As morning commutes disappeared and unemployment spiked, breakfast sales took a hit in 2020. That doesn’t mean customers have lost interest, though: they still love enjoying breakfast and brunch from their favourite restaurants. Since take-out and delivery are widespread and dining room capacities might remain limited for a while, you’ll need to find creative ways to serve clients during this daypart.
To help you through this transition, Chef Beall is sharing his expert tips for adapting your breakfast menu to the evolving business climate.
Make your processes as efficient as possible
Margins on breakfast food are usually quite high, since most of the ingredients are low-cost. In a rapidly changing business climate, though, it can be challenging to generate sales and reap the rewards of those margins. To fill in the gaps, you might need to streamline your processes.
Optimize your ingredient list: Inventory all of your ingredients – not just for breakfast, but for every meal you serve – and list the dishes that include them. Use versatile ingredients, such as goat cheese, to increase efficiency and profitability.
Use your labour force efficiently: Off-premise dining is linked to more downtime. People tend to eat during similar hours when they are getting takeout or delivery, so your “busy” window may be shorter. To keep staff occupied during slow periods, focus on prep. Lunch and dinner staff can prep everything for breakfast the next day, so you can have less people working the morning shift, then have them switch to lunch prep when the breakfast rush is over.
Get creative with off-premise experiences
Diversification is the key to resilience, and at this point in time, adapting your menu for takeout and delivery is essential for future success. The challenge is that breakfast typically does not travel well, with the exception of pastries and sandwiches, so you’ll need to get creative.
If you want to solve the travel problem while creating dishes that will grab customers’ attention, Chef Beall recommends “elevating” the off-premise experience.
Strategy 1: Jazz up your breakfast recipes. Think loaded burritos, exotic frittatas, healthy smoothies, colourful breakfast bowls… the options are endless. Remember, quick service is not necessarily the key here, since you’re no longer catering to people who are rushing to work. They are looking for something special.
- Take a look at your lunch and dinner ingredients for inspiration: you could turn one of your burger recipes into a breakfast sandwich by swapping the patty for a fried egg, or even a haloumi cheese patty for something truly unique.
- Focus on premium ingredients – like cheese – to make your breakfast recipes stand out without breaking the bank. Cheese is also the perfect ingredients to add flavour and protein to vegetarian dishes, just like goat cheese does in this burrito.
- Offer breakfast versions of your dishes - like pizza. It will make for a creative menu that easily stands out. Check out our chef's inspiration for an innovative breakfast pizza.
- Add a modern twist to a comforting, nostalgic recipe that people already know and love – like decadent grilled cheese sandwiches.
Strategy 2: Offer DIY meal kits. This one is a win-win: you don’t have to cook anything, and customers get to try something new and exciting. You can also pre-sell meal kits, which allows you to plan out your quantities and labour needs in advance, or prep them the day before during slower periods.
Breakfast meal kits can help customers explore a whole new side of their morning meal, beyond the classic oatmeal, cereal, eggs, and bacon. You can create a ready-to-cook omelet in a mason jar, a “sweet & salty” brunch kit for the family – such as mascarpone stuffed crepes with a variety of toppings –, or a “breakfasts of the world” series featuring meals inspired by different customs (Mexican, Moroccan, Spanish, etc.).
Market your breakfast offerings and spread the word
Once you’ve chosen a creative path and fine-tuned your execution, you’ll need to advertise. Marketing, and especially marketing yourself online, is the best way to spread the word! You can showcase your partnership with local bakeries, farms or brands, offer discounts for pre-ordered meal kits, partner with local influencers to create “sneak peek” posts about next week’s meal kits on social media, or create fun promos for different days of the week (smoothie Sundays, family feast Fridays, etc.).
Finding a unique way to expand into breakfast takeout is the key to stand out. Don’t try to compete with traditional offerings or large chains – your customers want food that is uniquely you!
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