"Brunch is the most wonderful and playful offering a restaurant can offer," says Suvir Saran, chef and owner of New York City's newly opened Tapestry. Millennials especially love catching up over brunch in a relaxed atmosphere. Iterations of the mimosa, Bloody Mary, bruleed custard, and huevos rancheros make for lighthearted dining on brunch menus near and far. If you've been wondering whether to offer brunch service at your restaurant, here are five things to consider:
See How Your Employees Respond
Does an early morning following a busy night make sense? "It's hard to motivate the younger staff to make them work the early shifts to do brunch," says chef James Raukete of The Flying Moa pub in Auckland, New Zealand. He explains that a lot of employees would prefer to work the busy dinner shift. "Their adrenaline is pumping, whereas brunch is more staggered," he adds. Before you commit to offering brunch, make sure you have qualified, dependable cooks and servers to work the shift.
Consider Your Location
Off-beat establishments may have a hard time filling seats during brunch. The turnout you see will depend largely on the location of your space. If you're not seeing results, you can try to combat this by advertising your offering well. "I've had my brunch menu for three months and it's been slow for the public to pick up, but as of late, it took a lot of paid advertising to start seeing results," says Raukete. The pay off has been a bump in Sunday brunch sales.
Treat It Like Any Other Profit Center
When serving brunch, the food you make should be executed with the same quality as every other meal. "Brunch menus are typically easy to make, but today, people are not just looking for the standard eggs on toast or eggs Benedict," says Raukete. He also says you have to consider the multitude of various diets and allergies, which can require more thought when planning the menu.
Know Your Clientele
Like any other offering, make sure you consider your clientele when planning your brunch offering. Lisa Hannaford, chef at Twin Lakes Swim and Golf Club in Oakland, Michigan, says, "The main thing I needed to consider was keeping vegetarian options, as we have the clientele requesting that." Think about the demographics of your customers. Do they have sophisticated palettes, or should you go with more of a traditional breakfast menu? Brunch menus are easy to change up, so you can play around with different specials and offerings until you get it right.
Make It Cost-Effective
"Brunch menus are an open invitation to the cost-conscious chef," says Anthony Bourdain in his book Kitchen Confidential. He also describes it as "a dumping ground for the odd bits left over from Friday and Saturday nights." While laugh-worthy, Bourdain has a good point. Brunch can be a cost-effective offering if you get creative with your menu. For instance, do you have a popular dinner dish that guests love? If so, make a breakfast version of the same meal.
Brunch service can be a great option for many restaurants. Before you start to plan your service, use these tips to help you keep your clientele in mind and make your brunch menu cost-effective. If brunch is right for your establishment, take the opportunity to add a playful new offering for your patrons.
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