Breakfast Made Simple:
By Meline Beach
Quick & Easy Ideas
There is plenty of room for improvement when it comes to daily breakfast habits. While it’s the most common meal of the day to skip, it’s something that can easily be picked up on-the-go at your local c-store.
According to Statista, a Germany company specializing in market and consumer data, on-the-go breakfast products are forecasted to reach $1.8 billion U.S. dollars by 2026. It is one of the fastest growing categories and a major focus in the foodservice industry. It only makes sense that c-stores, who are known for and relied upon for their convenient location and speed of service, would want to gain market share in this category. While not all c-stores have realized the profit potential with a breakfast program, some stores, such as Rabba Fine Foods, Big Dog Convenience and Circle K, are reaping the benefits from a simple offering to something more substantial.
“While our Fresh Food Fast program is fairly new, our breakfast offering includes options that are ready to eat now or heat and eat later,” says Terry Frei, director North American Food for Circle K. “This includes a choice of 10 sandwiches, fresh baked pastries, and of course our freshly brewed 100 per cent sustainably sourced coffee.”
Hot or cold quality coffee and tea success depend on reliable equipment, service, maintenance and quality ingredients.
Circle K boasts about its 100 per cent sustainably sourced coffee program that gives tools, training, and services to coffee farmers to help build long-term sustainability. As a self-serve option, in a designated area of the store, Circle K customers can select a fresh brewed cup of coffee at the push of a button – between medium roast house blend, dark roast 100 per cent Columbian, medium roast Texas pecan, hazel nut, decaf or iced coffee. A self-serve coffee/tea station can be low maintenance. However, the area must be kept clean and free of clutter.
While its fresh food offering is currently only available at select stores, Circle K is looking for opportunities to expand their foodservice program and make their stores a destination of choice for breakfast as it gains popularity among its customers on the go.
Classic breakfast sandwiches are portable and easy to heat.
A food offering open to innovative ingredients, breakfast sandwiches are top sellers, next to coffee.
For a price range of $3.99 to $5.99 with a ‘’two for’’ special offering, Circle K customers can enjoy breakfast items served hot or out of the chill case, including any of the following 10 sandwiches: sausage, egg, cheese on a croissant, biscuit or English muffin; ham, egg, cheese muffin, or croissant; egg, cheese wheat muffin; sausage, fried egg, cheese waffle; Canadian bacon, egg, cheese muffin; sausage, bacon, egg, Pepper Jack pretzel roll; and brunch burger.
“All items are made by an outside supplier and delivered frozen, but they are prepared on site to ensure they are fresh for the day ahead between 6 a.m. and 10 a.m.,” says Frei. “After 10 a.m., there are a number of other food offerings for customers throughout the day including pizza and taquitos to help fuel customers no matter the time of day.”
Rabba Fine Foods, established in the 1960s, has been serving breakfast since its start. The family-owned enterprise has a network of 35 locations across the Greater Toronto Area. For a range of two dollars to $10, customers can enjoy made-to-order, traditional Rabba kitchen recipes with custom toppings, including egg sandwiches served on a croissant, flat wrap, pita, or toast. Ready-made breakfast sandwiches can be found in grab and go cases for those in a hurry. Breakfast items displayed within reach of the coffee offering or paired with a hot beverage also achieves positive sales results. Consumers like the idea of getting a deal and combos have the ability to create that perception.
Completely customer-centric, Rabba features a variety of its carefully curated assortment of favourite recipes from around the world on its website, including its superfruit smoothie, cheesy fruit bars and breakfast taco, featuring eggs, bacon, whole wheat tortillas, cheese, sour cream, avocado and taco seasoning.
Tasty pastries and other baked goods are simple offerings.
Ramona Roberts, owner and operator of Big Dog Convenience in Prince Edward Island, offers customers a traditional banana bread as a breakfast offering. Her local commissary serves this small batch recipe freshly baked to her four locations, plus an additional six stores across the province.
Delivered three times a week to ensure freshness, this wholesome banana bread is served as an inch thick slice, wrapped in cellophane and sold near the coffee machine for under two dollars each.
“Our customers love our homestyle banana bread, made with real bananas and all the health benefits it offers,” says Roberts, who for years was selling it as a mini loaf before wrapping it as slices, when sales skyrocketed 300 per cent. “Slices were more reasonable and are heavily relied upon as a year-round staple product for our customers.”
Rabba offers a variety of goods baked early in the morning and throughout the day as needed, from frozen to ensure consistency. Customer favourites include butter, chocolate and multigrain croissants, sweet pastries, including turnovers, fruits sticks and cookies, and a variety of muffins, such as bran, carrot, banana nut and chocolate chip.
Their staff are trained food handlers and prepare in-house fresh fruit salads using its own produce, such as grapes, strawberries, melons, oranges and kiwis. Also assembled in-house are yogurt parfaits featuring vanilla yogurt with fresh fruit or granola on top.
“Our philosophy is ‘here for you,’ local market, and we are committed to delivering that need across all categories,” says Rima Rabba, marketing and communications manager at Rabba Fine Foods. “Our early morning customers appreciate accessing everything they need for their first meal of the day during their early morning commute.”
The powerful effect of aroma, especially of freshly brewed coffee and baked pastries can lure a loyal customer base.
Franchised option with a recognizable brand helps increase foot traffic.
In addition to its in-house offering, Rabba is home to 10 Tim Hortons locations, which also offers their full breakfast menu. The partnership between both brands, which started in 2015, has been well-received by customers.
Partnering with a recognizable brand that provides experience, expertise and strong operational support can boost sales results by attracting a higher level of foot traffic. A retailer’s role would be to ensure available space and a commitment to quality and professional execution.
It’s never too late to boost your profits with an effective breakfast foodservice offering. You can keep it simple or more elaborate – it just depends on knowing what your customers want and the effort you’re willing to put into it. What’s key to its success is consistency – in quality, cleanliness and fast and friendly service.
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