FOOD has come to mean a whole lot more to pubs in recent years, with many tapping into the lunch and dinner scene – but venues that don’t offer breakfast could be missing an opportunity, according to a recent report by potato brand Lamb Weston.
The Future of Breakfast: An Insight found that 48% of 18 to 24 year olds eat breakfast in on-trade venues once or twice a month; and 41% of 25 to 34 year olds do the same.
Therefore introducing an early morning menu may well be worth consideration, food firms told SLTN.
Nigel Phillips of Lamb Weston said, with 2.6 million adults now eating out of home between 10am and 12 noon, breakfast “has become one of the UK’s favourite eating-out occasions” and, therefore, “provides a huge opportunity for the on-trade”.
Erwan Inizan, commercial director UK for bake-from-frozen and patisserie specialist Bridor, echoed Phillips’ view, stating that breakfast “is also being enjoyed as a social occasion, not just a functional one”.
“There is enormous potential for pubs and bars to capitalise on this growing market,” said Inizan.
And Mark Irish of Brakes reckons that “as the occasion develops, it is the more imaginative caterers who are winning big”.
“For example, offering customers the choice of full fat, semi-skimmed, or skimmed milk might have been the benchmark in years gone by, but now it’s all about ‘free-from’, soya, almond or coconut milk,” he said.
This was reinforced by Nic Townsend, marketing manager UK & Ireland for food firm Farm Frites, who said operators would do well to cater to ‘clean lifers’ – 20 to 29 year olds who are “driven to lead more responsible lives”.
“It also couples with the current trend for ‘Flexitarian’ diets – starting the week with healthy requirements and then relaxing these habits to require more indulgence as the week progresses,” said Townsend.
Mohammed Essa of Aviko UK & Ireland said the traditional fry-up, however, remains “an essential must-have on menus that operators can make the most of by continually innovating their options”.
“Introducing variety to breakfast menus, with a unique twist on traditional flavours, is key to attracting new customers and keeping existing customers coming back for more,” said Essa.
For operators looking to introduce a breakfast menu for the first time, Essa, quoting research conducted by the firm, said the top items customers look for are sausages, bacon, eggs and hash browns.
He reckons hash browns in particular offer operators a profit opportunity, as they are “easy to ‘up-sell’ as part of an add-on to bacon or sausage [rolls]”.
Jo Holborn of potato firm McCain agreed, stating that hash browns can be offered “as an upgrade option alongside other breakfast options to drive incremental profits”, adding that there is currently “strong demand” for American-style breakfast options.
“As the trend for brunch has grown, providing an additional revenue stream [for operators], we’ve started to see hash browns used in slightly different ways, whether that is as a base for toppings – such as smashed avocado and eggs – or even as a breakfast-themed alternative to topped chips,” said Holborn.
Eggs, however, remain a staple of the classic breakfast offer.
Andrew Joret, British Egg Industry Council chairman, said: “Our consumer research shows that eggs are the favourite choice at breakfast, with 63% choosing egg dishes when asked to name their favourite breakfast dish.”
Beyond what items to offer at breakfast, Joret reckons that all operators would do well to avoid simple mistakes with their early morning offer. Citing a 2017 OnePoll survey of 2000 adults, Joret said consumers’ top five frustrations when eating out of home are: time between ordering and receiving food (29%), cold food (29%), price/value for money (28%), poor quality food (27%), and bad service (25%).
“As a good value, healthy, quick-to-cook breakfast option that is easy to prepare to a consistently high standard, eggs can offer a simple solution to many of these issues,” said Joret.
And in the age of social media, Joret added “it has never been more important to serve food that not only tastes good, but also looks appetising”.
Innovate: introducing variety to breakfast menus with a unique twist on traditional favourites is key.
Pick ‘n’ mix: tap into the growing appetite for interactive, ‘build your own’ meals. Offering customers the freedom to choose their favourite items is a great way to create custom-made dishes at a fixed price.
Trade up: giving customers the option to ‘trade up’ their breakfast can lead to increased profits for operators.
Appeal to their senses: people eat with their eyes, so it’s worth taking extra care when presenting breakfast dishes to ensure they are eye-catching.
Promotions: offering a free hot drink with breakfast creates added value for the customer – and could encourage repeat custom.
– Supplied by Aviko.