McDonald’s continues to lean on breakfast to reinvigorate sales, which means other quick service restaurants are finding even more ways to keep pace. Wedged between McDonald’s and Starbucks in the breakfast wars, Dunkin’ Donuts is testing more upscale items in select markets. It remains to be seen if the chain’s cold-brewed iced coffee, Chicken and Waffle Breakfast Sandwiches, and snack-friendly Sausage Bites and large Kolache (pigs in a blanket) will win the latest breakfast battle, but these menu developments do support an ongoing trend of breakfast becoming an anytime option.
Steve Solomon, culinary consultant for the American Egg Board, suggests breakfast pizza as a good place for grocerants to start a breakfast food program. He sees restaurants devoted to this platform across the country: In Scottsdale, Ariz., for instance, Scramble restaurant serves “Brizzas” made with hand-tossed dough, hollandaise sauce and scrambled eggs and topped with everything from smoked Gouda to chorizo.
Breakfast Beat, The American Egg Board’s monthly newsletter, reported in March 2016 that breakfast or brunch is now menued at 46 percent of all casual restaurants, up 17 percent in the past four years, according to Datassential. At restaurants that serve breakfast, Datassential finds the percentage of breakfast items that were hot sandwiches grew 9 percent between 2011 and 2015.
Solomon notes that breakfast burritos have been the first point of entry for many operators trying their hands at Mexican-influenced breakfast sandwiches. He encourages chefs and R&D teams to dive deeper into these trends with breakfast tacos or empanadas. Savory hand pies “springboard off the continued popularity of dessert pies, breakfast pot pies, casseroles and mini convenience-driven trends to create a new, unique experience off a familiar and appealing base,” he says.
- Waffles added to sandwich “bread” options for a taste of breakfast-all-day
- Pre-baked breakfast pies and soufflés as grab-and-go items in the bakery
- Enhanced breakfast condiment options with salsa, guacamole and pico de gallo