Trends to Watch in Restaurant Menu Items

Brunch! Everyone’s favorite meal. Customers love it because it turns a Sunday morning into a mini celebration. Restaurant owners depend on it to drive sales. Are you getting the most out of your brunch menu? Is weekend revenue spiking high or taking a nap?

If you aren’t getting insane sales late into the morning every Saturday and Sunday, it might be time to go over your promotions and see what more you can do. Most restaurants offer the classics: eggs benedict, omelets, fresh-squeezed orange juice—but you want your place to stand out. It’s time to offer up some new and exciting dishes to get those tables packed.

The great thing about your own brunch menu is that you can make it whatever you want. If you’re dying to serve lemon pie with a towering meringue for breakfast, you can. If you prefer chicharrones on top of fried eggs with chorizo on the side, that works, too. There are literally no rules to brunch anymore. Need a little inspiration? Check out these great ideas to get your customers salivating.

Get Inspired by Mexico

Mexican food has seen a huge resurgence, and many customers are looking to have authentic, traditional foods, as opposed to the Tex-Mex version on which so many of us were raised. Of course, a deep-fried taco covered in cheese and sour cream isn’t bad, but there’s so much more you can do.

Chilaquiles have recently made an appearance in the U.S., and all we can say is gracias. The pile of freshly fried up tortilla triangles swimming in red or green sauce with a perfectly fried egg on top is everything a brunch should be. Spicy, crunchy, and a little different without being too adventurous, this delicious plate will quickly become a new favorite at your place. Bonus: Vegetarians and vegans can be easily accommodated with some easy variations on the standard recipe.

Another sure winner is a breakfast taco. Here you can feature some great chorizo and potato with an egg on top or some great veggies wrapped in a fresh, corn tortilla with some fresh Mexican cheese sprinkled over it; do whatever you like. Tacos are an easy choice on any menu, and to see them as an option for breakfast will make your customers very happy.

Want to get truly authentic? In Mexico, no breakfast is complete without a green juice made with pineapple and nopales and a cup of cafe de olla. The juice is a great way for your customers to have something sweet and fibrous to help settle their stomachs. And, what’s more exciting than a juice made from a cactus? The sugary, cinnamon-flavored coffee is a nice, round finish to a great brunch. Enjoy.

Bring Out the Kid in Your Customers

If you’re located on the coast or in any major city, you’ve probably already noticed that the basics of breakfast, like toast, cereal, and oatmeal, are now readily available for any adult who wants to eat like a kid. While you could keep it plain, there are some amazing new things happening with these old favorites that you will definitely want to see for yourself.

Toast is a great place to start. A high-quality, well-made sourdough, grainy pumpernickel or fluffy brioche is a great place to start. Whatever you do, don’t put just any plain white bread down on the plate and then dress it up. Respect your topper with a solid foundation.

Once you have a great bread, you can really let your imagination take off. Avocado is the obvious choice, but you can also try lots of different cheese combined with fruits such as cream cheese and berries or goat cheese with cantaloupe. Just be sure to add some crunch to the top with walnuts, chia, cashews, or even pomegranate seeds. You can also stick with old favorites like a poached or hard-boiled egg, peanut butter, and a gourmet jam or some hollandaise sauce over some kale.

Put It on Rice

Rice isn’t usually the grain we reach for when it’s time for breakfast, but it should be. Restaurants all over are finding that breakfast proteins pair beautifully with this ubiquitous grain, and that they taste great together. You can use it to put an Asian spin on your dishes, but don’t feel obligated to make it regional—just make it delicious.

A breakfast stir-fry is a great way to get customers excited about familiar dishes all over again. A basic bacon and egg fried rice dish is extra delicious because the little grains absorb the fat from the crispy strips. The eggs can be scrambled within the dish or just serve a poached or sunny-side up egg to let the yolk pool down into the rice. Delicious.

If you do want to try a more fusion style, Asian-inspired rice, you can start with an easy base and then dress it up however you like. Try chopped scallions, Chinese sausage, and some chili paste or maybe some leftover chicken and a drizzle of peanut sauce on top. Like toast, rice opens up a lot of doors for different flavors.

Not a fan of the gut-filling grain? You can opt for cauliflower rice instead. This paleo option works beautifully for breakfast. It’s lighter and has a softer texture and makes for a great foil against bitter greens and salty proteins like chorizo or bacon, and it is easier to digest.

Look to Your Eggs

Sometimes all a great brunch menu needs are some dressed up, extra-pretty eggs. You can dress them up with chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, with extra virgin olive oil and chives, or even with truffle oil with a sprinkling of truffle salt. Even mayonnaise is great on top of a beautifully fried egg.

Don’t want to dress up eggs? You can go a whole new direction with vegan egg replacements, which have really taken off in recent months. They do all the same things regular eggs do, without the guilt or the overly-full feeling animal eggs give your diners. Be sure to let them know that their purple potato and chorizo vegan egg quiche comes with a side of no guilt.

Final Word

Whatever dishes inspire you, be sure to pass them along to your visitors. If it makes you excited to roll out of bed on a Sunday morning, it’s sure to inspire others as well. Get your Hobart mixer ready to make a lot of money with some great brunches this spring. Just have your reservation book ready.

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