February 3, 2018
Beyond Bacon and Eggs: The Breakfast Opportunity
from Chef Kevin Wassler
Sure, there are still old-fashioned diners and coffee shops where you can get a plate of bacon, eggs, and toast for $7.99, but breakfast has taken a big turn since that was the normal thing.
Now savvy food service operators are looking at ways to upgrade the morning meal and make it a destination daypart that can support prices rivaling lunch and even dinner. They’re paying more attention to the quality of the food, to the culinary technique, to the flavors, and also to the hours that these elevated breakfast specialties are being served.
• Proteins are changing; it’s not just bacon and pork sausage but also smoked salmon, turkey sausage, and cured meats like pastrami on a breakfast sandwich; or fried chicken with waffles
• Benedicts have really come up in importance with different toppings and breads other than English muffins, like a Barbacoa Benedict with seasoned braised beef on toasted ciabatta with avocado and hollandaise sauce
• Toast has become a specialty in its own right, as a carrier for foods like roast beef with peppers and onions (Cheesesteak Toast), and Avocado Toast, which we’re seeing everywhere in all its variations
• Grab-and-go options that play to consumers’ busy lives with healthier and more interesting options, including Panera-style specialty egg sandwiches, grain bowls, or oatmeal to go, high-quality baked goods, and fruit-and-yogurt or granola parfaits
For the operator, it all comes down to figuring out how much time the typical customer has for breakfast—do they have 30 minutes to sit down and have a nice meal, or are they grabbing something to eat at their desk—and creating menu items that can support premium pricing. Customers are willing to spend more money if they find something that meets their needs. Convenience plays in with things like online ordering or a smartphone app that cuts down on waiting time.
Even the time of day that breakfast is served is changing. Many successful breakfast specialists serve breakfast and brunch items throughout the day; a limited selection of popular morning foods can even work at dinner.
- 17% of consumers eat breakfast between the hours of 10 a.m. and noon (Datassential)
We’re also noticing a trend to “second breakfast,” especially among younger customers—those under 35 who might have a more flexible approach to what a meal is. They might grab a cup of coffee and a piece of toast at home or on the way into the office, and then order a second breakfast at around 10:30 or 11:00 in the morning.
These consumers are also more open to using a delivery service like Uber Eats to get something like a breakfast burrito or an egg sandwich delivered to their desk. These are the same people who eat lunch at 1:30 or 2:00 when they can get in and out of a restaurant faster, so they’re looking for options that fit their time constraints as well as their expectations for food quality and for something different.
Operators can take advantage of this by looking at foods and flavors that they might not have considered for their breakfast menu before—things like fresh fruit or berries in pancakes, or arugula in a breakfast sandwich. There’s money to be made in quality upgrades and “in between” dayparts like second breakfast.
• Elevate home fries with sautéed onions and Minor’s® Bacon Base, for bacony flavor without the cost and operational complications of bacon
• Turn scrambled eggs into a specialty with the addition of Minor’s Fire Roasted Poblano Flavor Concentrate
• “Romance” breakfast items with little upgrades and enticing menu copy—that Roasted Poblano Scramble can anchor a plate with Cheesy Hash Browns and Maple Butter Toast that you can charge a few dollars more for
• A Breakfast Quesadilla leverages customers’ all-day desire for unique flavors