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I need help... Continental Breakfast for 100...


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I'm helping plan and purchase a light Continental breakfast for a church conference. I'm planning for 100. Coffee will be provided. We're thinking light pastry, fruit, maybe some hard-boiled eggs, yogurt... Not fancy, minimal silverware, no seating.

 

Here's the thing - I HATE FOOD WASTE. I can't stand when we overplan and either have to throw stuff out or waste money. Yes, we donate what we can, but some of it HAS to be chucked.

 

So, what would you recommend we serve and how much of each to buy? I know there are some pros here and if hugely appreciate your help!!!

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I'm a little hung up on no seating...if there's no seating, you probably should just serve doughnuts or Danishes and coffee. People don't want to stand around with yogurt dishes or hard boiled eggs, and would also feel funny about walking back and forth to the serving table for another menu item, since they can't carry and handle yogurt, spoon, fruit, coffee, napkin...

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Yeah, with no seating, forget anything you need utensils for, so that pretty much leaves small pastries, and donuts.  A person can't hold a cup of coffee/tea (or a glass of water/juice) and a plate of food and use a utensil.  If you don't have to go peanut-free, could offer some bagels with peanut butter so people can have some protein.  I love hard boiled eggs but I doubt I would eat one standing up trying to hold on to everything at once.  

 

And, I think some food waste is inevitable for something like that.  You can't plan perfectly.  No one likes wasting food, but when planning for a large number and not knowing what people will or won't eat, it's going to happen.  

 

ETA: Bagels sliced and then cut in quarters, for ease of eating.    

 

Also, cheese cubes provide protein and are utensil-free.  Some hotels with "free" breakfast sometimes have that, and that's the basis of my breakfast!  :-)

Edited by marbel
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PLEASE think about nutrition as you plan this meal.  Pastry and donuts is in no way the kind of meal that will keep people at their best for the day's activities.  The purpose of this meal is to nourish people's bodies in preparation for the day ahead of them.  A breakfast of sugary carbs won't do that.  Consider things like mini-quiches, peanut butter (on mini whole-grain bagels, perhaps), fresh fruit, hardboiled eggs, small non-sugary muffins with nuts, yogurt parfaits with greek yogurt and fresh fruit and nuts, small breakfast sandwiches or burritos, (think ham and cheese on whole grain bread).  

 

ALSO - think about the various special diets  many people are on nowadays.  Can a person who is gluten-free find something to eat?  Someone who is dairy-free?  Someone who is vegetarian?   

Your budget should be spent on food that nourishes the conference attendee's bodies and helps them have the nutrients they need to be at their best for the conference.  It also sets a tone for the community of striving for healthy living/eating; a breakfast of donuts speaks more loudly than words and can undermine any efforts your church community is making towards encouraging members to make smart choices about their health.  If you focus on that, it will help to minimize waste.  

 

Many of the foods I suggested can be frozen for future use if they are leftover, like bagels, muffins, quiche, and small sandwiches, or you could simply add them to any other buffet-style meal that will be served the next day or two of the conference.

Edited by justasque
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If full sized pastry I plan 2 per participant or 8 mini muffins. These are also easily frozen for the next event, church meal, etc. Depending on budget some cheese cubes and fruit would be nice. Make the menu known so that if that doesn't work for a participant they can plan.

 

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Individually wrapped granola bars and similar could be donated easily to prevent wasted food, but then you have to think about the environmental impact of all the wrappers.

 

Bulk baked goods (muffins, bagels, etc) from Costco plus coffee and napkins. They also have fruit, but then you need plates and possibly forks if you get the precut melons. Yogurt requires spoons (and bowls unless you buy the individual serving cups.) instant oatmeal packets plus hot water, extra coffee cups, spoons.

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I did this for 50 years ago. No seating. I was told by the person who normally handled these conferences at our church to serve Bacon Butties which are a British thing, basically two pieces of bacon in a hamburger bun. We had some mini muffins and fruit on the side. I wonder if sausage muffins/biscuits might work easily. I kept the bacon which was cooked ahead warm in a crockpot ready to serve. The best thing about this kind of a meal is one each. Easy and obvious. Some didn’t eat which meant others had two. No leftovers really.

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Can you do build-your-own stuff - a bunch of biscuits or slider buns, a bunch of sausage, ham, or bacon, some cheese, etc, and then some bagels, fruit, cheese cubes, etc? Then folks who want hearty fixings can make it, low-carb folks can eat meat and cheese, and the 'I don't really eat breakfast' folks can snack? And, most of that can be saved or repurposed. Breakfast meats freeze well and can be used in breakfast casseroles, fruit can be used in smoothies, and breads can be frozen or donated. Biscuits and slider buns could be used at lunch or dinner.

Edited by ClemsonDana
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If you are wanting people to think of this as a 'breakfast' then you have to have some protein.

 

You can premake breakfast sandwiches or it is easy have a buffet style station set up for people to make their own.  Then only take one hand yoand are a popular item. 

 

English muffins or biscuits warmed in an oven, breakfast sausage patties, canadian bacon, slices of cheese. premade egg patties (look online for ideas on how to do this for a large group or buy pre-made.  

 

It is easy to premake yogurt parfaits and fruit cups.  You also have a bit of control of portion sizes this way.   Premeasured DIxie cups or a bowl with granola set next to the partaits  makes it easy for people to choose to add it or not and also makes it easier to prep the night ahead of time. 

 

Donuts/pastries/muffins are always a given at these types of events. 

 

Premade quiche is easy 

 

 

For quantify....I would do 100 sandwiches. 40 muffin pan quiches or 80 minis.. 60 total of fruit/yogurts. 60 sweets.

 

That way everyone can have 2 choices and some left overs for a third choice for a few or just a variety for choice. 

 

 

If you only do sweets....pastries/muffins/donuts...don't call it a continental breakfast, call it 'coffee/tea and pastries'.  Then buy 125 and cut the rest in half and put out for lunch time nibbles. 

 

 

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We do church conferences AND the fellowship thing with no seating on occasion.

 

You have to disregard individual preferences/diet/etc.  The point is not to offer a well-rounded nourishing breakfast, but to offer a time of fellowship.  Make it known ahead of time what kind of food will be offered and then its up to your guests to decide whether they should eat something at home or bring a protein bar with them.   Many of them might just come in for coffee/juice and skip eating in favor of what they already had at home.  This is perfectly okay!

 

For 100 people, standing only, I would do bagels and smear. 

 

75 bagels, cut in half, and provide an assortment of cream cheeses, jams, butter, peanut butter for people to put on their bagels.   For the cream cheese you have options.  If you can find single serve packets, those are fabulous and will provide virtually no waste, because extra can be put in the fridge and sent home with people later.  If you cannot, then you can purchase a dozen tubs of a few flavors- I would do a bunch of plain cream cheese, one variety that's fruit flavored, and one variety that's more savory.   Keep the cream cheese in a tray with some ice OR set them on a flat ice pack set in a 9x13 baking dish.    You might have food waste here from opened smear, but it will be minimal.  Leftover bagels and toppings can be wrapped up and sent home with workers.

 

If you want to add to it, you could provide hard boiled eggs, but they really must be peeled.  You could also devil them, but I kind of feel like having the peeled eggs will be enough to satisfy those who just want that hit of protein.  Make sure to have salt and pepper shakers for these as well.  I'm not sure how many eggs I would offer, to be honest.  Personally, I tend to over-prep on food, so I would probably plan 100 eggs for 100 people and then have 60 leftover at the end. You can buy pre-peeled eggs, but if you're going to be boiling and peeling them all, make sure you purchase them several weeks before the event- older eggs peel easier. 

 

If you do fruit, it should be on skewers since there is no seating.  Cantaloupe, Pineapple (fresh or canned) and Grapes thread onto skewers really quickly and can be done a day ahead of time without suffering a loss of quality.  Avoid berries or apples.  

 

 

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I would fall somewhere between trying to cater to preferences and just doing the easiest thing. I aim for some real food and with just a little tweaking you can include some food that will work for most people. I usually have some grain, some meat, and some egg or meat. 

 

 

Yogurt- some protein and can be a low fat option

fruit- good for dairy free, gluten free, veg*n, and low fat

pastries- because lots of people like them

some kind of bfast meat for those who not lower sugar/carbs 

 

 

 

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If I read, "light continental" I do not expect a protein and will plan accordingly before I go.

 

However, I think adding boiled eggs and maybe ind. packaged cheese (string cheese?)  would be nice, but not expected.

 

Costco muffins can be halved and those go over well.  

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...

 

If you only do sweets....pastries/muffins/donuts...don't call it a continental breakfast, call it 'coffee/tea and pastries'.  

 

This phrasing is excellent..  "Coffee/tea and pastries" is NOT the same thing as a proper breakfast.  Let people know.  (And recognize that some people will have to skip it in order to get a proper breakfast elsewhere, so don't use it as a place to transmit critical information.)

 

For yogurt, you can get the yogurt in the big tubs, and mix with frozen mixed berries (not strawberries, they are too big to defrost nicely) plus perhaps some nuts.  I then scoop into 4oz plastic containers - think ketchup containers but bigger.  Let it defrost overnight.  Yes, this will require a spoon, but it can easily be eaten while standing up.

 

In general, small is better than big.  Small bagels, mini-muffins, small cups of yogurt.   That way people can have a little bagel plus a little yogurt, or whatever mix suits their fancy.  And you minimize cleaning up muffins and bagels that are half-eaten.  

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This phrasing is excellent..  "Coffee/tea and pastries" is NOT the same thing as a proper breakfast.  Let people know.  (And recognize that some people will have to skip it in order to get a proper breakfast elsewhere, so don't use it as a place to transmit critical information.)

 

For yogurt, you can get the yogurt in the big tubs, and mix with frozen mixed berries (not strawberries, they are too big to defrost nicely) plus perhaps some nuts.  I then scoop into 4oz plastic containers - think ketchup containers but bigger.  Let it defrost overnight.  Yes, this will require a spoon, but it can easily be eaten while standing up.

 

In general, small is better than big.  Small bagels, mini-muffins, small cups of yogurt.   That way people can have a little bagel plus a little yogurt, or whatever mix suits their fancy.  And you minimize cleaning up muffins and bagels that are half-eaten.  

 

It depends on what you consider to be a "proper" breakfast.

 

The definition of continental is:

 

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/continental%20breakfast

 

I would never expect bacon, eggs, and chicken for a breakfast labeled as toast/rolls and coffee.

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I have had conferences with meals and no seating - it was awkward but doable as long as there were tables, bar height preferred, to set things on. I've had full oatmeal bars or yogurt parfait bars without seating along with egg sandwiches with the ability to add meat or cheese if desired.

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As far as food waste, are there people in your congregation who would appreciate the leftovers? When we plan church food items, we have people already planned for any leftovers and they are usually so grateful. Right now we have a widow with two children, an older couple with a very limited income, a family with lots of children and husband is out of work, etc. Someone who planned or was involved with the event just divides and brings whatever leftovers to whoever needs it. It is done quietly, usually by a deacon, so not to embarrass anyone and helps them a lot when funds are tight.

Edited by 4Kiddos
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I like the suggestion above of saying you are just serving coffee and pastries if that is what your serving. When I think breakfast a hunk of bread doesn't come to mind to me but I know it does for others (and this thread is a good example of how we interpret things differently).

It depends on what you consider to be a "proper" breakfast.

 

The definition of continental is:

 

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/continental%20breakfast

 

I would never expect bacon, eggs, and chicken for a breakfast labeled as toast/rolls and coffee.

Interesting. 

Whenever I've seen continental used it seems to mean a wide variety of breakfast foods.

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I like the suggestion above of saying you are just serving coffee and pastries if that is what your serving. When I think breakfast a hunk of bread doesn't come to mind to me but I know it does for others (and this thread is a good example of how we interpret things differently).

Interesting. 

Whenever I've seen continental used it seems to mean a wide variety of breakfast foods.

 

Really?  When I see continental I think cold breakfast items, usually toast/rolls/bagels, etc....and that is usually what is served.

 

When I see hot breakfast, I think eggs, bacon, etc...

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Really?  When I see continental I think cold breakfast items, usually toast/rolls/bagels, etc....and that is usually what is served.

 

When I see hot breakfast, I think eggs, bacon, etc...

 

The term seems to be up for interpretation.  I've been to many hotels that offered a "continental" breakfast.  Some offered packaged pastries and bagels while others offered a full buffet spread including eggs, bacon, and make your own waffles.  So I never really know what I'm gonna get!

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The term seems to be up for interpretation.  I've been to many hotels that offered a "continental" breakfast.  Some offered packaged pastries and bagels while others offered a full buffet spread including eggs, bacon, and make your own waffles.  So I never really know what I'm gonna get!

Ya, I was thinking of hotels, continental breakfasts seem to really vary but often from what I've seen it has been more than a pastry and coffee.

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Really?  When I see continental I think cold breakfast items, usually toast/rolls/bagels, etc....and that is usually what is served.

 

When I see hot breakfast, I think eggs, bacon, etc...

 

Yup, the idea is to distinguish the French (continental) breakfast of pastry and coffee from the English full breakfast. 

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The term seems to be up for interpretation.  I've been to many hotels that offered a "continental" breakfast.  Some offered packaged pastries and bagels while others offered a full buffet spread including eggs, bacon, and make your own waffles.  So I never really know what I'm gonna get!

 

Not according to Webster!  

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I imagine most people would not give it a second thought if bagels and pastries were served.  I would not either.  I'd realize under the circumstances it is ridiculous to expect anything else. 

 

Even the boiled egg thing.  I dunno.  I find eating whole boiled eggs just chomping off bites to be pretty terrible.  It's dry and ugh.  And I like hard boiled eggs.  I can't choke down something in that way though.  And it would strike me as a super duper odd thing to offer in that circumstance.  There's my coffee and whole hard boiled egg in hand?  No... don't do that.  LOL

 

Only we nut jobs here would bother thinking this hard about it. 

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It depends on what you consider to be a "proper" breakfast.

 

The definition of continental is:

 

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/continental%20breakfast

 

I would never expect bacon, eggs, and chicken for a breakfast labeled as toast/rolls and coffee.

 

"a light breakfast (as of rolls or toast and coffee)"

 

I wouldn't expect bacon, eggs, or chicken either.  "Continental" to me means "cold" rather than a cooked breakfast.  Nonetheless, toast and rolls is different than pastries and muffins.  Wheat toast with a bit of peanut butter or other protein spread, could be a decent meal.  Pastries and muffins usually ends up being basically sugar and white flour carbs.  Its not the kind of meal I'd serve to adults who are then expected to have a full day of planned events.

 

If it's just a fellowship opportunity with snacks, that's fine.  But if it's meant to be an actual breakfast, especially if the participants are staying in the hotel and will find it difficult to go out for a meal, then more nutritious options would nourish the participant's bodies for the work ahead of them, and set a tone of "our community takes health seriously".

Edited by justasque
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Really? When I see continental I think cold breakfast items, usually toast/rolls/bagels, etc....and that is usually what is served.

 

When I see hot breakfast, I think eggs, bacon, etc...

I agree. If I see continental I know it will be carbs (wheat) and there won’t be food for my family. So we would eat at home or bring food with us.
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I agree "Continental Breakfast" denotes a light breakfast.  Are these people coming from home?  If they are, I would definitely keep it on the light end.  I have seen some hotels doing bigger breakfast buffets.  We stayed at one just last weekend that said "free hot breakfast" on their website and their marketing material - I just double checked. 

 

I'd do water, coffee, bagels quartered, cream cheese and/or peanut butter, some easy to grab fruit (cubed melons, strawberries, grapes), and maybe something sweet like muffins or donuts as an option. 

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I was also going to say if you wanted to do something hot and a little more substantial, but pretty cheap is you could do crock pot oatmeal.  That could also work for vegans and possibly GF if you got the right oats.   You could that and some throw ins like cream, brown sugar, dried fruit, nuts

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A continental breakfast is a light, cold breakfast. Offer some pastries with coffee or tea and call it good. If people want to choose what they eat, they can eat at home. If people don't want to eat pastries, they can skip them. I skip offered food very frequently at similar get togethers, it isn't a big deal. Instead of calling it a continental breakfast, you can say something like: 

 

Doors open at 7:30 am. Hot beverages and pastry will be available. 

 

Unless people are willing to add another $5-10 to their event fee, or unless or your organization can pick up the expense, I don't think it's reasonable to plan a big breakfast with lots of options. 

 

Edited by TechWife
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Apparently hotels don't read Webster.

 

All specifically labeled "continental breakfasts" I have had at hotels were cold.  The only breakfasts at hotels I have been in that served hot breakfasts specified "hot breakfast."

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