...places like the Richwood in places like Torbay tend to deal with large, boisterous groups, e.g. hen parties, so I would guess that the pre-ordering of breakfast and the damages cost is partly to cover themselves and make a little easier when dealing with such volumes of guests.
Yes. While afaIaa, most b&bs don't take a damage deposit, it is quite normal in self-catering rental properties and the owner's possession of a dd often focuses the minds of less than careful guests who might customarily think vomiting across bedding and furniture is just a big joke with no financial repercussions.
If I were in the market of hen and stag parties (never never never
would I be) then I don't think taking a dd is wrong. However, as I think someone observed upthread, marks on pillowcases and walls (cases knocking into them, etc) are to be expected and are not something one would every dream of bringing to a guest's notice far less trying to charge them for. Even a glass of wine over bedding is bloody annoying but simply an accident - often caused because someone is in an unfamiliar environment and lack the automatic spatial awareness that they'd have in their own homes.
You can't charge people for that... you just sympathise with their accident... and become an expert on stain removal.
I don't get why people are so anti ordering an evening meal in advance. If you want to eat at a specific restaurant - a small restaurant where the owner cooks all the food themselves from scratch - then (sometimes) part of the deal is ordering (and even paying) in advance. If you don't want to commit yourself by 2pm that's fine - there are plenty of alternatives, I'm sure - but don't make your preferences the owner's "fault" for a commercial and practical inability to satisfy them.
Many b&bs - chambres d'hôtes in France offer evening meals (table d'hôte - table of the host) to guests. Here, the menu is agreed in advance - often several weeks in advance and for meals cooked on night of arrival, they are frequently paid for in advance.
Then, once guests are in situ, they decide each morning if they want to eat in that night, what they want to eat and I spend the afternoon shopping and cooking. If deciding ahead is unappealing then they don't eat here, they go to a restaurant. A lot of guests choose to eat in. So I don't see the Beirut's book in advance
requirements as unusual or unreasonable.