It seems a bit of a cruel joke when on holiday. You finally get away from the office with your loved one, enjoy a romantic evening, and then sleep in for the first time in months. Ensconced in a pile of cozy pillows you imagine starting your day together with pancakes and leisurely cups of coffee. You snake your arm out from underneath the duvet and inch the clock toward you. 10:23am. You groan, remembering that the hotel said breakfast ended at 10am.

Oftentimes a lazy breakfast is just what you want when staying at a hotel for vacation, but the hotel doesn’t always agree on the time you’d like to keep it open until because hotels often cater to business travelers as well. At some properties where a buffet is available, it is not uncommon to see staff stop refilling the bowls and clearing items away more than half an hour before it closes.

So why isn’t breakfast open until at least 11am at all hotels?

Here are some of the reasons behind the earlier breakfast buffet end time –

1. A lot of work goes into keeping breakfast buffet items fresh, and some items cannot (or should not) just sit there for hours on end. Think eggs, juice, cut fruits. Hotels usually have a ton of warming containers and refrigerated cases to help with this, but it also means they have to have extra stock to keep items replenished.

2. Breakfast can be a messy ordeal, with lots of condiments to clean up like individual jam containers, pats of butter, multiple glasses and dishes for juices, tea, coffee, oatmeal, milk, etc. If breakfast starts at 6am and ends at 10am, that’s a full 6 hours for the staff to work (including the hour of prep and hour of clean up afterwards) plus they need an hour for lunch and breaks to round out their day. If breakfast runs until 11am, it lengthens their workday or requires extra staff.

3. The hotel has to get all those bread crumbs cleaned up and linen refreshed in time for the lunch service. Since hotels often have business traveler guests needing breakfast at an early hour before heading out to meetings, they also need to have lunch available at a reasonable hour. If breakfast is still open at 11am that means the hotel won’t be able to offer lunch starting early unless it is in a different restaurant, thus losing out on revenue.

4. With standard check-out around noon, if breakfast always went until 11am people would be tempted to linger, then return back to their room to pack up. It might take them longer to get their items together and then push the check out time a little, affecting the travelers arriving early.

How can you get around the early breakfast end time?

Hotels that have grab and go items rather than a full buffet don’t have the same constraints as properties needing the extensive cleanup, so you may find the hours extended.

Grab and go breakfast

Easy grab and go breakfast

Another option is to stay at a luxury hotel. Many luxury properties offer breakfast until 11am at least on weekends as a nicety and nod to traveler preferences.

Park Hyatt Tokyo Breakfast

Park Hyatt Tokyo Breakfast

One of the best options is to order room service.

Room Service Breakfast at InterContinental Monterey

Room Service Breakfast at InterContinental The Clement Monterey

Even if you can’t drag yourself downstairs in time before breakfast ends, as long as you can make the call a minute or two in advance you can still enjoy a leisurely late breakfast…in bed, which is perhaps the most enjoyable way of all.

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