By Ann Johnson
Providing a complimentary continental breakfast for hotel guests is a growing trend. For some this customer perk is a necessity to draw in business. Gone are the days when guests would wake up early and seek out the closest diner; now they expect convenience.
There’s no specific criterion for what constitutes a continental breakfast. They can range from pre-packaged granola bars to scrambled eggs and biscuits with gravy. Many hotel brands dictate the type of food items that must be offered and the display equipment that must be utilized in order to provide a consistent experience for guests and maintain brand image.
The Division of Hotels and Restaurants considers a continental breakfast a restaurant and requires a separate food service license. There is an exception – if all the foods and beverages (except coffee and bag-in-box type dispensed beverages) offered to customers are individually pre-packaged, a separate public food service license is not required.
So, what exactly does “individually pre-packaged” mean? It’s pretty simple. Individual means one serving or intended for service to one person. Pre-packaged means bottled, canned, cartoned, or equivalent (plastic wrap and clam-shell containers are not included). Items like bananas, oranges, and unshelled nuts are considered naturally pre-packaged.