Breakfast is breaking free of its morning meal-only reputation. Consumers’ free-form dining habits are inspiring restaurants to create menus adaptable across mealtimes, according to Packaged Facts’ recent report, “Breakfast and breakfast foods all day: Culinary tracking series.”
A prominent example is McDonald’s all-day breakfast menu, which launched in late 2015. The chain now features typical breakfast-only offerings such as sausage and egg muffins, hash browns, pancakes and breakfast burritos throughout the day, along with its McCafé beverage menu, which includes espresso beverages and new cold-brew frozen coffee.
The all-day breakfast trend has also spurred the growth of “hipster-baiting cereal cafes,” Packaged Facts said, such as Kellogg Co.’s Kellogg’s NYC cereal café in New York. The menu features a do-it-yourself cereal bar with more than 30 toppings, specialty cereal drinks and ice cream sandwiches made with Pop-Tarts. The location even offers an Instagram station where customers may design a set and style their bowl of cereal before photographing it and sharing it on social media.
As breakfast foods branch beyond the morning daypart, new incarnations of biscuits, donuts, waffles and pancakes have also arisen as “artisanal expressions of a new generation’s creativity” that may be eaten at any time of day, Packaged Facts said. Red Robin Gourmet Burgers & Brews, for example, previously served a limited-time chicken and waffles burger called The Bee’s Knees Chicken Finest. The sandwich featured tempura-fried chicken breast glazed in Angry Orchard honey, jalapeño relish, citrus-marinated tomatoes, onions and shredded romaine lettuce on a Belgian waffle bun.
Specialty functional juices, signature breakfast sandwiches and breakfast bowls also are sprouting on menus as options for any time of day. Last August, Chick-fil-A added the Hash Brown Scramble breakfast bowl to its menu, featuring tot-style hash browns, scrambled eggs, sliced Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets or sausage and a blend of Monterey jack and cheddar cheese all served with jalapeño salsa. McDonald’s, Bojangles and Krystal also have offered breakfast bowls within the past two years.
Additionally, global breakfast specialties are making their way onto menus as any-time-of-day options, Packaged Facts said. Dishes such as Asian bao, breakfast banh mi and congee, Mexican chilaquiles and migas, Italian-style fritatas and Middle Eastern shakshuka are on the rise.
“This is an age of all-day breakfast selections that can shapeshift their way through the day, multipurposing for breakfast, lunch, post-work drinks and takeout, dinner and midnight snacks,” said David Sprinkle, research director for Packaged Facts. “Breakfast food menus and retail products can appeal to all budgets, all levels of appetite and all food preferences and dietary requirements.”