Incredible Breakfast Trends

In Pursuit of Indulgence

The increasing availability of all-day breakfast is great news for breakfastarians, which the Urban Dictionary defines as those who “recognize the superiority of breakfast over other meals.” Supporting the shift are the National Restaurant Association and Mintel, both reporting that more than 70 percent of consumers want breakfast available throughout the day.

Some say serving breakfast foods at the same time as higher-priced lunch and dinner items will reduce profits. Countering that are the many operators who see all-day breakfast as an opportunity for showcasing creativity with breakfast foods, including more upscale ingredients later in the day when people have more time to enjoy them. Indulgent foods come to the rescue once again, reigniting customer interest and reaping profits.

Macaroni Grill’s new weekend brunch menu is a perfect example. One brunch item, a Milanese-style breaded sirloin, pan seared Parmesan eggs, Calabrian pesto with creamy Parmesan potatoes and ciabatta crostino, is essentially steak and eggs with potatoes and toast. Revving up popular menu items with ethnic flavors, upscale preparation, and better meats and cheeses will get both the consumer’s attention and their order.

There is one cautionary note concerning the importance of menu innovation. Although creative versions of favorite comfort foods will result in better prices and more profits than the widely available original, it’s critical not to let inventiveness destroy familiarity.

Chef Wylie Dufresne, the celebrated NYC restaurateur known for toying with his diners’ expectations, has said, “One of the places that has always been allocated for free time, and for shutting down, is the table.” A meal based on comfort food should be enjoyable, not a challenge. People are not interested in spending money to be annoyed by creativity for creativity’s sake.

Dufresne states that he sees the most enjoyment, enthusiasm and loyalty when guests have some point of reference to an item. “We’ve realized that if you play with old friends, people are much more likely to get behind it,” he says. “People don’t have a warm, fuzzy spot in their heart for shrimp noodles, because they didn’t exist until I made them.” Referencing his most famous item, he says, “Whereas Eggs Benedict, people loved it, and I think they loved it because they had a reference.”

Phyllis Ann Marshall, CEO of FoodPower, a longtime restaurant consulting firm, calls creating new ideas for old comfort foods an exercise in giving them a “pedigree.” In other words, finding a way to give them something special. According to Chef Dufresne, that’s the way to keep profits special too.


Make Room for Veggies

Breakfast with Asian Appeal

Put An Egg On It

All Day Breakfast

Multicultural Cuisines

Evolution of Healthy

Indulgent Comfort

New Competition

New Behaviors

Regional Breakfast Menu

Comfort Foods with Flair

Clockless Dining

Simply Nutritious

The New Consumer

Breakfast Influencers