Breakfast – Eat & Energize

By Meline Beach

WHATEVER YOU SERVE YOUR CUSTOMERS FOR BREAKFAST AS PART OF YOUR FOODSERVICE OFFERING, THERE ARE FIVE GOLDEN GUIDELINES TO FOLLOW FOR SUCCESS IN A CATEGORY THAT IS KNOWN TO BE PROFITABLE, WITH A 50 PER CENT PROFIT MARGIN POTENTIAL

Breakfast means different things to different people. It could be something as simple as a pastry or bagel, something healthy as fresh fruit and yogurt or something as hearty as steak, beans and eggs. The range is far and wide, full and filling or light on calories. Ultimately, it is traditionally the break from fasting through the night. Consumed in the morning, breakfast provides the energy you need to kickstart your day.

Whatever you serve your customers for breakfast as part of your foodservice offering, there are five golden guidelines to follow for success in a category that is known to be profitable, with a 50 per cent profit margin potential – if done right. These golden guidelines are simple and easy to follow, based on feedback from foodservice suppliers, C&G retailers and customers.

All-day breakfast expand your window of serving breakfast items

As the breakfast category continues to experience significant promotion and growth as an all-day occasion, many suppliers and distributors view breakfast as an exciting opportunity that is relatively easy to execute at store level.

‘We feel the C&G channel can execute all-day breakfast as well as anyone and take advantage of the growth opportunity and continuous promotion by QSR,” says Karen Vicenzino, business manager at Canadian Trade House. “We are expanding our line of breakfast sandwiches to include new and interesting varieties and are also working on our breakfast ingredient offerings. Make in-store is a small segment of the market but it has lots of interest and we expect increasing demand.’

Variety of items on the go – hot, cold, baked in-store or prepackaged

Convenience is a c-store’s strength. The intention to buy is greater than the notion to browse. Offering a variety of quick and convenient breakfast items for the on-the-go customer will make it that much easier to secure a sale.

Technomic’s Q4 2017 C-Store MarketBrief reported that 21 per cent of consumers said they would like to see even more foodservice in the c-stores they shop.

Currently, Canadian Trade House sells a variety of breakfast sandwiches under their Hot Stuff brand. They’re prepackaged, shipped frozen and often sold hot and ready to go, or in a refrigerated cooler ready to microwave. Varieties include ham, egg, cheese or sausage, egg, cheese on an English muffin; and sausage, egg, cheese on a biscuit.

“Breakfast sandwiches are very popular and roughly sell in equal amounts,” says Vicenzino. “They are portable, easy to heat, and are the second largest selling foodservice breakfast in Canada – second only to coffee”

McCain features a variety of favourites in the breakfast category as well. In addition to their classic hash browns, McCain serves potato wedges, potato bites and French toast sticks. These items are prepared, heated and served on location.

“Our crispy triangle hash browns – a nostalgic, feel good comfort food – continue to perform extremely well, says McCain Foodservice Director of Marketing Greg Boyer. “They’re well suited to the C&G channel because they’re cost-effective – the bigger shape means they retain heat longer and therefore have a longer hold time. Like several of our products, triangle hash browns can be baked or fried so the operator doesn’t need to have a deep fryer to offer them.”

Johnsonville Sausages, as a relatively new supplier to the Canadian C&G channel, has a line of both prepackaged and fresh foodservice offerings.

“Our fresh and fully cooked pork and turkey breakfast patties and links are available in a variety of flavours, such as original recipe, Vermont Maple Syrup, Brown Sugar & Honey and French Toast,” says Craig Yoder, senior associate brand manager at Johnsonville. “As a new entrant to the C&G channel in Canada, our team is dedicated to offering the Canadian consumer a breakfast sausage that they will love and crave any time of day.”

Consider combos pair food with food or food with drink

Whether it’s a food item with a beverage or multiple food items paired together, consumers like the idea of getting a deal and combos have the ability to create that perception. Be it a bagel and a coffee or a sandwich with hash browns.

“People respond positively to specials, so operators should try offering hash browns as part of a combo, for example, with a breakfast sandwich,” says Boyer. “McCain research shows that consumers are more likely to spend a little more money to take advantage of specials.”

Consistency know what works well and stick with it

Osvaldo (Ozzie) Mucciarelli of Avondale Foods in St. Catharines knows the power of consistency very well. He has been baking his wife Bernadine’s famous banana bread recipe in-store for many years and has created quite the reputation among the Avondale Foods franchise and his local community.

On average, Mucciarelli bakes 50-60 loaves every day, across a few varieties, averaging over $60,000 worth in sales a year. While he starts as early as 6 a.m., Mucciarelli bakes throughout the day, knowing the aroma helps generate sales.

“I want to bottle the smell of fresh baked banana bread,” says Mucciarelli, who’s been in the c-store business for 53 years, 45 of which with Avondale Foods. “People buy as soon as they come out of the oven.”

His positive energy, great banana bread and overall camaraderie, has created quite a loyal customer base – many of whom travel a fair distance or gather every morning for their breakfast together.

“Whether you require basic food essentials, fresh fruit or flowers, or you want to indulge in a loaf of the best homemade banana bread in town, Ozzie’s Avondale Foods is the place to go with the greatest customer service,” says Lisa Borg, a St. Catharines resident and loyal customer. “There are a number of Avondale stores in the Niagara region however, this one sparkles clean, is well organized and smells delicious with its in-store baking. I will travel across town to his store specifically for these reasons.”

Quality Control strive for perfection

Many foodservice suppliers provide product information, cooking and handling instructions as well as val  ue-added solutions and promotional offers to help foodservice programs at store level.

“We find that to be successful, consumers need to understand products on-site with minimal explanation,” says Boyer. “Location, prominence in-store and proximity to the cash register are important factors for a successful foodservice program.”

Vicenzino adds: “Retailers need to pay attention to merchandising and basic quality control. There needs to be a reasonable number of sandwiches available and on display. Consumers don’t like buying the last one if only one is on display. Proper heating or refrigeration and product rotation practices need to be followed to ensure customers experience the product in its best condition.”

In-store preparations following manufacturer instructions also require specific attention and contribute to quality control.

“Our fresh products are recommended to be prepared on either a stovetop or oven and should be thawed prior to cooking for the best flavor and product experience,” says Yoder. “The sausage needs to be cooked until the internal temperature (checked with a thermometer) of 160 degrees Fahrenheit which typically takes 12-16 minutes.”

As the breakfast category continues to grow and offers a lucrative profit margin for C&G retailers, these golden guidelines are really golden rules for success.

Meline Beach is a Toronto-based communications practitioner and frequent contributor to Convenience & Carwash Canada. In addition to freelance writing, Meline provides communications and public relations support to businesses across Canada. She can be reached at www.mlbcomms.ca