Breakfast: Waking Up to Bold Flavors and Healthy Fare

Mexican-inspired dishes lead the breakfast trends.

The breakfast segment continues to show impressive gains, with operators responding to consumers’ demands for bold flavors, healthful fare and portability. Mexican fare, such as breakfast tacos and burittos at Frontera Fresco at Northwestern University,  is especially popular.

The breakfast segment continues to show impressive gains, with operators responding to consumers’ demands for bold flavors, healthful fare and portability.

In its report “The Breakfast Club: An Update on Morning Meal Trends,” Datassential unveils the top five fastest-growing breakfast items as yogurt, frittatas, oatmeal, burritos, and huevos rancheros. These trends, according to the report, reflect widespread sub-trends impacting the industry, especially at QSRs and mid-scale establishments.

• Frittatas represent the overall push toward more creative egg dishes

• Yogurt and oatmeal reflect the consumer’s desire for more healthful ingredients

• Burritos’ popularity demonstrates the portability factor

• Huevos rancheros reveals the embrace of Mexican flavorings

Menu Snapshot: Frontera Fresco

Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.

Breakfast tacos and tortas from the hand of a celebrity chef greet the day at Frontera Fresco at Northwestern University in Evanston, Ill. It is the first campus location of the quickservice eatery created by Rick Bayless, who also owns three Frontera Fresco locations in retail stores as well as the popular Mexican restaurants Frontera Grill, Topolobampo and Xoco in Chicago.

“Bayless’ offerings really bring authenticity to regional Mexican cuisine,” says Steve Mangan, resident district manager for Sodexo at Northwestern, which operates the unit. “For us, it was kind of a no-brainer to explore the partnership.”

The breakfast tacos, made to-order with scrambled eggs on artisan corn tortillas, include fillings such as pork chorizo, poblano rajas, Chihuahua and Cotija cheeses, avocado and cilantro. Similar fillings go into the breakfast tortas, which are hot, pressed sandwiches similar to panini made on fresh artisan bakery rolls.

Items like those, along with an extensive lunch menu with additional tacos and tortas plus salads, quesadillas, Mexican flatbreads and a made-to-order guacamole bar, attract between 400 and 500 students per day, Mangan says.

In keeping with Bayless’ local and seasonal approach, ice cream is made with local organic milk, breads and tortillas are locally baked, meats come from Illinois and cheeses hail from Wisconsin. During the growing season, peppers, tomatoes and herbs are sourced from area farms as well.

“This is a really good match with Northwestern,” says Mangan. “We are all about culinary and expanding the local, fresh and seasonal organic products that we offer.”

Menu Sampler: Frontera Fresco

• Egg + Rajas Taco: Scrambled eggs, poblano rajas, Chihuahua cheese, avocado, queso Cotija, cilantro; $3.50 single/$7.50 double

• Egg + Bacon Torta: Scrambled eggs, Nueske’s bacon, chipotle, Chihuahua cheese, avocado; $6.95

• Jam + Queso Torta: Queso fresco, American Spoon Foods Fruit Perfect Jam. $4.95