The term "Continental breakfast" came about as a result of Europeans visiting America and wanting a lighter morning meal than was traditionally offered in the United States. Continental refers to small meals, which are not considered standard breakfast options.
The small morning meal consisted of baked goods, pastries, coffee or other beverages. This type of meal was lighter and not comprised of the traditional breakfast foods like eggs and meat.
The Continental breakfast did not gain popularity in the United States until the early 20th century. Today, this type of breakfast may also consist of boxed cereals, oatmeal, fresh fruit and yogurt.
Numerous hotels offer a Continental breakfast to their guests.