Running a cosy bed & breakfast (B&B) would be a dream come true for many people, but there may be more to operating a successful B&B than you first thought. B&B owners need to be great researchers to analyse local pricing trends, have expert marketing skills to ensure they never have empty rooms, and be a master of all trades – from receptionist and cook to housekeeper, janitor, tour guide, and even a friend or confidante!
They need to know the best way to clean an oven, what licenses they need for entertainment, and how to fold those pesky fitted sheets. It’s a tall order, and if you think you can do it then maybe it’s time to look at these three aspects of running a bed & breakfast in the UK that are commonly overlooked. You might just surprise yourself…
If your B&B plans to serve alcohol in any way, either as sales or simply as a nice gesture, your business will require a premises licence. One member of staff will also be required to hold a personal licence, and they’ll be tested on alcohol sales law. Some sneaky B&B owners have tried to find a way around alcohol licensing by offering free drinks to their customers, but this is very much a grey area as it can be argued that the cost is included in the price of the room. Best to play it safe and get yourself a licence.
As a B&B, you’ll need to register as a food business. This means that you’ll be subject to regular inspections by your local Environmental Health Officer, who will confirm that your practices are safe and meet certain standards. You’ll need to demonstrate that you have a fool-proof system in place for keeping raw and cooked foods separate during preparation, and that you can keep your equipment clean. That’s why it’s important to know the best way to clean an oven, especially if you plan on catering to guests for more meals than just breakfast.
Knowing the best way to clean an oven and hob isn’t just for food hygiene purposes – it’s to mitigate fire risks too. Think of all the bacon grease that will build up from those Full English’s each morning, and how that can significantly increase the risk of fire. For any property that welcomes paying guests, you must comply with the Government’s Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005 and undertake regular fire risk assessments, making any changes deemed to be necessary. You’ll also want to protect your own investment and not see your dream B&B go up in smoke.
There’s no doubt that running a B&B in the UK is hard work, much harder than many people think. But it can still be a dream come true. Imagine being able to set your own working hours, imagine having a room full of hungry diners eager to try out that batch of home cured maple bacon that’s finally ready to be sliced, and imagine the thrill of those positive reviews posted by happy guests on the web. If you’re well prepared, running a B&B can be everything you hoped it would be – and maybe even more!