What's cooking for breakfast on the go?

bowl breakfast granola fruit

As the adage says, breakfast may be the most important meal of the day, but most diners only have a few minutes to dedicate to it before making a mad dash. Crafting intriguing new portable options could be just the thing to entice them. Here are four ways operators are thinking outside the breakfast burrito when it comes to handheld options.

1. Bowls

oatmeal ingredients toppings

To offer employees of New Balance healthier options to start their workday at the athletic company’s Brighton, Mass.-based headquarters, Unidine General Manager Kathy Guild launched the Build A Better Breakfast program in January. One component is a make-your-own breakfast bowl bar stocked with various bases (Greek yogurt, quinoa, wheat germ, oats, granola) and toppings (nuts and seeds, fruit, coconut, flax). “In a nutshell, it’s a yogurt parfait in a cup that’s been elevated to the next level,” Guild says. Response has been positive. “[Diners] eat with their eyes; they like to pick and choose and make their own bowl,” she says. “You put the cover on, it’s pay by weight, you go back to your desk.”

2. Crepes

usc spinach crepe

At University of Southern California in Los Angeles, students can order sweet or savory crepes made to order and served street food-style in a cardboard sleeve. “[Chefs] have a unique way of folding it and putting it together so it’s easy to eat on the go,” says Kris Klinger, assistant vice president of retail operations for USC Hospitality, which includes residential student dining, among other campus units. Nutella and banana, berries and cream cheese or sausage and spinach are just a few filling options.

3. Bites

no-bake energy bites

At a coffee counter, New Balance customers were craving healthier options beyond pastries. “Bread is evil these days. [Diners are] looking for low-carb and less carb,” Guild says. “Because we don’t have a grill, we had to think, ‘What can we do that’s healthy that can go in the morning or the afternoon?’” The answer is a line of nut- and fruit-based morsels called power balls and energy bites. The New Balance Power Ball is made with dates, raw almonds, Belgian chocolate nibs, honey and flaxseed; the Peanut Butter Energy Bite features oatmeal, peanut butter and shredded coconut. “It’s a 1-ounce bite, a little bigger than a golf ball. They’re simple and they’re easy; [diners] know exactly what’s in them,” Guild says, adding that more than 1,400 bites had sold since their debut in October.

4. Sandwiches 2.0

waffle sandwich usc

At USC, waffle sandwiches are offered alongside more traditional breakfast sandwiches. Fillings range from eggs and bacon to fried chicken, inspired by the Southern brunch classic of chicken and waffles. Though newer options have interested students, Klinger says the trusty breakfast burrito continues to lead sales.

More From FoodService Director

Ideas and Innovation
cheeseburger

We set up an interactive collaboration with our dietetics department where students worked with our culinary team to test how recipes are imagined and produced. One of the recipes they came up with was a barbecue tempeh sandwich, which they believed was a great option for vegan students across campus. We added the sandwich to our On the Go program and then expanded it to our vegan station on campus due to its success.

Ideas and Innovation
salad bowl

We have reorganized our salad bars to not only include the traditional DIY salad ingredients, but also several daily entree salads. Our students requested 32-ounce heavy glass salad bowls that have been wildly popular. The big bowls allow students to load up on their favorite salads and customize with additional ingredients from around the servery. We have seen a significant surge in usage that cuts across all groups, including athletes.

Ideas and Innovation
bleu barn

While undergoing a large-scale expansion that changed a chunk of its layout and added a new building to campus, Bethany crafted its own cafe—a place where residents and guests of the Waupaca, Wis., senior living center could grab a casual bite throughout the day.

Originally dubbed The Barn because of the area’s affinity for farming, the rustic-themed fast casual took over a space earlier occupied by a great room with a small kitchen, and where resident assistants once served meals. (Now that area is squarely in the purview of foodservice and is staffed by members of the dining team...

Industry News & Opinion

The School District of Philadelphia and Baltimore City Public Schools are the latest districts in the Urban School Food Alliance to switch to compostable plates.

The move to the eco-friendlier products will save 19 million polystyrene products from landfills, according to a news release .

Schools often use polystyrene products due to their low cost. Polystyrene trays cost on average around 4 cents apiece, while compostable plates cost an average of 12 cents each. The Urban School Food Alliance’s collective buying power enabled them to create a compostable plate that costs...

FSD Resources