The Most Important Meal of the Day, All Day

Breakfast isn’t just the fuel customers need to start their day – it can fuel your profits and bring diners through your door. Breakfast is the fastest growing foodservice daypart that consumers want to enjoy beyond the morning hours – they want access to breakfast any time of day. All-day breakfasts are breaking mealtime boundaries and presenting opportunity for creativity and increased revenue across the menu. Consumers often refer to breakfast as the most important meal of the day, and this category has grown to be a significant profit center for restaurant and foodservice operators as well. As consumers continue to crave breakfast foods at non-traditional times, consider how developing breakfast items that translate to all dayparts can present potential to maximize sales all day long.

According to the National Restaurant Association, more than 70% of adults said they wished restaurants would off er breakfast items throughout the day. More consumers — 30% — are now buying breakfast more often than they did two years ago, says Technomic Inc. Brunch, the increasingly trendy late-morning meal, is the phenomenon that initially extended breakfast past its assigned hours and significantly contributed to the growth of all-day breakfasts. Consumers crave the socialization and communal dining aspect that brunch presents, and all-day breakfasts offer that same experience. The concept of breakfast outside of the traditional hours is nothing new – greasy spoons and diners have been serving eggs and waffles in the wee hours of the morning for decades. But with the increase in flexibility of nine-to-five office jobs, consumers are making cafés and dining rooms their offices, creating the perfect platform for operators to capitalize on all-day breakfasts. Offer a versatile menu with breakfast items sprinkled throughout categories, and be sure to include quick, convenient, and delicious options for those who work traditional hours. If you limit your signature breakfast offerings to Saturday and Sunday mornings, you’ll miss out on this growing opportunity.

Beyond the Bacon

An all-day menu is more than just putting eggs and bacon on lunch and dinner menus. Typical breakfast items such as bread, bacon, and eggs have lower food costs, which can help create high margins; however, as the breakfast landscape changes, competitive differentiation will be key in attracting and retaining customers. Presentation can make a significant impact in distinguishing your items from the rest. For example, Chef David Burke, owner of restaurant Tavern62 in New York, NY, serves a maple-glazed and peppered candied bacon appetizer on a memorable miniature clothesline. This carnivorous creation can capture customers’ attention, infuse an element of fun into their dining experience, and boost your brand and profits. Innovating dishes that incorporate traditional breakfast items as well as unique and trending ingredients and engaging presentations can help showcase your restaurant’s craft and creativity and drive profitability.

In 2017, Andrew Freeman & Co. crowned breakfast sandwiches as dish of the year. Breakfast sandwiches have significantly grown in popularity and fit perfectly on all-day breakfast menus. According to Technomic Inc., nearly 40% of diners ages 18-34 enjoy eating breakfast foods that are often associated with lunch or dinner, like pizza, burgers, or grilled chicken sandwiches that have breakfast ingredients added. Offering a signature breakfast sandwich will help bring customers back for more any time of the day. Elevate your breakfast sandwich by adding guacamole and cured meat such as speck, or make it heartier by serving a Cuban breakfast wrap panini filled with roasted Cajun pork, house-made pickles, scrambled eggs, and mustard aioli. Pizza is another platform primed for innovation for the morning meal. Top breakfast pizzas with items rich in protein such as ricotta or smoked salmon lox (#131453 2/2.5 lb.). Capitalize on customer cravings for robust meals and global flavors by offering huevos rancheros or shakshuka breakfast pizzas and serving on Indian-inspired naan bread. Building upon your basic bacon and eggs bridges the gap from breakfast to lunch or dinner.

Other traditional breakfast dishes can be reimagined with ingenious ingredient combinations and clever twists. With its healthy halo, oatmeal can be elevated by cooking it sous vide overnight and topping with brandied stone fruit and cinnamon almonds. Or use an on-trend grain such as quinoa as the base of a health-forward breakfast bowl. Get creative with flavor profiles by adding chai tea, almond milk, and maple syrup to quinoa and topping with roasted apricots, honey roasted pecans, and fresh berries. You can also upgrade humble grits by transforming this standard dish into Cheddar grit cakes paired with bourbon-glazed bacon and barbecue shrimp. And don’t forget to merchandise your sweet breakfast items. For an indulgent, upscale, brunch-worthy dish that will satisfy customers’ sweet tooth, pair trendy matcha with white chocolate to serve as a dipping sauce with donut fries. The bitterness of the tea provides great contrast to the sweetness of the chocolate. Such a bold flavor combination will resonate with adventurous diners.

On the Side

Further enhance your all-day breakfast programs with high-impact, house-made side elements that reflect your restaurant’s brand and authenticity. These easy-to-customize components are vehicles to flavor exploration through familiar carriers. Offer a house-made ketchup — and it doesn’t always have to be tomato-based; try blueberry or banana for a different and unexpected twist — to complement dishes like hash browns, skillets, and breakfast burgers. For those who don’t prefer as much heat, balance the fire in hot sauces through playful fruit combinations such as mango or pineapple. Instead of the typical strips of bacon, make a jam to spread on sandwiches, burgers, and toasts, or offer as candied bacon.

Use ethnic spices and seasonings to refresh traditional condiments. Go beyond sriracha by using an underutilized and trending ethnic hot sauce such as piri-piri (African hot chili pepper sauce). Try spicy Asian condiments such as sambal, wasabi, or gochujang to give mayo a kick. Tahini (sesame seed paste) is excellent for sauces and dressings and presents a great balance for vegetable-forward dishes such as a roasted vegetable breakfast power bowl, perfect for promoting to vegan and vegetarian guests.

The demand for all-day breakfasts presents tremendous opportunity for creativity and increased revenue. With in-house prepared accouterments and creative twists on classic dishes, you can serve your customers the distinct flavor profiles and upgraded classics that they’re craving. Chefs and foodservice operators can take advantage of the immense growth in the all-day breakfast segment while continuing to explore new flavors, textures, and creative presentations all day long.