Everyone knows that food is one of the best parts of a vacation, and when you’re hosting an Airbnb, you may wonder if you have to provide it for your guests.
Since the “BNB” in Airbnb means “bed and breakfast,” are you required to provide a meal for your guests? Actually, despite what the name implies, you are not obligated to do so. Breakfast, or any food for that matter, is an amenity.
As a host, you have the option to “check that box” or leave it empty. However, providing food of some kind can be a great way to draw renters to your Airbnb and get positive reviews.
As a short-term rental host, you may choose to provide some type of Airbnb food for your guests. Your goal is to make the guests feel at home in your rental and to get good reviews.
So providing food choices and adding some kitchen items that guests feel they “just can’t live without” could make a huge difference in keeping your Airbnb booked.
Check Out This Rental Recon Article: Airbnb Essentials: 75+ Items Every Host Should Have For Guests
Airbnb Food Options For Guests
Dry Foods for Airbnb Guests:
You can go easy on yourself and provide food that will last. No one wants to waste money on perishable items that guests may not eat, so items such as breakfast bars, dry cereals, pre-packaged muffins, candy, chips, etc. may be a better choice. Or possibly frozen foods that are easily microwavable, such as breakfast sandwiches.
Make sure you provide some basics (plates, napkins, and cups) so that guests can enjoy the limited Airbnb food that you’ve provided. Set these options out on the table or counter with a welcome note or a rental guest-book.
Also, consider providing your guests with a list and description of local, popular restaurants that they can enjoy. Check out our article on Airbnb guidebooks.
Easy-To-Cook Airbnb Foods:
Let’s say you’ve got a microwave and a small refrigerator in your Airbnb. You could provide ready-to-cook options like organic instant oatmeal or microwaveable mac and cheese.
Remember, you are not obligated to provide these items, but a guest might appreciate being able to throw together a quick snack after a long day of sightseeing or sitting through business meetings.
Guests can purchase their own treats and drinks as well and store them in your mini-kitchen. This way, the guest can enjoy options that you’ve provided and some of their own favorites.
Airbnb Home Cooked Meals
If cooking is your thing, you can choose to offer your guests a full meal. Be sure to communicate with your guests ahead of their arrival to ask if their party has any food allergies, are vegetarian or vegan.
As the host, you could charge your guest for this added service, or you could include it in the overall price of the rental.
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If you decide to include the cost, it’ll be easier for you since some guests might not take you up on your offer to provide a meal.
One full, home-cooked meal could really make an impression on your guests. Little touches like using local specialties, including vegetables/ fruits from your local farmers market or your garden can go a long way to impress your guests.
Last year, I took a trip to Utah, and upon booking my Airbnb rental (a two-bedroom basement apartment with a limited kitchen), I received a message from the host offering me a full breakfast anytime between 7 and 10 am.
As I scrolled through the host’s reviews, I noticed that almost every renter had commented on how wonderful it was to have a home-cooked meal presented to them on the first morning of their stay.
After my stay, I made sure to mention this perk in my positive review as well.
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If You Have A Limited Kitchen, Avoid Confusion By Clarifying What You Have To Offer…
Over-communication is good.
- Let your guests know exactly what appliances you have and which ones you don’t. My last trip to an Airbnb was a disaster because I purchased almost $250 worth of groceries, arrived at the rental, and found out they only had an outdoor grill. No microwave, stove, or oven! I didn’t expect my host to provide food for me, but I wished my host had communicated with me regarding the lack of kitchen appliances.
- Let your guests know what food items/condiments you’ve got in the cabinets of your rental. Do you have salt, pepper, coffee, powdered creamer, olive oil? Sometimes, guests will need to go grocery shopping before checking in, and when they can save money because of your communication, they’ll be grateful!
- Let your guests know what other kitchen items to expect at your rental. If you’ve got a coffee maker (with filters!), let your guest know. How about pots and pans and a cast-iron skillet? Be sure to clarify that on your listing. If you’ve got silverware and corkscrews and corn-on-the-cob holders and plates and glasses and coffee mugs, let them know. You may feel like you’re providing too much detail, but too much detail is just the right amount.
Airbnb Guest Cooking
Many Airbnb guests will want to save money by shopping and cooking for themselves. If you’ve got a full kitchen (stove, oven, refrigerator, microwave), make sure that your guests have all of the necessary cooking supplies.
Like I said above, there is nothing worse than spending tons of money on food and struggling to cook it. Check out our 35+ Airbnb Essentials article for the must-haves!
Airbnb Food in Fridge
So what kind of food should you leave in your fridge? Our recommendation is to only provide one water bottle for each guest (for the first night).
Leave very minimal condiments in the fridge door, such as ketchup, mustard, soy sauce, etc. Other than those items, we recommend the fridge and freezer be empty and clean.
Take a picture of the inside of your fridge and post it to your listing as this will make guests aware of what you typically have available.
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Airbnb Leftover Food
If previous guests leave food items, be very selective which items are left for the next guest. We recommend all opened items should be discarded. Keep leftover dried goods as appropriate, but make sure your cabinets have ample room for the guests’ food items.
If you plan to provide extra food items for guests, leave a very clear note in the kitchen telling guests that all food is available for guest use, and guests will not be charged extra.
If no note is provided by the host, there may be confusion as to what the guest can or can’t use.
Airbnb Food Restrictions To Consider
Your guests may have dietary restrictions. If you are providing food of any kind, be sure to consider allergies or other diet restrictions by providing an assortment of items tailored for your guest.
If you want to go the extra mile, you could even ask your guests if they have any diet restrictions before they arrive. This extra courtesy really shows guests that you care about their comfort and safety above all.
How Can I Go Above and Beyond for My Guest Without Providing Cooked Meals?
Guests like the little touches. Last Christmas, I stayed at an Airbnb in Lancaster, PA. It was a sweet, little cottage tucked into the woods just past an old covered bridge.
Upon stepping into the living room, I could tell that the host had put her heart into every little touch. On the kitchen counter were four homemade moon pies- one for each of my family members- accompanied by a note of welcome.
Moon pies are a staple in Lancaster County, and I felt like I was enjoying not only a sweet treat but also a little bit of local culture.
What makes your area special? Are there any local treats or customs that you could include in your kitchen? If you live in an area with a popular, must-try treat, try to include it for your guests.
Now if you can’t think of a local treat to provide, you could base your welcoming treat on the season.
If it’s winter, you could provide hot chocolate packets with mugs.
If it’s summer, you could include some local harvest (like fresh corn or berries). Your guest will appreciate the extra care and kindness.
If I Have a Kitchen in My Airbnb, What Items/Gadgets Does My Guest Expect Me to Have on Hand?
Check your rental’s kitchen to make sure these commonly used items are available for your guests.
- coffee maker
- can opener
- cutting board
- wooden spoons
- sharp knife
- hand mixer
- large and small pots
- large and small pans
Check out my recommended kitchen essentials HERE.
Whether you provide a warm, home-cooked meal or decide to keep it simple, you will need to communicate clearly with your guests about their Airbnb food options.
Avoiding confusion allows for your guests to focus on their main goal: enjoying their stay at your Airbnb!
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