Wake-Up Call

By Sheila McWattie

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Breakfast Full breakfast

A breakfast brunch club sandwich is among menu ideas from BPEX
A breakfast brunch club sandwich is among menu ideas from BPEX
Sheila McWattie looks at ideas for making your breakfast and brunch sales rise and shine

Breakfast bar 

At Peach Pubs’ the White Horse in Harpenden, Hertfordshire, free toast with tea and coffee was attracting morning trade but manager Sam Aylard spotted an opportunity for growth and profit. The breakfast menu was expanded in January to include a Breakfast Bar section for £5, offering any or all of a wide range of items such as porridge, fresh fruit, toast, bagels, croissants, cereals, juices, tea and coffee. “Some have a giant breakfast, but most customers just enjoy one or two good-value items,” says Aylard. She sees 10 to 20 customers — mainly women — who come in for breakfast, usually after walking their dogs, in time for the pub opening. “Families sometimes book a big table before going shopping at the weekend.”

Link your offer with festivals

A full all-day Irish breakfast added a point of difference and helped double usual trade at the Water Poet in Spitalfields, east London, on St Patrick’s Day this year. The freehold can cater for 400 people and attracts regulars who look forward to its annual bashes. Bookings manager Charlotte Prior says: “Everybody likes to go crazy sometimes, and on St Patrick’s Day we offered people the chance to do that here with an all-day Irish breakfast until 5pm and a Guinness Bar in our spacious garden. It worked well alongside televised rugby.” The pub’s breakfast featured sausages, bacon, Clonakilty black and white pudding, boxty, fried eggs and soda bread for £10.50, and 100 were sold on St Patrick’s Day.

BBQ brekkie

At freehold the Kings Head in East Bergholt, Suffolk, bank holiday celebrations this weekend will include a sausage and bacon breakfast barbecue on Sunday (25 May) and Monday, 26 May. The pub is offering the novel brekkie to boost customer dwell time and urges people to enjoy a Sunday roast or more barbecued food later, as well as participating in the village’s annual pram race on the Monday. The breakfast barbie is available from 10am until 11.30am, followed by a traditional barbecue from noon until 5pm on Sunday, and from noon until late on Monday.

It’s a wrap for healthy diners 

BPEX foodservice trade sector manager Tony Goodger says wraps and flatbreads should not be considered a lunch-only option anymore. He adds: “Having wraps at breakfast is gaining in popularity. Many pubs are developing their breakfast menus to ensure customers start the day with a nutritious, filling meal that will keep them going until lunch.“There’s no reason why publicans have to limit themselves to traditional breakfast options such as cereal and toast. Freshly-cooked dishes are great alternatives.” For more information and breakfast recipe ideas, visit

Mission Foods suggests pub caterers offer a range of breakfast wraps. Consumers could try a selection of fillings such as: bacon; hash brown; onion; mushroom; and tomato. Making breakfast wraps to order ensures all ingredients are fresh, and this could be a real selling point with customers.

Tortilla wraps are often perceived as a lighter alternative to bread, so serving a selection of breakfast wraps should entice those consumers looking for a healthier option. There are also a range of fillings pubs can offer that will appeal to the health-conscious, such as Quorn sausage and scrambled egg white; or roasted tomato, onion and mushroom. For an ideal brunch filling packed with goodness, try chipolata sausages with cannellini beans, apple, spring onions and a touch of pesto.

Jazz brunch boosts trade

When he and his business partner Philip Rees took over the Queen Victoria, in Rottingdean, East Sussex, Enterprise co-tenant Ian Wilson knew they had to win over customers with their offering, which is based on traditional English dishes instead of the previous Caribbean food. “Saturday afternoons were quiet so when a local jazz pianist approached us we decided to launch a jazz brunch, to attract locals and become a shoppers’ dining destination. Word of mouth is powerful here and we advertise on our A-board and flyers. After four weeks we had 50 diners and standing room only. Drinks sales have quadrupled and our Bloody Mary goes down particularly well. Brighton-based customers are travelling more than four miles for the brunch, with some customers returning every week.”

Meeting families’ expectations

At Young’s managed pub the Clock House, in Dulwich, south-east London, manager Aaron Carter has doubled month-on-month brunch trade since taking over in February by evolving a menu to satisfy increasing numbers, and the expectations of young families moving into the area. Grapefruit and mint with ginger and brown sugar (£3) is just one of the light dishes available to customers in the morning, including healthy-eating mums. A baby massage and singing class are weekly treats for youngsters whose parents enjoy getting together, having light meals such as eggs Benedict (£8.50) — often staying on for lunch — and sharing updates via social media and their local website forum.

Go local to boost business 

Julian Newick has increased overall trade by up to 25% in the first 18 months since opening his second freehold, the Chapel, in Broadstairs, Kent. His success has been fuelled by opening at 11am in the winter and at 8.30am from late spring to offer very high-quality hot drinks alongside locally-made pâtisserie. Newick sources most of the products for his two Kent pubs locally, but has branched out to London to obtain next-day delivery of coffee, roasted to his specifications. The breakfast offer fits perfectly, he says, with the second-hand bookshop he took on when he bought the building — which was originally a chapel — and newspapers are also provided.


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