10 Must Have Gadgets For Bed And Breakfast OwnersApr 03, 2023
One post that is sure to get a lot of comments in the Facebook Group for Past Course Attendees, is the one that asks for recommendations on the best gadgets to use for the B&B. Everyone has their favourite!
And, as this blog post has proved very popular, I decided it was time for a 2023 update. I've updated the link to some newer versions and also added a few more of my new favourites.
I wish my Bed and Breakfast network had existed 19 years ago when I set up my own Bed and Breakfast, as it would have saved me an awful lot of money. It's painful to think of the money I've spent on gadgets over the years, either to have them sit in cupboards unused or to end up at the rubbish tip.
If you've been following me for any length of time, you'll know I hate cleaning and I love knitting. So most of the items I've bought have been about minimising the time I actually have to work and maximising the time I can sit and knit!
Here are my favourites.....
Please note that this blog contains some affiliate links through to AMAZON. If you buy via this link I get a small percentage of the sale, at no extra cost to you, which I use to help pay for the software that hosts this blog :-)
By the way, as part of the online course I include a 27 page room design checklist you can download, which covers all of the items you'll need in your B&B bedrooms and bathrooms
1. Corded Bagless Vacuum Cleaner
I have been through many vacuum cleaners; Dyson, Henrys, Panasonic and more, but none beats the Miele Cat and Dog.
I owned the bagged versions for years but swapped last year to the bagless one. I do feel a certain satisfaction when I see the canister filling with dust and dog hair.
It has the advantage that you're not having to buy a lot of bags - I would get through at least one bag a week at the B&B. And the filter is washable.
It's a bit heavier than the bagged one. If your B&B is over several storeys, and budget allows, I'd recommend you get one per floor.
Click image for more details.
2. Steam Cleaner
Like vacuum cleaners, I've owned many steam cleaners over the years. Most are now in sitting in a steam cleaner graveyard somewhere. However, with the need for extra cleaning due to COVID, a steam cleaner became an essential, especially if you want to avoid using many chemicals.
Whilst there are environmentally friendly cleaning products for cleaning hard surfaces, I've yet to find any that will sanitise soft furnishings - think sofas, cushions, bed bases - that don't contain nasty chemicals. One chemical to watch out for is Benzalkonium Chloride. It's relatively safe at low doses but if a cat or dog gets a lot of it on them and then they groom themselves it is poisonous.
I do have a VAX steam mop which converts to a handheld. It's fine but I find it quite heavy when I need to lift it up to clean above shoulder height ( for curtains ) and it needs refilling often.
I did a bit of research and found the DUPRAY NEAT steam cleaner. I'm a bit more excited about this than I should be really. And I'm not alone, it's gaining a bit of a fan club in our Facebook Group!
It has a long cord - I can clean a whole B&B room from one plug socket. And a long wand - which means you clean high up without reaching up or hurting your arms and at floor level - grout on floors etc - without bending down. It holds a litre of water and has about 45 minutes of cleaning time.
It is more expensive than many other steam cleaners, but I think it is worth the extra expense for time saved.
Click the picture for more details
3. Bread Machine
After my B&B course was first reviewed in the Guardian, a lady emailed me a long email all about B&B breakfasts. She said she had stayed at some lovely B&Bs that served amazing breakfasts and all of them had been let down by their toast! She was very keen that going forward I should tell every B&B owner that toast was a very important element of breakfast and that they should not skimp on the quality of their bread.
Bread making is much more popular that it used to be - as anyone who was trying to buy yeast in lockdown will know - and artisan breads and sourdoughs abound! I've been down the sourdough route and killed more starters, through neglect, than I care to remember.
If you have time to make your bread from scratch, then please do. Or you may be lucky enough to live near an artisan baker so you can buy it in.
Unfortunately for me, the nearest amazing baker is a 16 mile round trip away. And I just found I ran out of time and energy to make my own sourdough with everything else that needs doing. I'm all for making my life as easy as possible! There's knitting to be done!
Instead, I make both granary and white dough in the bread machine. I never use it to bake the bread, but instead I shape the bread into 3 loaves, leave to prove overnight ( or more ) in the fridge and bake in the oven in the morning. You fill the B&B with the smell of fresh baked bread, get more digestible bread and it's cheap even with expensive bread flour.
My bread is probably the most commented item on my breakfast menu.
Here is my favorite bread recipe using the machine >> How to enjoy freshly baked bread every morning
For me, there is no other bread machine than the Panasonic. I've owned 2 machines in 16 years and they are used at least once a day.
Click on the image for more details
4. Citrus Juicer
I've always served freshly squeezed orange juice at the B&B. I'm not suggesting everyone does this. It depends on your market really and there are some excellent ready squeezed alternatives. But my guests do quote it as one of the "little extras" that they really appreciate.
I've looked at more expensive juicers over the years, but I keep coming back to this cheap electric one.
Click on the image for more details
5. Mini Chopper
Another transformative kitchen gadget - one of the cheapest on my list - is the Kenwood mini chopper, recommended by Delia Smith.
It has transformed the way I make hollandaise - sooo much better than using a liquidiser - and is also great for making crushed avocado and chopping herbs.
Important note - if you want to make hollandaise sauce you will need to make sure you get the version with a lid with a feeder hole. This is so you can slowly drizzle the lemon/vinegar and melted butter through.
Check out my blog post on how to make hollandaise here >> Hollandaise sauce without the tears
Homemade smoothies were always a hit on my B&B menu, but it was always a bit of a faff having to make them in the large blender, which then had to be cleaned.
The Nutribullet makes it much easier to make smaller quantities, is easier to clean and is also great for mixes like Yorkshire pudding or pancakes, when you don't want to get the big mixer out.
Check out this blog post for my current favourite breakfast, made daily in my Nutribullet, High Protein Raspberry Shake
7. Ninja Foodi MAX Multi Cooker
Air fryers cook food more quickly and use about 50% less energy than a standard electric oven and grill. They don’t need the long preheating time that electric grills do, and are ideal for smaller bed and breakfasts.
I can cook a full English for 2 people in one ( except the eggs ) in about 10-12 minutes.
I love my Ninja 9 in 1. I use the pressure cooker function a lot to cook stews, curries etc in the autumn and winter. It’s a significant money and time saver if you’re a fan of slow cooked food!
8. Brita Filter Bottle
Most of us are trying to be more sustainable and cut out single use plastic and glass, but it can be difficult balancing this with running a luxury bed and breakfast.
I always supplied bottles of mineral water for my guests, then switched to providing a refillable bottle with water from the tap in the guest fridge.
Our unfiltered water from the tap, whilst being safe to drink, tastes pretty bleurgh. So I would fill it from our filtered water dispenser on the fridge.
This was OK provided the guests only wanted one bottle of water and I was having to refill it daily.
On holiday recently, they provided one of these Brita Filter Bottles. They're smaller enough to fit in a room fridge and can be refilled from by the guests, saving you time!
9. Electric Sodastream
I've always been a fan of sparkling water over still and this was always another problem when providing guests with water. We had a soda stream in the past but the water just didn't seem to keep its fizziness for long enough.
Our latest SodaStream does the job far more efficiently.
You can even buy extra dishwasher safe glass bottles so that you can leave bottles of sparkling water in the guest room fridges.
10. De'Longhi Coffee Grinder
I've always believed that one of the keys to running a successful bed and breakfast is getting the basics right. Like really good freshly roast coffee.
During lockdown we bought a coffee bean grinder, and there is something very satisfying about drinking freshly ground coffee.
This grinder has the advantage that you can preset the amount it grinds, so you're not wasting any coffee. It also stores a lot of beans, so you don't need to refill it every time. Just press the button and go.
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