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I'm a Hotel Employee and the Free Breakfast Isn't as Fresh as You Think

You may want to think twice before eating hotel scrambled eggs.

If you've ever stayed at a hotel offering complimentary breakfast, you're probably well acquainted with the heavenly spread of pastries, fresh fruit, juice, cereal, and freshly brewed coffee that awaits guests in the hotel lobby every morning. Some lodging establishments even provide pancakes, eggs, bacon, and sausage—and, if you're lucky, a build-your-own waffle station, too.

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For those looking to get more bang for their buck, a hotel with complimentary breakfast can be a real money-saver—not to mention, a huge time convenience. On the other hand, you aren't exactly consuming the freshest ingredients, one hospitality insider warns.

In a TikTok message exchange with Daily Dot, a Louisiana hotel employee (@thebreakfasthotel) explained when and how these types of foods are typically prepared, and their answer may surprise you.

"Everything hot was once frozen, just it gets heated up the morning of," the TikToker said, in reference to the hotel's hot breakfast items such as pancakes and biscuits. While cut fruit is "relatively fresh," they note that "pancake mix is regular pancake mix" and that "pastries were refrigerated & just thawed out—never baked."

Biscuits and gravy happens to be one of this hotel's most popular breakfast foods among guests, but neither item is made on the premises, the hotel breakfast attendant revealed. In a tutorial posted on TikTok, they demonstrated how to prepare their famous biscuits and gravy: reheating pre-made biscuits and warming canned gravy.

Reheating frozen or refrigerated foods isn't a new concept, of course. In fact, it's used by major hotel chains nationwide to feed guests en masse. Some paying customers, however, argue that complimentary hotel breakfast can be worse than having no breakfast at all because of the stale ingredients—especially when eggs are involved.

According to All Recipes, hotel scrambled eggs tend to taste different than eggs you would make at home because most hotels use powdered eggs, which can result in a funny "texture, taste, and even color." While powdered eggs are more cost-effective, they're not necessarily fresh.

Hotels may use other powdered or liquid ingredients as opposed to fresh, which can also result in a funky smell or aftertaste. "The smell of complimentary breakfast alone is enough to make me gag," one person said on X.


Don't eat the free breakfast! #hotelhacks #nightaudit #hotel

♬ Playmate at a scary scene – Kohrogi

In a TikTok video, former hotel employee Brandi Augustus warned that hotel waffle batter is never fresh either. If your waffle tastes sour or bitter, it's could be because the batter has been sitting out on the counter for some time.

Augustus also claimed that the batter containers aren't always cleaned or replaced with fresh containers, so there's a chance that an employee just poured fresh batter on top of the old mixture.

If you enjoy hotel breakfast, you should keep enjoying it—but if you're looking for something fresh, you may be better off stepping outside instead.

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Emily Weaver
Emily is a NYC-based freelance entertainment and lifestyle writer — though, she’ll never pass up the opportunity to talk about women’s health and sports (she thrives during the Olympics). Read more
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