Over the past few years, all-day breakfast has been a macro trend within the restaurant industry, with breakfast sandwiches crossing over onto lunch menus and dishes such as chicken and waffles being offered at both breakfast and dinner alike.
But today, breakfast flavors and ingredients, including fried potatoes, maple and bacon, are popping up in smaller formats at restaurants offering bar bites, happy-hour deals and late-night eats—providing a great opportunity for restaurants to boost sales by offering diners craveable foods while also stretching their food dollars by incorporating ingredients they already have on hand.
Breakfast bites, all day long
From cold pizza to breakfast burgers, p.m. flavors have long since infiltrated breakfast in the minds of guests. A quarter of consumers (and 40% of older millennials) say that they enjoy eating foods associated with lunch or dinner for breakfast, according to Technomic’s 2017 Breakfast report. But the opposite—breakfast flavors expanding to later daypart menus—is somewhat newer.
According to that same report, 43% of consumers say they enjoy breakfast foods for lunch, and 56% say they enjoy them for dinner. And for snack time, 28% say they enjoy breakfast foods as an afternoon snack while 24% say they like them for an evening snack. What’s more, outside of regular meal hours and snacking, breakfast food still prevails—26% say they enjoy these foods as a late-night snack, too, giving operators a truly all-day opportunity.
One chain that’s been seeing success with offering breakfast flavors on snack menus is Starbucks. The coffee cafe chain offers all-day options including Bantam Bagels, donut hole-sized bagel bites stuffed with cream cheese, in a variety of breakfast flavors such as French toast and Everything bagel, as well as Rip van Wafels, a waffle-sandwich cookie hybrid offered in flavors such as honey and oats, strawberry and vanilla.
For a heartier, yet still delicious, option, Starbucks also offers oatmeal as part of its all-day breakfast offerings. The chain’s Classic Oatmeal is a blend of rolled and steel-cut oats with dried fruit, a nut medley and brown sugar as optional toppings; the Hearty Blueberry Oatmeal is topped with blueberries and agave syrup.
How to incorporate breakfast anytime
In order to menu breakfast-esque snacks later in the day or in different formats, it can be helpful to offer different sized portions. For instance, instead of a slice of quiche or a plate of home fries, restaurants can offer frittata bites or tater tots (menued as “dippable hash browns”) with delicious condiments such as flavored aiolis. Breakfast “nachos” can also be menued as a bar nibble, happy-hour shareable or late-night snack. Instead of using tortilla chips, though, restaurants can use seasoned hash brown bites or French toast sticks as the base, then top them with breakfast-themed ingredients such as sausages or bacon, cheddar cheese, maple syrup and more.
Additionally, bar snacks, happy-hour apps and late night eats have at least one thing in common: they all have the potential to be served around alcohol beverages. Try serving these all-day-breakfast snacks with breakfast-themed cocktails or classic mimosas or bloody Marys for a “brunch for dinner” promotion, too.
Restaurants that want appeal to diners’ desire for breakfast foods all day can tap into their cravings by offering breakfast-style snacks, happy-hour eats and late-night options. By making breakfast foods more available during more hours of the day, restaurants can count on attracting those diners whose love for breakfast is never-ending.