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Welcome Back Employees with More Breakfast Options

Photo credit information: 75633734 | Michael Hunt | Dreamstime

Breakfast has long been considered the most important meal of the day. It’s also become a meal that’s enjoyed at all times of the day, both on the go and in sit-down form.

During the pandemic and its subsequent lockdown periods, first responders and essential workers fueled the demand for grab-and-go breakfast options, and location-based micro markets became go-to destinations for satisfying round-the-clock hunger. Meanwhile, workers quarantining at home and freed from their commutes transitioned from handheld breakfast items to more substantial fare, embracing what Whole Foods has called the “epic breakfast every day” trend.

Indulgence also proved to be a defining trend of 2020. The year’s list of most-ordered breakfast foods, per Statista, revealed significant growth for sweet items like acai bowls (up 353% year over year) and frozen mocha beverages (+336%). Ranking three through five, respectively, were chorizo burritos (up 304%), potato pancakes (+264%) and strawberry banana smoothies (+216%).

These shifts in breakfast consumption habits are likely to continue as Americans return to the workplace, gather in groups and more. Following are eight pandemic-inspired tips and trends to help micro market operators rethink and re-energize their breakfast programs in the new (post-pandemic) normal.

1. Follow this tried-and-true path to success

Micro market and vending operators have always looked to restaurants to see what’s trending. But for restaurant operators, last year was all about survival, resulting in less innovation and a resurgence in comfort food favorites. According to a National Restaurant Association survey of its members, breakfast items were top sellers during the pandemic, along with burgers, pizza, and chicken dishes. Micro market operators should follow these cues and stock their shelves with these and other staples.

2. Look to chains for inspiration

Full-service chains already established in the breakfast space, such as IHOP and Denny’s, have long offered all-day-breakfast menus to satisfy consumer cravings for breakfast food at lunch and dinner. Wendy’s, McDonald’s, Dunkin’, Starbucks and Panera recently followed suit, expanding their breakfast menu offerings and re-engineering certain items to be more portable. Many of these chains—including McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Denny’s, IHOP and Panera—also began offering delivery during breakfast hours. And IHOP announced a new fast casual spinoff called Flip’d that targets customers who want breakfast on the go, serving up reimagined IHOP-inspired items like pancake bowls, egg sandwiches and breakfast burritos. Like these restaurant leaders, micro market operators should provide creative breakfast options with round-the-clock appeal.

3. Stock this staple in the cooler section

Hard boiled eggs, a timeless better-for-you snack option, were among the biggest breakfast sellers in micro markets in 2020. An excellent source of protein and other nutrients, this snack is inexpensive to produce and easy to eat on the go. Hard boiled eggs should be a core item in a micro market planogram.

4. Add plant-based choices to your menu

Seeking alternatives to pork, beef and poultry, more Americans (meat-lovers among them) are choosing more plant protein sources—including beans, legumes and whole grains—along with plant-based meat substitutes. About 28% of people surveyed by the International Food Information Council in June 2020 said they’re eating more plant proteins than they did the year prior. From snack bars and cereal bowls to breakfast sandwiches and platters, there’s a growing number of plant-based options for micro market operators to stock.

5. Keep it fresh for the grab, scan, heat and go customer

Since their inception more than a decade ago, micro markets almost immediately overcame vending’s fresh food limitations. Fresh food items with a three- to five-day shelf life often sell in one to two days in a market. Breakfast burritos, sandwiches and wraps were bestselling items in 2020, while in locations open 24 hours a day (where two or three shifts need to be fed), sales of full breakfast platters (egg dishes, French toast and pancakes with sausage, bacon or ham, etc.) and yogurt parfaits all increased. Look to these and other portable hot and cold offerings to satisfy the all-day-breakfast cravings of on-the-move customers.

6. Create promotions around breakfast

While white-collar professionals were able to work at home, America’s industrial workers, still employed, had no choice but to report to worksites. As the nation opens up again, employers of all types will be looking for ways to thank their employees for returning to the workplace. Micro market operators can work with the HR and leadership teams of employers in their building to create couponing programs that reward visitors to the micro market’s checkout kiosk with free breakfast items. Such promotions are both easy to do and highly appreciated.

7. Open the field to snacking

“Snackification” isn’t a new movement, but it continues to create opportunities for consumers to get their daily servings of grains and nutrients. Breakfast bars and biscuits remain popular among consumers who prefer snacking during breakfast hours, whether they’re on the go, at work, or at home. Because they are formulated to provide four hours of steady nutritious energy, belVita Breakfast Biscuits are a good pick for micro market customers looking to grab a boost between meals.

8. Activate more sales

Micro markets are an ideal venue for easy, satisfying food-and-beverage pairings. Operators looking to perk up breakfast snack sales can “Start a Brew-mance” for their customers using Mondelēz International Foodservice’s eye-catching Brew-mance point-of-sale materials at the checkout counter. Each Brew-mance activation kit contains a sampling of belVita Breakfast Biscuits, a countertop basket rack, a header card and two counter cards that encourage visitors to add belVita to their coffee purchase.

For more tips to enhance your micro market’s breakfast offerings, download Mondelēz International Foodservice’s white paper on reimagining the breakfast space.

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