Sponsored by Tyson Jimmy Dean
After double-digit traffic declines during the height of the pandemic, the morning daypart finally rebounded earlier this year. Now, with more people returning to work, school and the morning food commute, restaurant operators are scrambling to meet breakfast demand.
According to The NPD Group, industrywide breakfast traffic increased 5% in February compared with a 12% decline a year ago. Online and physical orders for breakfast at quick-service restaurants, which account for 88% of total foodservice traffic in the morning, increased 6% compared with an 11% decline year ago.
While high demand is a good problem to have, it arrives at a time when operators are still faced with many lingering pandemic problems, such as continued staff shortages and supply chain challenges. Additionally, ingredient prices increased by nearly 8% in February 2022, which the USDA reports was the largest price jump in one year since July 1981.
How, then, can restaurant operators reduce labor, offset rising food costs and still provide culinary teams with a clear path to creating varied morning menus? Here are a few ways operators can adapt:
- Streamline the menu. As the restaurant industry resets, menu streamlining—cutting SKUs and reducing the number of menu items—has emerged as a trend in the spotlight, according to the National Restaurant Association’s What Hot 2022 report. It also happens to be very practical and economical. By downsizing the menu, operators can order ingredients in bulk, realizing economies of scale, and increase speed of service. Some might mourn the loss of a favorite item, but most customers won’t miss the old 12-page menu.
- Double down. After you’ve trimmed your menu of what’s not working—in terms of kitchen staff’s time and efforts and profits—consider investing in innovative products that can do double, or even triple duty. For example, Jimmy Dean recently introduced new Jimmy Dean Sausage Tots, classic tator tots filled with savory sausage that fry-up in minutes and work as sides, loaded into an egg and cheese burrito or as a stand-alone, on-the-go snack.
- Buy pre-made or heat-and-serve. Just because it’s tough to find sufficient skilled worker, doesn't mean operators have to sacrifice food quality, menu variety or speedy service. Turn to speed-scratch processes that can improve efficiencies while still maintaining quality. For example, instead of shredding potatoes for home fries, buying pre-made home fries is a less labor-intense option. Another option is using high-quality heat-and-serve proteins, such as Jimmy Dean’s Heat N’ Serve Fully Cooked Breakfast Sausage Patties, which go from the fridge to the grill or convection oven to customers’ bellies with less prep time and less cook time—all the while delivering great tasting, high-quality morning meal side or center-of-the-plate item.
- Give customers a hand(held). Breakfast sandwiches, long the most popular morning menu item, are an important part of any limited-service restaurant’s menu. Portable, all-in-one meals can be a win-win for eaters and operators—if the offerings are interesting, don’t include hard-to-source, high-price specialty ingredients and don’t necessitate a ton of labor. Fortunately, there are a growing number of brands making products that deliver. Jimmy Dean, offers a variety of breakfast sandwiches pre-made with creative carriers combined with popular proteins, such as Sausage, Egg & Cheese Croissants and Bacon, Egg & Cheese Biscuits.
- Top-notch to go. With take-out representing 37% of off-premise orders, an increase of 2% in 2021, operators need solutions to serve a lot of customers quickly, and make it easier on kitchen staff. One solution many operators are turning to is prioritizing packaging, focusing on sustainable packaging that keeps food intact during transit, and packaging that holds temperature—all important when consumers are grabbing breakfast for the road. An even simpler solution for grab-and-go might be individually packaged goods, such as Jimmy Dean’s Individually Wrapped Ham, Egg & Cheese Muffin Sandwiches.
In the end, any way that operators can reduce operational pressures on back-of-the-house—be it trimming the menu, doubling down on multi-use products or even switching to individually wrapped grab-n-go items—is a good way to bring back breakfast and boost profits.
> Looking for more ways to bring breakfast back to your restaurants? Visit the Tyson Foodservice website today.