This paper deals with the 〈N,p〉-policy M/G/1 queue with server breakdowns and general startup times, where customers arrive to demand the first essential service and some of them further demand a second optional service. Service times of the first essential service channel are assumed to follow a general distribution and that of the second optional service channel are another general distribution. The server breaks down according to a Poisson process and his repair times obey a general distribution in the first essential service channel and second optional service channel, respectively. The server operation starts only when N (N≥1) customers have accumulated, he requires a startup time before each busy period. When the system becomes empty, turn the server off with probability p (p [0,1]) and leave it on with probability (1-p). The method of maximum entropy principle is used to develop the approximate steady-state probability distribution of the queue length in the M/G(G, G)/1 queueing system. A study of the derived approximate results, compared to the established exact results for three different 〈N,p〉-policy queues, suggests that the maximum entropy principle provides a useful method for solving complex queueing systems.