With consumers returning to work and kids going back to school, the opportunity to bolster breakfast is here. Wake up customers and see sales shine with cost-effective, quick-prep menu ideas.

The “most important meal of the day” went on the back burner for a lot of restaurants during the pandemic. Now, according to recent survey research, roughly a quarter of consumers are eating more breakfast than they were in the pandemic, and almost half say they’re seeking breakfast comfort foods. Get sales going in the morning with these tips for affordable, quick, and flavorful breakfast options.

BYO Breakfast

These days, diners are all about customizable options and experiences tailored to them. By offering a build-your-own breakfast bowl, you can bring that element into your morning menu with ingredients that you already have. Consider a base of crispy potatoes topped with eggs, sausage, shredded cheese and veggies, fruit smoothie bowls, or even an on-trend biscuit bar. Of course, keeping it simple with a build-your-own breakfast sandwich featuring different meat, bread, and topping options could be a popular revenue driver as well.

On the Go

Grab-and-go will always be in demand for the morning rush. It’s an easy option for consumers and another way to ramp up sales with minimal costs and prep time. Fruit parfaits, overnight oats, and pre-made smoothies make for easy and healthy to-go items. A box of muffins or bagels with cream cheese spreads is perfect for the corporate crowd and snack bars or wrapped burritos work well for younger groups or early morning gym-goers.

Brunch in a Box

The rise of to-go meal and drink kits was born out of necessity during COVID, and the demand for them appears to be steady. Reports indicate that nearly 40 percent of consumers want a breakfast or brunch meal kit or take-and-bake breakfast to eat at home. And by using products and ingredients already on your menu, you can put together several options without hurting your bottom line.

Breakfast casseroles are cost-effective but very popular and versatile for just about any dietary preference. Trays of cinnamon rolls, breakfast pizza kits, biscuits with jams, gravy, and other toppings, or quiche also make smart options for the early bird on the go. Offer craft coffee, fresh pressed juices, brunch cocktails, and savory and sweet sides as add-ons for a chance to upsell.

International Breakfast

Bring international flavors to your breakfast menu by spicing up the staples with ready-made spices, sauces, and other no-prep bases. Trending on TikTok, the North African dish shakshuka is a super flavorful, but easy dish to put together and can be served as a shareable. Scotch eggs, or latkes with all the fixings are other great sharable options for the entire table to enjoy.

Want to bring a bit of a fancier element to brunch without the added cost? Consider adding a taste of France with glazed beignets featuring Roma® candied pepperoni or stuffed crepes with Empire's Treasure® salmon, cream cheese, hot sauce, sour cream, and chives.

Follow the Trends

This year’s breakfast trends incorporate dessert elements into breakfast dishes. Think cookie butter or Nutella pancakes, lemon pound cake with frosting, crepes with fruit filling, or raspberry oatmeal cookies.

All-day breakfast is also trending, so consider serving it all day long on Sunday or late night to test drive it. Of course, we can’t talk about trends without mentioning nostalgia, especially when it comes to breakfast foods. With consumers craving breakfast foods that remind them of their childhood, creating a “Breakfast Blast from the Past” special like spam and egg hash, French toast sticks and syrup, or homemade pop tarts can cater to that demand and increase check averages.

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