3 Ways to Make Your Breakfast Menu Stand Out

How restaurants can use this major industry trend to appeal to new consumers.

Breakfast is the restaurant industry’s fastest-growing daypart, making it an ideal environment for creativity and experimentation. As restaurants explore and bring new flavors, textures, spice levels, and ingredients to consumers, breakfast has intersected with another important trend: the all-important snack.

Snacks fit into consumers’ demanding on-the-go lifestyles that often leave little time for traditional sit-down meals. Combined with larger industry trends, such as the growth of all-day and second breakfast, they offer a tremendous amount of opportunity for operators to drive traffic.

Smucker® March 2018 Trend Report discovered that two-thirds of consumers find breakfast snacks appealing, and more than half would like to see more breakfast snacks on restaurant menus. Though still a relatively new concept in full-service restaurants, operators are learning that pairing breakfast with snacks is a recipe for success.

Snacks can encompass a wide range of menu items including fruit, breakfast sandwiches, doughnuts, pastries, hash browns and other potatoes, yogurt, oatmeal, bagels, egg-based dishes, and more. In fact, almost any breakfast item can be made into a snack, making it easy and convenient—especially for restaurants that are already serving breakfast—to cash in on this growing trend.

As in several other sectors of the restaurant industry, millennials are setting the trend. Smucker reports that this group is most likely to want more snack options at breakfast (66 percent), followed by Gen Z and Gen X (both 59 percent). While some interest in breakfast snacks exists for baby boomers (44 percent) and matures (36 percent), these groups as a whole prefer more traditional, plated meals.

Two out of three consumers indicate that they are most likely to purchase fruit at least occasionally, and more than half say they occasionally purchase breakfast sandwich snacks. Consumers show a desire for both better-for-you as well as indulgent options, so providing a bit of variety and/or customization is essential.

Here are three ways to try breakfast snacks at your operation:

1. Go miniature

Shrink the portion size of popular breakfast dishes. Think doughnut holes, French toast sticks, pancake balls, and mini quiches. Smaller, personalized items—rather than shareable dishes—resonate better as snack foods.

2. Make signature breakfast bars

Better-for-you options are also on trend, and Smucker reports that 29 percent of consumers say they occasionally purchase breakfast bars as snacks. Bars represent an excellent opportunity to meet the needs of health-conscious diners, as well as to create a signature product that is easy to make in-house.

Operators can enhance the appeal of their signature bars by making them from scratch using common kitchen staples, like oats, nuts, seeds, and nut butters. Bars can also be easily customized to accommodate different dietary lifestyles such as vegan, keto, and high-protein.

3. Create a Portable Presentation

Convenience is key to breakfast snacking. Smucker reports two-thirds of customers expressed interest in sticks, cups, bowls, wraps, and other portable presentations as breakfast options. Get creative with fruit kabobs, pancakes on a stick, or yogurt parfait cups.