Juice, milk, tea or coffee are the first options that come to mind when it comes to breakfast beverages, but the growing popularity of the morning meal means restaurateurs must continue to develop new breakfast drink offerings. Recent efforts from such chains as McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King have shown that the beverage arena is yet another area where restaurants will need to compete with one another. In addition, as more people eat their meals on the go, innovative beverages also can provide a hand-held, easy-to-consume meal-replacement option for consumers who are watching out for their health or for those who are simply on the go.
- Breakfast Smoothie of the Day, $7, Norma’s at the Parker Meridien Hotel, NYC: Customers can expect to get a smoothie of pureed fruit with their breakfast at Norma’s, but they can’t expect it to be the same combination every time they order it. Seasonal fresh fruits and berries are used daily at Norma's to concoct brand new smoothies. Diners also can get a sample of the day’s drink. Past daily smoothies have included honeydew, banana, raspberry and guava as well as bananas, strawberries and peach.
- Caliente Carrot; suggested retail prices are $2.50 for 8 oz., $3.50 for 16 oz., $4.50 for 24 oz.; Juice It Up, all locations in Arizona, California, Florida, Tennessee and Texas: Part of Juice It Up’s Healthy Way™ Juices lineup, the Caliente is made from carrots, tomatoes and jalapenos that are juiced in store. “It’s for the customer that really wants the vitamins and health aspects first thing in the morning,” says vice president of operations Stephen Boud about Juice It Up’s line of Healthy Way™ Juices. According to Boud, the majority of Juice It Up’s juices sell from 6:30 in the morning until regular lunch hours.
- NYC Breakfast; $2.50 for 12oz., $3 for 16oz., $3.50 for 20oz.; Tavlon Tea, NYC: The NYC Breakfast is Tavalon’s take on the Irish Breakfast Tea. While the latter is a black tea, usually made with Ceylon tea from Sri Lanka and Assam tea from India, the NYC Breakfast also incorporates tea from Java, Indonesia. The Java gives the drink a little spiciness and also makes the tea heartier and brighter, according to tea sommelier Chris Cason. “It’s exactly what New York is.” NYC Breakfast is also the base for many of Tavalon’s tea drinks. Customers can order the NYC Breakfast hot or iced or purchase it as a loose tea to enjoy it at home.
- Breakfast Blendz; $3.45 for 12 ounces, $4.45 for 24 ounces; all Blendz locations (California.): Matt Phipps, president of Blendz, says that the reaction is usually surprise when people learn of this smoothie made with soymilk, granola, nonfat frozen yogurt, strawberries and bananas. However, unlike traditional smoothies, which are mainly fruit-based, Phipps says that Breakfast Blendz works as a meal-replacement type of smoothie thanks to the addition of granola. Breakfast Blendz also comes with protein and energy "essentialz," or powdered, tasteless supplements.
- FrostyOrangeHo-J, $4.25, Cafe Zuzu at theHotelValleyHo inScottsdale,Ariz.: Cafe Zuzu offers a smoothie, but another of its breakfast drinks is the Orange Ho-J, which is made by blending fresh-squeezed orange juice with vanilla ice cream.
- Funky Monkey, $3.99 for 16 ounces, Blue Sky Café and Juice Bar, Lakewood, Colo.: Made by blending chocolate milk, bananas and ice, the Funky Monkey might sound more like a dessert drink than something someone would order first thing in the morning, but manager Elvira De La Cruz says the Funky Monkey is ordered as a morning time beverage, usually by kids. De La Cruz also says that the cafe receives and happily complies with requests to split one Funky Monkey between groups of more than one young customer.