Breakfast mainstays such as pancakes and waffles, skillets and omelets aren’t going anywhere on restaurant menus. But for restaurants looking to revamp their breakfast offerings to align more closely with diners’ current tastes, it’s all about thinking beyond the plate—that is, offering breakfast meals in bowl format.
Bowls satisfy several preferences consumers have when dining out—for instance, food that tastes good, meals that are customizable and satisfying-sized portions. And with breakfast bowls being nearly infinitely adaptable to different diners’ preferences, they’re the perfect way to flex some creative muscle in the kitchen. Check out the four ways breakfast bowls are revolutionizing the morning meal.
Breakfast bowls are great for catering to consumers’ desire for more savory options at breakfast. According to the recent Technomic Breakfast report, more consumers say it’s important or extremely important for restaurants to offer items such as breakfast burritos or breakfast sandwiches (compared to those who think it’s important for restaurants to offer baked goods).
Savory breakfast bowls are ideal because more ingredients are available—while sweet breakfast bowls do exist, the number of ingredients that are typically used is more limited. For instance, savory breakfast bowls can include any vegetable or breakfast meat/protein as well as cheese, while sweet breakfast bowls tend to rely on syrups and other indulgent ingredients. The versatility provided by savory items makes savory bowls a cost-cutting opportunity for operators.
According to Technomic’s 2016 Future of LSR: Fast-Food & Fast-Casual report, 61% of consumers cite the ability to customize their order as important or extremely important when visiting a fast-food restaurant. And in full-service restaurants, 38% of people say that greater customization would encourage them to visit those restaurants more.
Bowl meals are perfect for customizing. Proteins can be swapped in or out, certain vegetables can be omitted and allergies are easy to accommodate. If a diner wants additional veggies or a double helping of bacon, an extra egg or a more premium cheese option, operators can offer them with a small upcharge to shoulder the cost.
3. Beyond the morning mealpart
Bowl meals are great for boosting interest in morning meals; however, they’re also perfect for consumers who want to eat breakfast at nontraditional times. Because they’re so easily adaptable, bowls are great for lunchtime or even dinner, particularly because many bowls include the savory ingredients people who eat breakfast at nontraditional times want most. In Technomic’s Breakfast report, 45% of consumers say they would purchase breakfast food at lunchtime, and 59% say the same about dinnertime.
As for what diners want to eat when they’re having breakfast outside of morning hours, the highest-ranking answers included all savory items such as eggs, hash browns and breakfast meats. And, since most breakfast platters feature these savory items already mixed together or side-by-side, their appearance in bowl meals is only natural.
4. Better-for-you choices
A growing number of consumers say they seek out healthier, lighter and cleaner foods when dining out, and breakfast is no exception. Consumer demand for vegetarian ingredients has led to an increase of them on breakfast menus, according to the Breakfast report. Ingredients such as tofu, beans, lentils and grains are all great bases for better-for-you breakfast bowls.
Breakfast burrito bowls are a perfect foil to the carb-heavy breakfast burritos, while an omelet bowl makes it easy for operators to pack in full servings of veggies with each meal.
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