Oh dear! It seems that the bigwigs at Premier Inn aren’t aware of the philosophy that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.

Some dabbling seems to be spreading around their hotels when it comes to the Premier Inn “eat as much as you like” breakfast: whereas before it was all freshly cooked to order (or at least it seemed to be that way), now they appear to be rolling out a hot buffet style. I saw this for the first time recently at the Premier Inn, Norwich Central South where there was plenty of food laid out but invariably it wasn’t piping hot, the beans and the eggs were drying out under the hot lamps and it just looked generally not as fresh as one cooked to order. OK, if you ask, they’ll do you poached eggs and vegetarian sausages especially for you, but even so…

And as of this week – much to the chagrin of the chef! – the Premier Inn Wigan (M6, J25) is doing the same thing. I was told that they used to do this if there were 40+ guests staying, but today, for instance, there were only 15 people and of course the restaurant is open from 7am until 10.30am. The buffet therefore has to have sufficient food cooked and on display but of course it dries out or cools down and of course there’s the wasted food to consider.

I suppose the benefit is that a buffet is quicker for guests in a hurry, but for those of us who plan enough time to eat our breakfasts, the quality of the food suffers.

Oh and whilst I’m moaning, it would be nice if the Premier Inn published nutritional information for the food it serves. I was told that because the restaurants are operated by different groups, they couldn’t tell me, but that’s rubbish as the breakfast menu is the same at every location.

To end on a positive note for Premier Inn though: of the budget hotels, they’re by far the best. Travelodges are atrocious and appear to me to be generally tatty – I went to one where the leg of the bed was broken! – and the buffet breakfast I had at the Hilton Express in Norwich was simply dire.

Tagged: ,