Southwest Breakfast Wrap
Eggs occupy an impressive amount of space on restaurant breakfast menus, and it doesn’t seem likely that will change anytime soon. Recently, the American Egg Board (AEB) and the Egg Nutrition Center teamed up with The NPD Group and AEB culinary advisor, research chef Walter Zuromski, to compile a list of top egg trends for 2013. Restaurant operators may profit from several of the ideas the group identified.
The long history of diner slang for eggs (also known as hen berries) demonstrates the many ways customers like them: Adam and Eve on a raft (two poached eggs on toast); flop two (fried eggs); kiss the pan (over-easy); scrape two, or wreck ‘em (scrambled); and cluck and grunt (eggs and bacon). (Visit www.dinerlingo.com for more diner slang.) Meanwhile, here are five egg trends to keep in mind this year.
1. Eggs are protein powerhouses for all dayparts. At breakfast, eggs are a convenient protein, lending themselves to menu items like portable breakfast bowls and hand-held specialties such as egg sandwiches and wraps.
2. Eggs are “on the grow” at restaurants. Over the past five years, quick-service restaurants’ shares of breakfast sales have risen by 8 percent and continue to lead the way. Egg breakfast menu items have increased by 20 percent. The American Egg Board reports that breakfast has outperformed lunch and dinner and remains a bright spot in terms of traffic and sales. Also, with more families frequenting QSRs, expect to see new platters, bowls and skillet dishes rising to the top of these menus.
3. Eggs go global as chefs develop innovative egg dishes featuring fresh vegetables and ethnic flavors. According to the National Restaurant Association’s “What’s Hot in 2013 ” culinary survey, ethnic-inspired breakfast items occupy the number 14 spot on the top 20 trends list. Latin flavors include the chorizo and egg tortas served at Rick Bayless’ newest restaurant, XOCO, and the Santa Fe bagel sandwich at Bruegger’s Bagels, combining eggs, sausage and jalapeno cream cheese.
4. Eggs go mobile with food truck menus, with more food trucks focusing on breakfast as a way to break into the category without competing in the saturated lunch day part. Consumers are attracted by culinary creativity and menu items such as egg sandwiches on brioche and flatbreads, meats like pork belly and pulled pork paired with eggs, crepes, luxurious pancake varieties such as maple bacon and red velvet, and doughnuts.
5. Eggs get fried. In fact, fried egg menu items increased 20 percent at chains such as ‘wichcraft and Dunkin’ Donuts in the past year. At quick-service and casual-dining restaurants, expect to see upgraded quality and ingredients paired with eggs — avocados, mushrooms, flavored sausages and upscale cheeses. Think Panera Bread’s sausage and Gouda baked egg soufflé. Also look for upgraded prep techniques and menu items like toasted breads and fried eggs.
For more egg ideas from the American Egg Board, visit www.aeb.org. You can find information about egg nutrition and the role of eggs in the American diet at www.eggnutritioncenter.org.