For many restaurants, Sunday brunch has become one of their most popular weekly meal specials. Brunch has always been viewed as somewhat of a “social” meal. Diners are often looking for a leisurely meal where they can relax and socialize with family and friends, while enjoying good food and drinks. One of the easiest ways for a restaurant to provide the relaxing atmosphere desired by Sunday diners is to setup a brunch buffet.
Most restaurants feature brunch menus consisting of low-cost breakfast foods like omelets, waffles and eggs Benedict, which can result in a meal that will be very profitable and drive a considerable amount of revenue into your restaurant. However, keep in mind that brunch can be an excellent tool for differentiating your restaurant from the competition. Brunch can be a great opportunity to get creative with your menu offerings or take a different approach to the types of foods your normally serve. Below are a few tips on how to setup a successful brunch buffet in your restaurant.
Maximize your space.
Many restaurants are not designed in a way that will easily accommodate a buffet area, so it is important to spend some time thinking over how you can take advantage of the space and equipment you have available. More than likely you are going to have to get a little creative with your layout. Private dining areas adjacent to the main dining area can make for excellent buffet areas. If your restaurant has a large and prominent bar area, you may consider converting a portion of the area into a buffet. Look for under utilized spaces in your restaurant that could be setup as stations for a la carte items like omelets, waffles, carved meats or beverages.
Provide variety and choice.
Brunch can be a tricky meal for restaurant owners, not quite breakfast and not quite lunch, thus making it is hard to decide what to serve. A successful brunch buffet will give diners plenty of options and choices that include baked goods, desserts, fresh fruits and salads, lunch entrees and standard breakfast fare. A special drink menu with beverages such as mimosas, Bloody Marys and specialty coffees will also appeal to most brunch diners.
Brunch can also provide you with the opportunity to be flexible with your restaurant’s current concept. If your restaurant tends to lean more towards the formal side with sophisticated menu options, you can use brunch as an opportunity to promote a more casual setting with a simpler interpretation of your cuisine. This type of differentiator can be a welcome change for your diners and staff.
Involve your guests.
Most diners will positively respond to interactive options within your brunch buffet. There are many directions that you could go when striving to prove a customizable experience. You can choose to provide something more basic like an omelet station where diners can choose their own fillings, a yogurt bar with a variety of mix-ins and toppings or even a Bloody Mary station that offers a variety of hot sauces and garnishes. No matter what you choose to serve or how you choose to serve it, customers will appreciate the interactive and customizable experience.
Establish a clear and distinctive service style.
The service that you and your staff provide during brunch will define the meal as much as the food. Brunch is a great way to try out recommendations from your servers, and incorporate their opinions into the menu or buffet layout. Since brunch a unique meal, it is okay to deviate from your restaurant’s typical style or concept. However just keep in mind that if you decide to venture outside of your restaurant’s norm, make sure your brunch concept is executed in a way that is still representative of your everyday service standards.
Overall, brunch can provide your restaurant with a unique and fun opportunity to establish a concept within your regular concept, and build the ever-important word of mouth about your restaurant. Brunch can also give you a chance to allow your staff an exercise in creativity, provide a break from routine, as well as develop a signature meal period that can improve and expand your restaurant’s identity. If you can create a brunch atmosphere that will welcome and embrace your guests, you will be rewarded with their loyalty and appreciation.