Breakfast focus: A good start to the day

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WHETHER OR not they make do with muesli at home, for many people eating out at the start of the day means a proper breakfast.For pubs wanting to show...

WHETHER OR not they make do with muesli at home, for many people eating out at the start of the day means a proper breakfast.

For pubs wanting to show that they take the start-of the-day trade seriously, a traditional cooked breakfast can maximise profit potential.Tony Goodger, foodservice trade manager with the British Pig Executive (BPEX), says: "Offering a premium quality cooked breakfast is an ideal way to encourage customers through the door first thing in the morning.

"Consumers are increasingly seeking assurance on the quality and origin of meat they are eating, so it makes sense to put this information on the menu or specials board."

Provenance and quality will also help to persuade customers who might otherwise think twice about ordering the 'Full Monty'. By using good quality, well sourced, fresh ingredients customers will see a full English breakfast as a special treat," adds Tony.

"A truly great cooked breakfast is a great marketing tool which, if served well can act as a catalyst for multiple repeat visits by the customer and really develop loyalty to your business."

BPEX recommends using good quality, thick- sliced back bacon. Many local butchers cure their own bacon and should be happy to slice it to the desired thickness.

A local cure also gives the pub a point of difference - sweet cure or smoked bacon is ideal for breakfast time.Naturally, a decent breakfast should also include a good traditional pork sausage, with BPEX going for a minimum meat content of 65 per cent.

"This recommendation is based on our own findings which revealed that poor quality sausages reflect badly on the establishment in which they are served rather than the images of sausages in general," says Tony.

"It's also best to avoid the stronger flavoured sausages, such as pork and leek at breakfast time - these are better suited to evening meals."

Other ingredients to complement a cooked breakfast are circles of good quality, fresh black pudding, ideally sourced from a local or specialist butcher, and free range eggs from the farm shop.

With many pubs serving walking and rambling areas, customers on the move may prefer a breakfast sandwich to a full plate. A grilled bacon or sausage sarnie, one of Britain's foodie favourites, will always be popular.

With people increasingly skipping 'the most important meal of the day', there is mileage to be gained by pubs in emphasising the health benefits of breakfast to customer passing by on their way to another busy day at the office.

Mark Irish, development chef at Brakes, says: "People are unaware that after a long period without eating, their blood sugar levels are low.

"Promoting the health benefits of having a good hearty breakfast can be one persuasive way of tempting the customer in and increasing sales with more nutritious options."

Instead of offering a fry-up, Mark suggests a grill-up. By grilling, toasting, scrambling and poaching, the fat content of a traditional breakfast can be reduced by up to 30 per cent - and grilled tomatoes and mushrooms will even help customers obtain their elusive five-a-day.

Aside from revamping the fry up, ensure that you offer the other standard breakfast favourites such as cereals, jams and fruit juices and use semi-skimmed milk instead of full fat.

Andy Phillips, foodservice marketing controller at Kellogg's, says: "There's a huge opportunity for publicans to grow incremental sales through providing more of an all-round breakfast offering. Most establishments now open longer hours, and , it's great to offer something to suit everyone's palate.

"Cooked breakfasts have a place at most out of home breakfast tables, but so too should a healthier continental offering. "We are a nation obsessed with counting calories and more so than ever have become very health-conscious.

"If a hot breakfast is all that's on offer it might put some customers off, which in turn will mean missing out on an incremental profit opportunity. That's why it's important to get the breakfast balance right."

Fruit and cereal

A balanced breakfast is a good time for consumers to get at least two servings of fruit. For instance, one small glass of fruit juice, with raisins, strawberries or a sliced banana sprinkled over cereal, will tick off at least two five-a-day portions with the day barely under way.

Kellogg's Foodservice range includes favourites such as Cornflakes, Rice Krispies, Special K, muesli and Crunchy Nut, in bag and bulk pack formats as well as single-serve.

The Twinpot To Go format is straightforward for pubs to offer, with a serving of cereal, milk and a disposable spoon, all contained in a ready to use bowl. It is available in three brands - Cornflakes, Crunchy Nut and Frosties.

A classic alternative to the fry-up is a smoked kipper, which is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and contains high levels of protein, vitamins and minerals.

"Smoked kippers can be served baked or grilled and are great as a breakfast option.

"It is recommended that we eat at least two portions of fish per week, one of which should be oily fish such as herring, so they can provide a great way to start the day," says Ben Smales, managing director of 3G Food Service & Seafood.

"Our in-house smoked fish are produced to traditional recipes using the best mix of woodchips, giving consistent and distinctive flavours."

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