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The Foodservice Breakfast Opportunity

Breakfast is big business. Take advantage of its potential.

What is breakfast? For some consumers it’s a slice of toast and a cup of coffee or a piece of cold pizza. For others, it’s a hearty grain bowl, a fruit-and-yogurt smoothie or blended juice, or a plate of bacon and eggs with hash browns and an English muffin. And for some, it’s not even necessarily the first meal of the day.

But First, Coffee

According to the Fall 2023 National Coffee Data Trends report from the National Coffee Association, 81% of American coffee drinkers drink coffee with breakfast, and Americans drink more coffee every day (63%) than any other beverage.

To leverage the sales potential of this breakfast—and daily—staple, ensure you have simple drip and specialty hot and iced coffees available for a variety of taste preferences. Don’t forget flavored syrups and a variety of creamers, including plant-based creamers, which offer grab-and-go convenience with an extra boost of coffee customization.

Variety Is the Spice of Breakfast

As traditional a meal as breakfast is, variety is still top-of-mind for many when they enjoy it away from home. Increasingly, that variety includes signature dishes and unique specialties that run the gamut from indulgent to global, along with more traditional favorites such as eggs and bacon, pancakes, juices, and hot and cold cereal. Even these familiar items can be made more craveable and distinctive with upgrades and interesting flavors and ingredients.

With an increased desire for convenience and all-day breakfast options, a growing number of restaurants and other foodservice establishments are offering more breakfast menu variety, signature specialties, and healthier options to cater to changing consumer demands.

Breakfast trends such as global flavors, regional breakfast specialties, premium coffee and juice offerings, self-service grab-and-go, and catering options offer the potential for added growth and innovation in the breakfast market.

Offering patrons a mix of both familiar and adventurous breakfast offerings will help satisfy diners at all hours and with differing preferences.

Ready to start breakfast? Here are some ideas to get you going:

  1. Breakfast sandwiches
  2. Breakfast tacos
  3. Breakfast pizza
  4. Frittatas
  5. Eggs Benedict
  6. Specialty coffees (hot and iced)
  7. Teas (hot and iced)
  8. Huevos Rancheros
  9. Omelet
  10. Biscuits
  11. Steak and eggs
  12. Quiche
  13. Grain bowls
  14. Waffles
  15. Chicken and waffles
  16. Pancakes
  17. Smoothies
  18. Premium juices
  19. Breakfast burrito
  20. Cinnamon rolls
  21. Acai bowls
  22. Premium donuts
  23. Oatmeal
  24. Yogurt parfait
  25. Bagel

Can your customers customize items to allow for their specialized dietary needs? Offer a meat-free breakfast sandwich for vegetarians, plant-based milks for coffee and tea drinkers, and low-cal options for those watching their calories. With simple swaps and a few thoughtfully designed dishes, most menus can work for everyone.

Sometimes, offering new breakfast menu items can be a challenge, particularly when labor is tight, but operators can address the need for more variety and creativity while saving on labor by trying the following:

  1. Start with a limited menu
  2. Cross-utilize ingredients
  3. Utilize speed-scratch products
  4. Standardize your breakfast recipes to save time
  5. Try to focus cooking to one station (a griddle, for example)


The information provided is based on a general industry overview and is not specific to your business operation. Each business is unique, and decisions related to your business should be made after consultation with appropriate experts.

Globalize Your Breakfast Menu

The globalization of American cuisine has come to the first meal of the day. Learn how ethnic and regional flavors are changing breakfast menus.