As it turns out, Mom was right: Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Consumers today are looking for new and inventive breakfast options, and operators—from casual and family restaurants to QSR giants such as Taco Bell—are scrambling to offer breakfast items on their menus.
According to Trip Kadey, director of culinary for French’s Food Company, operators today see breakfast as a huge growth opportunity, and that’s why they’re devoting resources toward developing it. But historically, he says, breakfast customers can be evasive and hard to attract. “Some people just don’t eat breakfast, or they eat at home or they’re looking for convenience,” says Kadey.
If you’re serving breakfast for the first time—or even if you’ve been serving breakfast for decades—it can be challenging to figure out how to menu breakfast items in a way that both appeals to these tricky consumers and still turns a profit. Kadey offers the following ways to do just that:
• Put flavor first. “A lot of people who skip breakfast do so because there’s nothing new, it’s the same old flavors,” says Kadey. “Nine out of 10 times, what’s going to be comfortable for diners is traditional breakfast foods. The differentiation, then, is flavor.” Kadey suggests serving standard items like eggs, biscuits and breakfast meats with heat, like buffalo or Sriracha sauce, or with something unexpected, like mustard. “When you bring ham into breakfast, Dijon or yellow mustard pairs well with it,” he says.
• Incorporate untraditional proteins. According to Kadey, using innovative flavors and sauces makes it easier to add new proteins to breakfast menu items. For example, if you’re using a buffalo sauce in a breakfast burrito, he says, adding shredded chicken rather than bacon along with the usual egg and cheese can generate excitement since it’s unexpected.
• Make it portable. “Every breakfast trend that we’ve seen indicates that handheld portable platforms are the way to go,” says Kadey. “So few people have time to sit down, so portability is key.” In addition to breakfast burritos, items like sandwiches, bagels and wraps can be easily transported and eaten on-the-go. For example, Kadey says that a sandwich shop or deli operator could take a hoagie and fill it with eggs, bacon, cheese and spicy flavor for taste and convenience.
• Serve it during other dayparts. “Breakfast has been redefined,” says Kadey. “It’s no longer just for 6 to 9:30 a.m.” He also notes that many places have started serving brunch on the weekdays instead of just the weekend, and some serve brunch or breakfast items well into the afternoon. “Steak and eggs, chicken and waffles, those could easily be served all day,” says Kadey.
• Play with existing trends. Global and ethnic flavors are everywhere, and breakfast shouldn’t be an exception. To incorporate this trend, Kadey suggests adding herbs and spices to barbeque or hot sauce to create a sweet Asian or spicy Italian sauce that can be used on eggs or breakfast potatoes. He also says that the sour and bitter flavors that are becoming more popular can be a way to make menu items more interesting. “There’s no reason that sharp flavors can’t complement the savory and ooey-gooey flavors and textures we typically find at breakfast," he says.
This post is sponsored by The French's Food Company