Restaurant Equipment & Supply

2014 National Restaurant Association Culinary Forecast: Breakfast/Brunch

Jan 21, 2014 1:33:00 PM

2014 National Restaurant Association Culinary Forecast: Breakfast/Brunch

We all know the importance of breakfast, brunch and eating early, but it seems as if it is still vastly undervalued in our society. However, it is still a huge form of income for many establishments across the United States. Just look at how many places in your town close at 2 p.m. They must be doing something right. Odds are, if they’re wrapping a line around the block, they’re keeping in touch with what their customer base wants. Many of these particular breakfast/brunch specialty places pay attention to the trends and add those ideas to their already well established menu.

Luckily, for those of us who are so busy we can barely remember what day it is, the National Restaurant Association puts out a forecast of trends for the year ahead. They poll 1,300 chefs from the American Culinary Federation and ask them to determine the trendiness of particular aspects of foodservice such as culinary themes, dessert, and alcohol. In this blog, we’ll take a look at what the experts say about breakfast/brunch items for 2014 that were ranked as a “hot trend,” “yesterday’s news,” and “perennial favorite”.

Trend No. 1
Ethnic-Inspired Breakfast Items: 67% Hot Trend, 20% Yesterday’s News, 13% Perennial Favorite
When you think of breakfast, you probably imagine items like eggs, sausage, bacon, biscuits and toast. I know I certainly do. Those foods have been breakfast staples for many years, and they will continue to be so well into the future. Breakfast and brunch serving establishments have also started implementing flavors and themes from other cultures throughout the world, which has given their customer base new things to look forward to when they walk through their doors. Many of these new items can be added to breakfast favorites such as omelets, platters, and skillets. Chorizo, often associated with Latin culture, has been added to breakfast items in establishments around the nation to much fanfare. Other ethnically inspired ingredients include jerk from the Caribbean, soy sauces from Southeast Asia, and curry from India.

Trend No. 2
Traditional Ethnic Breakfast Items: 44% Hot Trend, 24% Yesterday’s News, 32% Perennial Favorite
From ethnic-inspired to traditionally ethnic, American restaurants sure are expanding their breakfast borders. Items like huevos rancheros from Mexico and sweet, stuffed croissants from France are being added to the lineup in establishments stateside. Take a look at some traditional breakfast foods from around the world and see if any are suitable for your breakfast menu in this post from the Hostel Bookers blog.

Trend No. 3
Fresh Fruit Breakfast Items: 37% Hot Trend, 14% Yesterday’s News, 49% Perennial Favorite
Fruit for breakfast ensures you’re getting your vitamins, nutrients in fibers on schedule. The types of fruits available for breakfast are seemingly endless and fruit plates have been a hit for breakfast for years. It’s one of the reasons why 49% of ACF members consider it to be a “perennial favorite.” If you’re an establishment looking to bring fruit to the menu, check out some local farms and markets and see what they have. Customers are looking for local options now more than ever, and they will be excited to see some fruits from close by.

Trend No. 4
Egg White Omelets/Sandwiches: 37% Hot Trend, 36% Yesterday’s News, 27% Perennial Favorite
Egg white breakfast options may be as much as “yesterday’s news” as a trend to ACF members, but healthy food options are still popular in the United States, as you can see by looking at trends 3-6 on this list. Looking for an egg white alternative outside omelets and sandwiches? has a wide variety of recipes on its website here.

Trend No. 5
Yogurt Parfait/Greek Yogurt Parfait: 37% Hot Trend, 21% Yesterday’s News, 43% Perennial Favorite
There’s something inherently tasty about mixing yogurt and granola. You almost forget how healthy it really is. It is considered a classic by these pollsters, and with good reason. National chains such as Starbucks and McDonald’s have had them on their menus for years, and they’re still holding strong. Greek yogurt provides the same nutritional values as regular yogurt in parfaits, but with more fiber.

Trend No. 6
Bacon Alternatives: 32% Hot Trend, 52% Yesterday’s News, 15% Perennial Favorite
It’s hard to mess with perfection. Even with all the hoopla surrounding bacon during the past few years, alternatives such as turkey and vegetarian bacon found a place in trendsetting neighborhoods in metro areas around the U.S. Now it looks like it is becoming a thing of the past, as 52% of the ACF members polled deemed it to be “yesterday’s news”, the most by any trend on this list.

Trend No. 7
Prix Fixe Brunches: 30% Hot Trend, 40% Yesterday’s News, 30% Perennial Favorite
A Mother’s Day tradition in my family, “prix fixe” (fixed priced) brunches involve gourmet brunch foods at a set price that is usually pretty high. It is a pretty novel concept for special occasions, but other than that, it doesn’t seem like a very trendsetting topic anymore according to this list.

Trend No. 8
Donuts/Donut Sandwiches: 30% Hot Trend, 47% Yesterday’s News, 24% Perennial Favorite
Sometimes the phrase “too much of a good thing” is applicable. Donut sandwiches come to mind. Doughnuts by themselves: awesome. Bacon: delicious. Eggs: satisfying. But to me, putting them all together is just a little overboard. I’ll take a traditional doughnut over a sandwich combination every day. Dunkin Donuts, however, is hoping this trend is more than just “yesterday’s news” as it appears to the ACF. It unveiled the Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich in June 2013.

Trend No. 9
Breakfast Crepes: 29% Hot Trend, 37% Yesterday’s News, 34% Perennial Favorite
Crepes have always seemed like a trendy breakfast food to me, even though they’ve been found on American breakfast menus for sometime now. The thin, airier alternative to pancakes is great, especially when topped with some fresh fruit. Though it’s not trending high right now, it may still be wise to include a few on your menu. Take a look at these recipes from for some inspiration.

Trend No. 10
Breakfast Burritos: 20% Hot Trend, 45% Yesterday’s News, 35% Perennial Favorite
Take some breakfast staples like eggs, bacon, and sausage and put it in a tortilla with some hot sauce and you have a pretty standard breakfast burrito. Always a hit in fast food drive thrus, this trend seems to be more of a fading trend amongst more independently owned establishments according to the ACF.

Trend No. 11
Eggs Benedict: 17% Hot Trend, 23% Yesterday’s News, 61% Perennial Favorite
A traditional breakfast meal, eggs Benedict is not trending high these days. You’ll still find it on many menus in establishments that have a range of breakfast items.

Trend No. 12
Oatmeal: 16% Hot Trend, 26% Yesterday’s News, 59% Perennial Favorite
Again, not really a trendy item, but certainly a conventional meal. The idea of going out for breakfast and ordering oatmeal does seem a little odd to me, however.

Trend No. 13
French Toast: 15% Hot Trend, 26% Yesterday’s News, 59% Perennial Favorite
It gets better and better over the years, whether it’s at the cafĂ© down the street or at your mom’s house. Not particularly trendy, but always a great go-to for establishments and customers alike. You can’t beat a classic.

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