Sponsored by Cholula Foodservice.
A growing number of foodservice operators are taking a broader approach to breakfast by expanding service hours and adding breakfast foods to lunch and dinner menus.
Many are interpreting breakfast fare more broadly as well. Operators realize that the daypart can provide an appealing platform for global foods and flavors, including bold, spicy elements and classic ingredients like eggs, bacon and pancakes.
They are motivated by the opportunity of breakfast, which has outperformed other dayparts in the last few years. A Mintel trends report last year found over 50 percent of consumers were ordering breakfast foods from foodservice establishments more often than a year earlier. What’s more, total breakfast occasions are projected to grow by 5 percent through 2019, surpassing the U.S. expected population growth of 4 percent, according to the NPD Group.
At The Original 46 Gastropub in Bluffton, South Carolina, chicken and waffles with Cholula Original Hot Sauce is chef-partner Dustin Ricker’s small-plate interpretation of a breakfast/brunch classic. He nestles savory fried chicken between waffle quarters with cheddar and scallions, and presents them on a plate painted with streaks of Cholula Original. That artistry lends striking visual appeal as well as palate-pleasing spiciness.
“I love to cook with big, bold flavors, and Cholula really fits that profile,” says Ricker.
Bold flavors and good-for-you ingredients are the hallmarks of Protein Bar and Kitchen, a 19-unit, Chicago-based restaurant chain known for fast, healthy bowls, salads, wraps and protein smoothies.
Illustrative of its fare is the Mexicali breakfast, which features scrambled eggs with lively fixings and the Mexicali Bowl with all-natural chicken, avocado, corn, black beans and flavorful Cholula sauce.
Protein Bar patrons love to customize their food with a few pumps from self-serve Cholula Original dispensers in the dining room. Companywide, the chain orders 6,350 half-gallon containers of Cholula per year, according to Kate Rettker, senior marketing manager of Protein Bar.
“Our guests are comfortable putting Cholula on just about everything, other than our smoothies,” says Rettker.
Wildflower Bread Company, a 14-unit, Scottsdale, Arizona-based fast casual chain, is known for breakfast items that are light, on-trend and vivid in flavor. Two of its biggest hits are a Spicy Chipotle Egg Sandwich, with scrambled eggs, sausage, sundried tomatoes, feta, spinach and Cholula Chipotle Hot Sauce on a grilled brioche roll and the Protein Bowl, which features sunny eggs served over sautéed organic quinoa, sausage, slow-roasted tomatoes, spinach and scallions. Although Wildflower offerings have plenty of zest, a significant number of patrons, especially millennials, like to add a few shakes of Cholula Hot Sauce to their dishes. Up to 25 percent of guests customize their food that way, says Brendon Franko, vice president of supply chain for Wildflower.
In the kitchen Wildflower also plans to use Cholula Original in shishito sweet pepper aioli on an egg-topped grilled salmon sandwich which it is developing for the summer lunch menu.
To Franko, the Cholula Hot Sauce brand and flavor profiles seem more relevant and top-of-mind for millennials than other brands. “They really gear toward the millennials,” says Franko. “And that is the clientele that we want to attract more of. If there is anybody with expendable money these days, it is the millennials.”
However, the appeal of Cholula, which also is available in Chili Lime, Chili Garlic and Green Pepper varieties, extends to those even younger. Take Franko’s own preteen children, who he says enjoy Cholula on eggs and burritos. “The younger generations want flavor and spice,” says Franko. “All the high flavor profile ingredients stand out to them.”
Breakfast service and tastes also are expanding at the University of California, Santa Barbara, which has about 23,000 students on a coastal campus 100 miles northwest of Los Angeles.
An expanded breakfast program at a new dining unit opening in the fall at UC Santa Barbara will introduce breakfast-type foods in the lunch daypart, a boon for students too rushed to eat breakfast in the morning. “That will be a great alternative for so many people who just grab a [breakfast] bar or a shake and head off to class,” says Dusty Cooper, senior executive chef at UC Santa Barbara.
Students already embrace breakfast foods later in the day in themed menu promotions and late-night menus. “It’s what our students are asking for, so we want to provide more,” Cooper says.
The new breakfast program, expected to be well received on campus, will also feature innovative menu items with spicy flavor profiles. In addition, the school will offer self-serve condiment and spice bars with piquant flavorings, such as Cholula Hot Sauces, for those who wish to make final adjustments to their meals.
“It is great to see people broadening their palates,” says Cooper. “A level of heat is acceptable on certain dishes, especially here in California. We like to play with that and have some fun.”
Typical of the spicy fare in vogue at the school are roasted pork chilaquiles with chile verde and cilantro, and shakshuka, a Middle Eastern-inspired dish of eggs cooked with tomatoes, garlic and chiles. “We’re looking at Cholula Chili Garlic for that,” says Cooper of the latter. “To me, it is the perfect dish to bridge breakfast and lunch.”
From America’s restaurants to the dining halls of academe, broader interpretations of breakfast are fueling greater business opportunities for operators and more enjoyment for customers. In all segments one of the brightest spots is the creative use of boldly flavored condiments, seasonings and spices, both in recipes and as customizers at the table.