Traditional to ethnic, creative morning menu recipes tempt even the busiest customers to come into your servery and start the day off right!
By Diane Ridge
There is nothing new when we consider breakfast—it is still the most important meal of the day! More than forty years of breakfast-related studies have shown that starting the day with breakfast benefits everyone—children, teens and adults (see sidebar).
What is new are the creative recipes, interesting presentations (calzones, cones and panini for breakfast?) and the ease of availability—namely portability, where breakfast service is involved.
The breakfast rules for onsite operators? Make it quick, make it delicious and make it ready to go!
Dedicated to "Grab and Go"
Responding to an increasing customer demand for breakfast options, Walt's Express is to become the breakfast takeout outlet at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in
Washington, D.C. "We are in the process of revamping the complete area to make it a dedicated grab and go facility," says Ted J. Stolk, executive chef and general foreman. Currently the 950 sq. ft. facility is only open during lunch with approximately 250 transactions per day. (The main dining facility serves 4500 people per day.)
"All merchandising will be geared towards advertising a quick, healthy breakfast," says Stolk. "The foods will be available in open air refrigerators, for ease of accessiblity." Breakfast items they plan to offer include "Do Not Cook" Fruit Oatmeal, banana breakfast tostados, wholegrain muffin sandwiches and homemade smoothies.
Busy customers at Ohio State University can opt to jumpstart their day with the "Survival Snack." "It's one of our most popular items," says Mike Goodrich, executive chef. The "snack" is made up of a compact container filled with a lunch bunch of seedless grapes, local sliced fresh apples, a package of Tillamook medium cheddar cheese, and premium crackers. "We sell about 20,000 a year for $2.50 each at 32% food cost," he says.
Heartier appetites can also indulge in classic easy-to-eat breakfast items like English muffns, bagels, croissants and wrap sandwiches.
"Late summer we responded to customer flow challenges by offering a full hot & cold self-serve breakfast menu weighed at the register and sold by the ounce," says Richard Crowell, Director of Nutritional Services at Verde Valley Medical Center, Northern Arizona Healthcare, in Cottonwood, AZ.
"Breakfast was getting increasingly popular and one server and one cashier had trouble keeping up with it, but now the server can prep fresh items and stay ahead of the crowd, so there is no more bottle-neck, says Crowell.
"The reception by our customers has been very good as they determine the portions," says Crowell. "It's faster than dish-up or made-to-order, and part of the overwhelmingly positive response is due to the fact that the menu offers more variety. We 'took it up a notch' in presentation and quality."
Creating menu interest
Operators who already offer breakfast are boosting sales by adding unique flavor notes to standard morning fare. Consider eggs: they are a vital ingredient in many morning recipes. Mild in taste by nature, they are a perfect medium for incorporating high-impact flavors that wake up morning palates: think piquant onion, earthy herbs and spices, smoky cheeses and even bursts of sweet flavor notes like dried fruits and crystallized ginger.
Heartbeat Cafe, a 24 hour operation at Legacy Health System in Portland, OR, offers typical items like breakfast burritos and croissant sandwiches. "But one of the most popular and tempting items coming out of the cafe is the individual 5" breakfast quiche, packed with either strawberries or a bunch of fresh red seedless grapes," says Executive Chef Brian Seto.
Varieties include Bacon, Roasted Red Potato and Cheddar Cheese; Zucchini, Carrot and Parmesan Cheese; Chicken, Green Pepper and Provolone; and Green Pepper, Red Onion and Boursin (see recipe).
Look to the recipes that follow for some other eye-opening menu inspirations.
Breakfast Panini with Georgia Pecans, Cheddar and Sausage
Green Pepper, Red Onion and Boursin Quiche
"Do not cook" Fruit Oatmeal
Savory Onion and Dried Cherry Scones
Seasoned Ham and Cheese Biscuits
Quick Breakfast Muffin Sandwiches
Sausage and Egg Pitas
Creamy Oatmeal with Dried Cherries and Almonds
Cream Scones with Ginger Citrus Glaze
Eggs In A Basket
Ultimate English Muffin
Pear and Swiss Breakfast Frittata