How We Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Buffet

Come and get it!

A few months ago, we switched to a breakfast buffet to better serve guests’ needs and to solve a number of problems, particularly staffing. Everybody knows that labor shortages are hitting restaurants and hotels particularly hard during this post-Covid era. Swift House Inn is no exception, so we put our minds to finding solutions that retain the same high quality food people expect from us within the realities of the staffing situation.

We think we’ve hit the sweet spot between carefully prepared, locally sourced breakfast favorites with the convenience and flexibility of a buffet.

Here’s why we did it.

two women at breakfast
Middlebury College students enjoy breakfast at Swift House Inn.

No. 1 For a more flexible breakfast experience.

By switching to a buffet, Swift House Inn is able to cut down on wait times, rigid reservation times, and all around inconvenience for guests who want to eat on their own schedule and are looking to get in and out quickly. After all, a great breakfast is the perfect way to get a busy day started.

No. 2 For the delicious food.

Our breakfast chef prepares French toast out of the finest artisanal breads called ‘batards.’ These are sliced diagonally and dipped in an eggy batter flavored with bourbon and vanilla and then browned to perfection. Then on pancake days, we switch off from the sweet and caramelized banana pancakes to the light and fluffy buttermilk pancakes bursting with hot blueberries in addition to plain buttermilk pancakes. There are always a variety of breakfast meats to choose from, including thick, smoky Vermont ham, maple pork sausage, and ham. Of course, everything comes with your own pitcher of local maple syrup.

No. 3 For the frittatas and more.

The daily frittatas are a work of art, combining local cheeses such as goat cheese or gruyere with local vine ripened vegetables. If you don’t see anything you don’t like on the buffet or have food allergies or concerns, feel free to order the egg dish of your choice. We can also make oatmeal, toast, or any of the usual breakfast staples to order.

An assortment of breakfast pastries.

No. 4 For the pastries and fruit.

To make breakfast even better, we expanded our daily baked offerings when we hired the Cordon Bleu-trained master of the pastry arts Chef Catharine who makes crumbly tender blueberry scones, light and airy croissants filled with gooey chocolate, and an assortment of muffins and cookies. If you’re watching your weight, there’s also Green Mountain yogurt, our famous inn-made vegan granola, and fresh-cut fruit.

bag of granola
People come far and wide for our famous granola. It’s included in our breakfast buffet.

No. 5 To solve staffing challenges.

Many restaurants are facing severe staffing shortages. Made-to-order la carte food service with beautifully garnishes plates are a treat, but require more staff than the current labor market allows. We feel that our buffet model combines the best of both worlds: convenience and high quality food. Thank you for your patience!

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Barbara Burns says

Great idea sounds wonderful


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