“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” is the mantra of many nutritionists. A good breakfast can help us wake up, fuel our day, and put a smile on our face before the day has even really started. 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic has made life difficult for many in the restaurant trade. Can serving breakfast help your restaurant improve its profits for the year? Here, we look at how restaurants are tapping into the lucrative breakfast market.
Is your restaurant serving breakfast?
Times have changed. Breakfast used to be a meal largely served at home.
But more and more of us are opting to go out, millennials in particular, according to consumer research.
Cafes and hotels are the standard option for breakfast out.
However, restaurants are increasing their market share, and bars and pubs are getting a look in, too.
According to Datassential research, more and more restaurants are now open for breakfast. In the US, figures are around 41% and big chains like Wendy’s are expanding their opening hours to serve early bird customers in the morning.
Perceptions and expectations of breakfast are changing, too.
Why should breakfast be a dull bowl of supermarket cereal or a piece of toast?
Why not make it more special, more wholesome and, above all, more exciting?
As people’s culinary horizons broaden as well, they are more interested in experimenting with breakfast flavors from around the globe.
Most restaurants and bars find that extending their operating hours to serve breakfast is not too difficult.
Because the infrastructure is already in place, because prep cooks are already working in the mornings, and because breakfasts are relatively simple dishes, few additional labor hours are required.
This means that a few cleverly chosen menu options can quickly become very profitable.
All-day breakfast menus
Many cafes, restaurants and bakeries are also spotting the advantages of serving breakfast beyond the standard hours.
Some are even offering breakfast options all through the day. After all, many of us might have good reason to eat breakfast outside of “normal” hours.
Many people work very late nights or overnight and get their long stretch of sleep during the day; others have little appetite when they first wake up, or have no time to grab something until late morning.
Research published in Technomic’s “2019 Breakfast Consumer Trend Report” found that 31% of consumers are purchasing breakfast dishes outside of typical hours more often than before.
All-day breakfast menus suit multiple lifestyles and therefore have the potential to widen your customer base considerably.
But where do you start if you’d like to add some all-day breakfast options without overburdening your staff, overcomplicating your menu, and eating into profits?
And what are people looking for, anyway?
How can I build a breakfast menu that works for my restaurant?
Here are your answers.
These simple breakfast solutions are not only popular now, but also straightforward to make and serve at any time of day — definitely easy additions to your menu.
Breakfast to go
Ordering breakfast to go suits many customers: those short on time, those without company to enjoy, those who prefer not to sit down for a large meal.
The advantage for food establishments when it comes to on-the-go breakfasts is that they are quick and easy to serve once prepped, meaning there is little drain on service staff.
If you’ve already capitalized on the trend for great takeaway coffee, then adding some delicious point-of-sale breakfast options to accompany it is a simple way to increase your average customer spend.
There are many options for breakfasts to go, including many of the ideas below.
The basic rules are that a takeaway breakfast needs to be easy to transport without compromising on structure, texture or flavor; it should be “clean” to eat (nobody wants egg running down their clean outfit), and it should use minimal or no cutlery at all.
Packaging is an important consideration, too. Consumers are looking for eco-friendly packaging (either recyclable or compostable), reusable options, or even the option to bring their own refillable containers.
Your packaging needs to fit your brand as well.
Classic bakes and bite-sized options
Classic breakfast bakes offer some of the easiest and most profitable options.
They work as eat-in or takeaway options and are not at all labor-intensive to make or serve.
They can be prepared and baked in batches, or they can be easily bought in from high-quality bread suppliers in Dubai.
People love baked goods for breakfast for their simplicity.
They are transportable, quick and easy to consume, and easy to digest. Including bite-sized options takes this concept one step further.
Why not include a selection of mini-bakes so that your customers can pick and choose and enjoy a variety?
Here are some classic baked breakfast options:
- Croissants, pain au chocolat or pain au raisin
- Sweet Danish pastries
- Fresh breads served with butter and jam, or cheeses
- Pancakes (not baked, but equally easy to batch cook) served with bacon, syrups, fruits or sauces
- Toasted sandwiches
Most excitingly, all the above can be completely customized to be on-brand and in line with your lunch and dinner menu.
Just tweaking recipes slightly to include your signature flavors (and therefore use ingredients already in your inventory) is very easy.
When these baked goods are given a twist, it can be a real talking point amongst customers, helping your breakfasts stand out from the crowd.
For example, if your menu already includes interesting breads served with main meals, present them with fruits, jams or cheeses for an appealing but simple breakfast.
Alternatively, create some delicious breakfast pastries or sandwiches using your signature flavor combinations.
Omelettes and egg dishes
Serving omelettes and other similar egg-based dishes is a superb way of introducing a breakfast menu.
Firstly, they are quick and easy to cook.
Eggs are also an inexpensive ingredient, which translates to reasonably priced breakfasts for your customers and good profit margins for your business.
People love to eat eggs for breakfast because they are so rich in nutrients even in small quantities.
They can be served with other healthy foods like tomatoes, beans, spinach or avocados for a really wholesome start to the day.
The other great thing about omelettes and egg dishes is that they are really straightforward to make into a unique dish.
Add the herbs and spices that make your other dishes special, for example.
Do you serve amazing meats or cheeses? Then you can add those.
For inspiration, here are some much-loved egg-based breakfasts from around the world:
- Poached eggs with smoked salmon
- Scrambled eggs on toast or a bagel with herbs like chives or basil
- The full English breakfast: eggs served with bacon, sausage, tomatoes and mushrooms, and often much more
- Huevos rancheros
- Green eggs and ham
- Eggs florentine
Dinner for breakfast
Dinner-inspired breakfasts are a fast-moving trend right now.
Datassential’s consumer research report “Is Breakfast Your Jam?” states that breakfast tacos have experienced a triple-digit increase in menu penetration over the last four years.
Breakfast burgers and pizzas are also more frequently appearing on menus.
This trend gives restaurants an amazing opportunity to break into the breakfast market.
All you need to do is simplify and “breakfastify” your best main courses to become appealing to morning diners.
Weekend brunch-goers are a great market to tap into with this kind of food, too.
Here are a few more ideas, aside from burgers and pizzas and tacos:
- Appeal to health-conscious eaters with easy-to-prepare breakfast bowls of grains, vegetables and proteins. For example, make a Mexican-inspired bowl with spicy plant-based proteins, quinoa and avocado.
- Breakfast burritos or quesadillas
- A lighter take on mac and cheese
How can you make sure breakfasts are profitable?
Heading into the breakfast market can feel daunting.
To make sure your all-day breakfasts are highly profitable from day one, you’ll need to apply all the usual, basic rules of running a profitable food business.
1. Put quality first
Many of your menu options may be simple, but don’t cut corners on quality as well as convenience.
Customers will return again and again if you serve great food.
They’ll go somewhere else next time if you don’t.
Make sure your breakfasts match the rest of the menu in terms of quality.
2. Simplify your menu
Don’t complicate things.
Do only what you do best and remove any items with low-profit margins from your menu.
3. Run point-of-sale promotions
Optimize your turnover with some carefully planned and irresistible point-of-sale promotions.
Make sure the price compared to the perceived value of the item is something your customers can’t walk away from.
4. Consider breakfast loyalty cards
For many customers, particularly those weekday breakfast buyers, convenience is a big factor.
Many will happily return to the same food outlets often.
Help build a loyal breakfast customer base by offering a loyalty or rewards program.
If carefully planned and strictly monitored, breakfasts can be an easy-to-set-up way of expanding your business and improving profitability.
As such, a breakfast menu can offer a great return on investment.
Market trends suggest that many of your competitors will be upping their game with a new or improved breakfast menu.
Make sure you aren’t left behind!