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4 innovative takes on breakfast classics

With p.m. classics such as breakfast burritos, pizza and fried chicken trending on breakfast menus, it might be tempting to think that consumers have abandoned the healthier side of morning menus. But a number of consumers still seek out better-for-you breakfasts, so removing healthier options from morning menus is a risk many operators shouldn’t take. Thankfully, mashing up savory breakfast ideas with healthy preparations and ingredients to appease even the most diet-conscious diner is easy with new formats and flavors.

According to Technomic’s 2017 Breakfast report, 54% of operators offer healthy breakfast items with the specific goal of increasing sales during this daypart, and 91% of those operators say that those offerings do make an impact on sales. For operators who haven’t yet expanded their savory breakfast options to include lighter or healthier fare, but are interested in doing so, here are some insights on how to do so successfully.

Get creative

Egg-white omelets have been considered the “healthy” option at breakfast for many years, so operators may think: why fix what isn’t broken? The answer is, of course, that to resonate with consumers, restaurant operators must also continue to innovate.

For instance, instead of egg-white omelets, operators can consider using those same egg whites to make “cloud bread,” a trendy food that’s also naturally gluten-free. Use cloud bread as the base for breakfast sandwiches to offer a high-protein, low-carb option for health-conscious diners.

Riff on the classics

Classic breakfasts such as bacon, eggs and toast are classic for a reason—they taste good, they’re filling and they’re familiar. Updating traditional breakfasts to reflect modern tendencies toward healthier fare is simple—swap out white bread toast for whole-grain toast, pork bacon for turkey bacon and substitute egg whites mixed with veggies in place of whole eggs.

For indulgent dishes like eggs Benedict, balance the offering with smoked turkey and a side of spinach instead of the traditional Canadian bacon.

Flex creative muscle

Healthy doesn’t have to mean unexciting—in fact, it can mean just the opposite.  Some of the fastest-growing ingredients at breakfast include cucumber dressing, which has grown 129% year-over-year, according to Technomic’s MenuMonitor; turmeric, which has gone up 86%; queso fresco, which has risen 57%; and daikon, which is up 55%.

These elements wouldn’t necessarily be used on the same plate, of course, but their presence is an indication that more unique meals are being put on the breakfast menu. And, similarly to healthy options’ impact on sales, 94% of operators who offer unique breakfast items say it has a positive impact on sales, according to Technomic’s Breakfast report.

So, let loose a little and put a trending vegetable (like daikon radishes or peas), an unexpected sauce (barbecue sauce or tomatillo sauce) or a new protein (turkey crumbles or seitan) on your A.M. plates to generate excitement.

Think beyond the plate

Beyond the standard breakfast combo plate, there are a few ways to innovate with savory breakfasts and offer healthier options. First, consider different formats—while traditional breakfast is served up on a plate, try combining a number of breakfast ingredients and creating a bowl instead.

About a third of consumers say they’d be likely to order a breakfast bowl if it was available. Bowl meals are infinitely customizable, and there’s also the opportunity to pull influences from ethnic cuisine and offer a Greek or Mexican breakfast bowl, for instance.

Savory breakfast items also can be made portable--a perfect option for diners who want a filling breakfast to take on-the-go. Try menuing unique offerings such as egg cups (baked in muffin tins, or cooked sous-vide a la Starbucks’ wildly popular Sous Vide Egg Bites) with fillings like turkey bacon or sausage, roasted red peppers, broccoli and other veggies. Topped with a sprinkle of cheese, they’re a perfect portable breakfast packed with flavor and nutrition.

For operators ready to get in on the healthy savory breakfast trend, it’s easy: try out modern preparations, rethink classics, get a bit creative and reimagine the format. With a little bit of menu tweaking, operators can enjoy a boost in breakfast participation in no time.

This post is sponsored by Butterball Foodservice

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