Here’s some good news for breakfast concepts: unlike other commodities, egg prices have remained steady. According to the Economic Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, egg prices decreased 0.2% in March 2011, the third consecutive monthly decline, so egg prices remained just 1% above the March 2010 level.
That might help to explain why many bakeries, bagel shops, coffee chains and other concepts are adding egg-related menu items. Not only are food costs low, but eggs – especially egg sandwiches and other portable items – are always popular for breakfast.
“We’re seeing very strong growth in our egg sandwiches,” says Scott Colwell, chief marketing officer for Burlington, VT-based Bruegger’s. “They are up 20% over where they were a year ago.“
He adds that customers of the 300-unit bagel chain want more than just an egg in a bagel. They want flavor, value and healthful food. This spring, Bruegger’s launched the Skinny Zesty Egg White Sandwich, which consists of an egg white patty on a skinny sesame bagel, with turkey sausage, Swiss cheese and sundried tomato spread. A skinny bagel is one that Bruegger’s cuts using a patented knife that removes approximately one-third of the bagel’s center. The 4l0-calorie item has a price point of $3.99.
Other chains also have seen success in egg sandwiches. “We consider portability a major factor in our ability to connect with consumers,“ says James O’Reilly, chief concept officer with Lakewood, CO-based Einstein Noah Restaurant Group. “A high percentage of our customers are on the go – on the way to work, to a meeting, etc. We have grown our business by opening our restaurants in locations – transportation hubs, food courts, main intersections and along major foot traffic routes – where we’re a natural stop in their morning routine.“
Einstein Bros. Bagels offers 10 different egg sandwiches, ranging from the Spinach and Bacon Egg Bagel Panini to the Southwest Turkey Sausage Egg Sandwich.
Eric Newman, executive vice president and general counsel for Bojangles’ Restaurants Inc., agrees that portability is important. “Breakfast is 40% of our business and the ability to hold breakfast in one hand, its portability, is key,” he says. Sixty per cent of our business is done through our drive-thru windows, and another 20% is ordered inside to be consumed off the premises.” Bojangles’ egg sandwiches, which include Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuits, and others, are priced from approximately $1.49 to $2.05.
Source: Nation’s Restaurant News, August 2011