What does a “continental breakfast” consist of in the US?

Before I share the story behind it (to make sure I’m not completely off base), what do you consider to be reasonable for a continental breakfast at a major hotel chain in the US? Juice? Coffee? Toast? Pastries? Cereal? Yogurt? Fruit? One or two of those? Something totally different?

I’m curious about this one…

Comments

  1. JD says

    I would expect what you described, and depending on the chain/location it would go from a cheap version of those to something that actually looks fresh and doesn’t taste like s***.

  2. says

    When I think continental breakfast – it’s synonymous with a “cold” breakfast.

    Juice, milk, coffee, tea. Breakfast pastries, bagel, toast.

    I don’t usually think fruit and/or yogurt when I think continental breakfast, but you’re lucky if you get it.

  3. jay says

    coffee and juice
    some sort of bread product (bagels or what not)
    some sort of fruit (even apples and bananas)

  4. yaychemistry says

    well… at a hojo express I stayed at last April the continental breakfast consisted of stale coffee and prepackaged little debbie muffins that were past their expiration date. To their credit, it was also a super-cheap room so I wasn’t really expecting much.

    If it were a “full-service” hotel, I would expect what others are saying: bagel/muffin/toast, fruit, coffee and juice. Maybe milk and cereal.

  5. crimson12 says

    Hm, I’d say:
    -coffee/tea
    -juice
    -muffins/pastries/donuts
    -fruit (maybe)
    -bagels (maybe)
    -yogurt (maybe)
    -cereal/granola (maybe)

    At a minimum, coffee or tea, usually juice, and some sort of muffin/pastry.

  6. bookernyc says

    I really, really hope you’re talking about the Westin SFO Airport. Last time I stayed there, the continental breakfast off room service cost around $25 and came with juice, coffee, and a piece of toast. I kid you not.

  7. Adam K. says

    In the early 90s I would have said cheap breakfast sausage, scrambled eggs, pastries, toast/english muffins with peanut butter and cream cheese options, maybe some cereal (either in cylinders or little boxes) and poptarts, definitely fresh whole fruit, and juice and coffee.

    Today, coffee, juice, toast, at least 2 more carbs (either pastries, bagels, muffins, or cereal) and hopefully fruit. Gone are the peanut butter, the cream cheese, the eggs, the sausage, and often the cereal. It seems that hotels today want absolutely no dishes to do whatsoever.

  8. David says

    when I used to work for Hilton as a room service waiter, continental breakfast consist of:
    coffee (a small pot for 1)
    juice (orange, cranberry, apple)
    pastry (choice of bagel with cream cheese or 2 slices of toast with butter or 1 croissant or 1 good size danish or 2 small danish).
    no more no less.

  9. says

    If you’re lucky, you get the waffle machine. I like it when they have fruit and cereal, bagels or pastries or toast, and the obligatory drinks.

  10. SCL says

    A coffee and croissant is the classic continental breakfast. Everything else could be considered extra. So give the whining a rest already.

  11. ucipass says

    Whining LOL.
    You know it’s going to be either really good or really bad….

    My vote. coffee, tea, bread pastries and jam at minimum.

  12. says

    Coffee/tea for sure.
    At least 2 or 3 of the following: toast, bagel, pastry, muffin, cereal.
    Juice and/or milk.
    More often than not, I find all three of my favorites: yogurt, granola, and fruit.

  13. Oscar says

    If its a good hotel: Eggs, Juice, Coffe, Ham, Cereal, Pastries and Fruit.
    But I at least expect coffe, juice, cereal and some pastries and something more

  14. A. S. says

    A “true” continental breakfast is what you’ll find in Europe (“the continent”). A US continental breakfast is, by definition, an oxymoron.

    The continental breakfast has toast, jam, butter, orange juice, and tea/coffee/hot chocolate (choose one only).

    Definitely no eggs (or anything hot, other than the beverage). Some people here are way off…

    But, like I said, your question is a trick question since there’s no such thing as a US continental breakfast. Americans like their hot food in the morning (eggs, sausages, cereal, etc.), so therefore there is no right answer and whatever you were served really depends on how they (and only they) interpret it.

  15. LIH Prem says

    For me the standard is the SFO Hyatt (and btw, they finally removed that tacky 2 bottle limit sign from the beverage fridge .. several months ago.)

    But I would say it includes hot beverage, juice, toast w/butter and jelly/jams or some other bread item or pastry and that’s the bare minimum. Nicer onces include more, like fresh fruit, cereal, yogurt.

    @A.S. very funny.

    -David

  16. Jorge says

    Well, it is usually pastries or toast, preserves, butter, oj, and coffee. Though in some places they include cold cuts, cheese and hard boiled eggs.
    So, it now sort of depends on the hotel now…. But the idea was that in the old times in Europe no cook was available as to prepare a hot b.fast, and hotels offered a cold b.fast which could be served by the service staff with minimal effort and not having to call in the cooks.

  17. TonySCV says

    I wish they’d just nut up and change the name of “continental breakfast” to “cold shit” and call it a day.

  18. says

    Croissant/muffins, some kind of juice (likely packaged in sealed serving sizes), little cartons of milk and small boxes of cereal (which go straight into my purse).
    Anything else (bananas, apples, etc) I consider a bonus.

  19. says

    Continental breakfast: I think of an insufficient breakfast. :) I really like protein and something warm (ok basically I like freshly cooked eggs), however I supposed I’d take a continental breakfast over nothing.

  20. Easy Victor says

    Toast/Bagel/English muffin
    Coffee
    Juice
    Milk
    Cereal
    Possibly a piece of fruit or some yogurt.

  21. JetsettingEric says

    At the last few hiltons that offered a continental breakfast.. the ones worth remembering had:
    * smoked salmon
    * hard boiled eggs (served cold)
    * cold cuts
    plus the usual toast/coffee/fruit etc.

    I remember in college, staying in hostels in germany and austria – and the typical breakfast was:

    cereal (not the american kind, more like granola)
    cold cuts
    cheese
    toast
    jam/butter
    coffee
    juice

    in a serve yourself buffet style

  22. ngd says

    I’d expect some minimal amount of food and coffee. The food part is wildly inconsistent, in terms of quality, offerings, and amount.

    Basically, don’t expect much, and maybe you’ll be elated.

  23. PanAm says

    I think you’re asking what a common definition of “continental b-fast” is, rather than our wish lists. I agree with mvbruner that it’s

    “Minimum: Coffee, bagel/toast, yogurt, pastry, juice selection”

    There may be more or less variety within those categories (maybe 2 flavors of yogurt for example) but that seems to be a good general standard for a minimum. Anything hot (besides coffee/tea) and it’s no longer a Continental Breakfast but….I don’t know, something else!!

  24. wxguy says

    The Holiday Inn on W57th Street in NYC has always offered a coupon for continental breakfast to its Platinum members for each day of their stay. It means juice, toast or bagel, and coffee/tea.

  25. says

    At our historic hotel we offer the following for continental breakfast: bagels, muffins, danish, cereal, oatmeal, coffee, tea, hot cocoa, oj, cream cheese, butter, jelly, yoghurt, bananas and oranges. Unfortunately a lot of people still believe this is not enough selection for a continental breakfast.

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