Boosting breakfast sales with a top-notch coffee partner and upgraded coffee program

coffee and breakfast
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It’s not news that coffee is many consumers’ preferred drink for the morning hours. But for foodservice operators, just offering coffee isn’t enough anymore. When they’re choosing where to pick up breakfast or coffee, consumers expect specialty drinks, trending flavors, customization and transparency of sourcing. What’s more, the COVID-19 pandemic has shifted many customers’ priorities to include digital and mobile solutions to increase the level of safety and cut down on the time they spend indoors. In other words, foodservice operators have a tall order—but simply updating their coffee programs can help bolster breakfast business this year.

Here’s what to include in coffee offerings.

Brewing business

Creating a premium coffee experience can help grow sales—and not just of coffee. Coffee is a high-margin, profitable item, not to mention a traditional accompaniment to breakfast foods. According to Technomic’s recent Breakfast Consumer Trend Report, 59% of consumers say that coffee is a part of their daily routine, and 55% of consumers’ away-from-home breakfast occasions include coffee. That is, a majority of people who order breakfast get coffee with it. But that means that nearly half don’t—and that’s a significant sales opportunity.

When it comes to coffee, consumers want options: from roasts and blends to different formats and flavors, as well as pairing options with their breakfast foods.

Be sure to display tasting notes for each type of coffee describing roast level, character, aroma, body and flavor, and call out applicable buzzwords such as organic, sustainable and fair-trade. Make sure to offer roasts that range from light to dark, soft and velvety to smooth and balanced, bright and fruity to rich and full-bodied.

Extras and trending formats make for a premium experience

Beyond a variety of roasts of coffee, consumers are interested in an array of formats. Regular hot coffee remains the most popular choice for many, but other options such as specialty espresso drinks, flavored coffee drinks and iced coffee drinks—including cold brew—will help draw in more a.m. sales and menu complexity with minimal investment. Coffee roasters like Segafredo Zanetti® are making big strides providing foodservice operators with premium ready-to-drink cold brew solutions more accessible than ever.

And don’t forget whiteners and sweeteners. Today’s consumers want more than just standard cream and sugar. Increasingly, they look for plant-based milk alternatives—soy, almond, oat, cashew, coconut and others—and natural sweeteners like honey, stevia, agave nectar and maple syrup.

Transparency and quality are key

Technomic’s Breakfast report finds that 34% of consumers—including 44% of consumers ages 18-34—are loyal to a coffee brand or foodservice location that serves their preferred coffee brand. Consumers also want to know where the coffee they drink is sourced from. For operators looking to upgrade their coffee programs, highlighting brand and country of origin is an easy way to do so. Once consumers come to love a certain brand, they’re more likely to keep coming back for it.

On the food side: Offer variety and pairings

It pays to offer a range of options to fit every consumer’s needs, from simple pastries or fruit cups to breakfast sandwiches, wraps and flatbreads, and even more elaborate omelet- or crepe-making stations if applicable. To keep the lines moving, however, foodservice operators should limit menus and focus on easy-to-execute items.

Be sure to accommodate any health or dietary concerns with a varied menu that includes items that are vegetarian or vegan, dairy-free, nut-free or gluten-free. Be sure these are clearly labeled and have separate serving implements to avoid cross-contamination.

When making suggestions for coffee pairing, take into consideration the body of the coffee: light, medium or full.

Operators should taste through their coffee selections, paying attention to the aroma, flavors, acidity, body and finish. Then, consider the food menu with the same attention. Which are the dominant flavors to match? Is it the protein, the sauce, the bread?

Coffee possesses a strong yet smooth flavor that is the perfect foil for sweets, which is why the drink goes so well with donuts, pastries and coffee cakes, for instance.

Complement and contrast

The two basic principles of pairing beverage with food are complement and contrast. The first concept, complementing, couples like flavors with like. For example, pairing a chocolate croissant with a rich, chocolate-accented coffee variety such as Segafredo Zanetti® Montagna®.

The idea of contrast is that dissimilar flavors play off each other, resulting in a more harmonious whole. A satisfying bacon, egg and cheese sandwich, for example, might work well with a lasting-acidity coffee that would offset the richness, such as Segafredo Zanetti® Brillante®.

Safety and sanitation

With health concerns top of mind for many consumers these days, offering digital ordering capabilities as well as contactless pickup can be a big benefit. The Segafredo Zanetti® team has the expertise to navigate through the latest touchless equipment and mobile solutions to help bring the coffee experience into the era of the “new normal”.

Evaluating individual coffee tasting notes and how they match with food menus is a complex and difficult task, but when done well, it can mean a big boost in sales. This is an area where it pays operators to team up with a trusted beverage partner like Segafredo Zanetti®. To learn more visit their website, a resource center specifically for foodservice operators at


This post is sponsored by Segafredo Zanetti®