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Global Good Mornings
August 3, 2012
In the last few years an increasing number of restaurants have broken into or expanded their offerings at breakfast, leaving many operators scrambling to find new ways to differentiate their egg-laden menus from the competition. So how can operators better compete for consumers hungry for restaurant-made breakfast? The answer, some are finding, is to go global.
Traditional items, including eggs, turkey bacon, breakfast sandwiches and omelets, are still morning menu favorites; however, ethnic items and flavors are a top trend on breakfast menus according to Datassential MenuTrends, which tracks more than one million items on menus at chains and independent restaurants.
Mexican cuisine has the most prevalent influence on a.m. menus, followed by Mediterranean. Breakfast burritos are the most popular and appear on a quarter of all breakfast menus. Burritos, huevos rancheros, chilaquiles and tacos have been the fastest growing breakfast items in the last four years. Chorizo, a Mexican sausage, is a fast growing ingredient, appearing on 10 percent more breakfast menus than just four years ago. Top Mediterranean items menued at breakfast include crêpes, quiche and frittatas.
While consumers want ethnic flavors, they don’t want Americanized ethnic fare. Research reveals that when buying ethnic fare, the majority of consumers say authentic or traditional flavors are important to them.
The growth in popularity of ethnic flavors and foods is largely due to Americans’ increased exposure to diverse cultures over the last two decades. Ethnic foods and ingredients—everything from chorizo to feta cheese to sushi—that were once exotic are now more mainstream. Mexican items are popular because the cuisine is so familiar to consumers. Mediterranean items are also growing in popularity due to their perceived health halo. Menu watchers predict that as consumers continue to be exposed to more diverse cultures, additional ethnic cuisines will begin to migrate to morning menus.
With the demand for ethnic fare on restaurant menus expected to continue to increase, operators who want to capitalize on the trend will need to spice up their morning menus. Some chains have seen success by offering consumers global good mornings:
The opportunity here is clear: operators who menu the ethnic flavors consumers crave will find more and more consumers waking up to global good eats at their restaurants.