Girl Scouts aren’t the only ones betting on a cereal comeback. Due to increased competition at breakfast, restaurants are looking outside of the box (or bowl) to find new ways to menu classic cereal favorites as a way to differentiate. Using cereal is both nostalgic for older customers and kid-friendly (except in the case of cereal-flavored shots). Here are six ways operators are upgrading cereal on menus.
1. As a crust
Operators are enhancing starchy breakfast favorites with cereal crusts as a way to bring texture to softer foods and provide a twist on a favorite. Available in its Los Angeles International Airport location, California Pizza Kitchen’s Crispy Brioche French Toast features cornflake-crusted brioche griddled and topped with seasonal berry compote, vanilla bean yogurt and powdered sugar. And Arooga’s Grille House & Sports Bar’s new Captain Crunch French Toast features two pieces of cinnamon sourdough bread whipped, battered and baked with corn-and-oat cereal, then finished with powdered sugar, whipped butter and warm maple syrup.
2. Breakfast shots
Cereal doesn’t need to actually be present in food or beverage to have influence. Rather, the flavors reminiscent of certain cereals can be marketed as such to evoke feelings of nostalgia and surprise. Arooga’s recently launched brunch features breakfast shots inspired by cereals. Selections include Apple Jax, featuring an apple-flavored bourbon and a cinnamon-flavored rum cream liqueur; Honey Nut O’s, featuring a liqueur blended with honey and bourbon combined with a cinnamon-flavored rum cream liqueur; and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, featuring a cinnamon-flavored whisky and a cinnamon-flavored rum cream liqueur.
3. Cereal milk
Cereal-flavored milk is another way to bring the flavor of cereal to menus without actual cereal. Operators can highlight the sweetened milk in breakfast dishes, condiments and—as shown on the following slides—desserts and beverages. Jack Flaps in Cleveland, for example, serves its PB&J Eggy Bread with chocolate Nutella, peanut butter, berry jam and cereal milk whipped cream.
4. A dessert inspiration
Many cereals that are naturally sweet lend themselves well to desserts. They also add a much-needed crunch to softer desserts like ice cream and cake. Cauldron Ice Cream in Santa Ana, Calif., has taken advantage with its Milk and Cereal offering, featuring sweet-cream ice cream coated with frosted corn flakes. Cleveland's Graffiti: A Social Kitchen profits from the trend with its cereal milk panna cotta dessert made with cereal treats, banana and blueberries.
5. A beverage inspiration
Like desserts, beverages are also a base for cereal-inspired offerings. Cereal-flavored milk can take the place of other milks in latte beverages, like the Cereal Milk Latte, featuring espresso and housemade cinnamon toast-flavored cereal milk, served hot or over ice at The Salty Donut in Miami. In addition, operators can serve kids cereal-flavored milk as a sweeter twist on classic milk.
6. With superfood
Because cereal’s gotten a bad rap in recent years for its high sugar content, some operators are boosting the health appeal by accompanying cereal with superfoods ranging from berries to seeds to ancient grains. Au Bon Pain uses all three in its winter Superfood Cranberry & Almond Hot Cereal, featuring whole oats, quinoa, amaranth, cranberries, almonds, sunflower seeds, pepitas and raw flaxseed.