre and post dinner lovley cuisine in Exec Lounge!!! Yummy gourmet chocolates on pillow, and Hermes amenities in lovely loo!!!

    Best,
    BR,USA

    July 6, 2009 at 10:59 pm |
  7. Jennifer O

    You have a very good point!

    July 6, 2009 at 11:08 pm |
  8. Denton Chua

    Are you kidding? Haven't you been to the Philippines? One of the best things about staying at a hotel there is the buffet breakfast! It's practically a feast with freshly cooked omelettes, Filipino morning dishes, and - I'm sure you'll like this - a wonderful variety of breakfast muffins. :)

    July 6, 2009 at 11:28 pm |
  9. Yomi Maj

    I agree with on the breakfast buffet. Bad experience at my honeymoon in Las Palmas, Canary Islands. I guess it is much cheaper than ordering room service and getting the same dish at a higher price.

    July 7, 2009 at 12:38 am |
  10. fiona koh

    The simple things done well ! Couldn't agree with you more. But avoiding this abomination (like t plague in my case) leads to another battle........the preparation of poached eggs using vinegar when ordering a la carte!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! There's some truth in old adage that an establishment can b judged according t standards of egg dishes served ! Salmonella, Hep. notwithstanding LOL

    July 7, 2009 at 3:00 am |
  11. bg

    So in tough economic times we should go for the more expensive option? If we get rid of the Buffet Breakfast, should we get rid of the different hotel brands (and airplane food; I know they try hard, but really at 35,000 feet I don't feel like eating either the chicken or the pasta)? Lets keeps the Buffet Breakfast and increase Quest's expense budget so he can stay at a hotel with an al a carte menu.

    July 7, 2009 at 3:53 am |
  12. treese

    I forgot rock hard muffins. Gayle, you like muffins, don't you?

    July 7, 2009 at 4:10 am |
  13. John Von Achen

    I laughed so hard while reading, I actually knocked over my coffee. I agree Richard.

    And don't forget about the hash browns and potatoes that are so hard, by the time you get to them you could chip a tooth!

    And, sorry about the second and, if you get get to the buffet 15 minutes before it is scheduled to finish, what do you get . . . just bits!

    July 7, 2009 at 8:40 am |
  14. Roger

    Nothing else to complain about? Well, actually toast is usuallu not so well indeed out of those machines, agreed. But some hotels have an 'egg-station' that at least gives you free eggs and I have enjoyed a number of excellent buffets where they do not leave the sausages for hours... So the one man campaign will not become a very crowded one I guess...

    July 7, 2009 at 9:00 am |
  15. David

    I totally agree with Richard on the toaster...I imagine how many people have burnt their fingers trying to retreive their charred toast. It's amazing how many old toasters abound in some hotels.

    But the buffet rocks! If you're on a tight budget and need to stock on some lunch. Just have your breakfast late(if you can) and see you at dinner! I have seen people stack a few buffet items in their lunch packs(sorry serviettes) at some conferences ....Richard these people will take you down!

    July 7, 2009 at 9:14 am |
  16. David

    I totally agree with you Richard Quest (it's now a brand right?)on the toaster...I imagine how many people have burnt their fingers trying to retreive their charred toast. It's amazing how many old toasters abound in some hotels.

    But the buffet rocks! If you're on a tight budget and need to stock on some lunch. Just have your breakfast late(if you can) and see you at dinner! I have seen people stack a few buffet items in their lunch packs(sorry serviettes) at some conferences ....Richard these people will take you down!

    July 7, 2009 at 9:17 am |
  17. requiredreading

    Do they serve hotel breakfast at the G8 summit in Italy? Or in-room breakfast with a big silver bell on the freshly cooked eggs and chocolates (or whatever they would serve in Italy)? What is on the plate at the working lunch and dinner? And what is on the papers? And does Mr.Berlusconi have the moral backbone to head this meeting? (purposely leaving out nastier comments) ANd what will you have to tell us about it ...please not tonight, because I will have to miss out on the show

    July 7, 2009 at 9:27 am |
  18. florian

    tend to agree, but then again, not. most five star hotels do offer live cooking stations for breakfast these days. and as for toast, well, in europe there is this wonderful selection of dark bread which makes you easily forget that there is such a thing as toast! i never understood the concept of toast, apart for people who have lost their teeth. why put a soft white square thing into a heat machine to make it hard and dark? why not opt for the healthier, darker, crisp version (if available, agreed)? being european, this and the quality of drinking water from the tab are the things one can miss most when going abroad...

    July 7, 2009 at 10:31 am |
  19. Terry / Washington State

    Blond Rocker July 6th, 2009 2259 GMT

    Cavalieri Hilton in Rome! Best buffet breakfast, lunch snacks, and pre and post dinner lovley cuisine in Exec Lounge!!! Yummy gourmet chocolates on pillow, and Hermes amenities in lovely loo!!!

    Best,
    BR,USA

    Blond Rocker... can I be your guest. I think I've only had buffets at business traveler/family cheapee hotel/motels. At least send me a pillow Choc and Richard a #muffin?!

    July 7, 2009 at 12:30 pm |
  20. Jaco

    100% agreed on your comment. An additional point for another comment would be the use of elbows, fists, bottom movements from many people (some nationalities are absolute expertise on that) to get the congealed eggs simmering next to hours old sausages

    July 8, 2009 at 6:26 am |
  21. frank phiri

    Let's fight who invented hotel food! It gets horribier, horribier wherever you go!

    July 11, 2009 at 10:33 am |
  22. Björn Alenvik

    First of all i have to say that i agree with you Quest. But the toaster is not worst thing on the breakfast table, but the fat old grosy british bacon and re-fryed old potato, that have lied there from 06.00... And the black coffé is not often black, but amercan style black = not strong coffé. Today you have to go out the nearest coffe shop etc starbucks to get some good coffé. And why can't they serve some nice bread to the breakfast like they do in europe), i want brown/ray bread instead of the bright one. But i have to day that the yoghurt is often good. No more breakfast buffét! // Bjorn Sweden

    July 12, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  23. RJ Versteeg

    Sorry for your suffering, Richard! What kind of buffets have you been subjected to? There are some great ones around. At the same time, I've paid through the nose to either leave without breakfast or arrive late to a meeting waiting to be served. The last time was a month and a half ago in a very well know NY hotel. They got rid of the buffet and admitted that many were complaining. I asked for something simple, got some tasty croissants which I asked for next morning - and nearly got the morning after. I won't tell you what I got from that request, including "friendly" looks from the waiter. But, as we say 'round here, if you prefer ad hoc service, well, each monkey to his branch. I prefer the buffet branch.

    July 14, 2009 at 5:41 pm |
  24. toby

    A good breakfast is very important to start the day!
    At home I have cereal and fresh fruit for breakfast. I'm missing fresh fruit of the season at many breakfast buffets, even at some (chinese) five star hotels. I think a good hotel should also have decent bread for breakfast (right, Björn). Many don't, they serve some kind of sponge bread, or (as Richard described) toast that the machines cannot do right. At least there's usually tea and fruit juice .... though if you want green tea, often you'll have to bring your own tea bag.
    During a recent visit to Hong Kong I experienced a hotel breakfast buffet that was quite pricey but not entirely satisfying. The next days I decided not to take the optional hotel breakfast, and go to the starbucks across the street instead, which wasn't a memorable experience either, but at least cheap and quick.

    July 16, 2009 at 12:23 pm |

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