Best practices for reintroducing the breakfast buffet and other self-service amenities

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As consumers return to their pre-pandemic routines of traveling and dining at restaurants – after several months of dining hall closures and take-out / delivery-only orders – operators are also readjusting to accommodate guests in anybody. Part of this return to normal includes a return to self-service amenities, such as breakfast buffets, cafes and more, services that are integral to the work of operators to streamline operations, reduce waste. labor where they can, keeping costs low and minimizing waste.

Here are some best practices for reintroducing the breakfast buffet with consumer priorities, safety, and margins in mind.

1. Refine what the guests want

Consumer behavior, of course, changed dramatically at the start of the pandemic. As restaurant dining rooms closed, most restaurants subsisted on take out and delivery orders.

Now that things are somewhat back to normal, some diners are ready to resume their pre-pandemic routines, while others are not yet ready. In fact, Technomic The future of fast food in 2020: report on consumer trends in family style and casual dining found that even after the coronavirus is gone, safety practices such as continued social distancing, health checks for employees, contactless payment, and disinfection options readily available to customers will remain a priority when consumers choose where to eat.

However, this does not mean that they are reluctant to travel and to dine in general; assuming appropriate measures are in place, 46% of consumers say they would be comfortable using self-service equipment, according to Technomic The future of RSF report. In addition, 52% say the ability to personalize their meal is important or extremely important. With these ideas in mind, it’s safe to say that many consumers would welcome self-service facilities in hotels and restaurants again.

With consumers wanting to dine in person again, and many are comfortable with offerings like breakfast buffets, the next step for operators is to craft a great menu.

2. Plan the breakfast buffet menu

Offering a buffet breakfast can be very convenient for diners: children can choose what they want; busy consumers can have a personalized plate ready in minutes; and everyone at the table gets something they know they’ll enjoy for breakfast. Ensuring that margins remain high and that consumers remain happy with breakfast buffet offerings is key to success. For many operators, sticking to the proven offerings for the breakfast buffet and family-style breakfast meals is a smart tactic.

By choosing to offer low-labor options that are sure to be a crowd pleaser, operators take the guesswork out of what to put on the buffet menu, while ensuring that guests who choosing the breakfast buffet will be sure to find something they like to eat.

3. Control the demand for labor

According to the CSP 2021 Food Service Guide Powered by Technomic, 77% of operators and retailers said the labor pool was the most pressing challenge of 2021, and 70% said the same for labor costs. With workforce challenges including increasing minimum wages across the country and a shrinking workforce, operators must be creative in order to maintain their margins without skimping on food quality or client service. In catering, labor issues can be alleviated at least somewhat by incorporating high-quality, low-labor foods into the menu. For example, using fully cooked bacon products from Tyson Foodservice saves time and labor, especially in applications such as the breakfast buffet where large portions of food are. required for each service.

Other popular breakfast proteins, such as sausage and sausage patties, are also available from Tyson Foodservice, giving operators the flexibility to use foods from a brand they trust, without adding a lot of work in the back of the house.

4. Provide security

Even when diners return to the dining rooms, some may be reluctant to participate in common or high-touch features such as the breakfast buffet. According to Technomic 2021 Value and Price Consumption Trends Report, 54% of consumers say that sanitation and cleanliness are more important to them today than they were a year ago.

There are ways for operators to strengthen safety measures to ensure the health of customers and staff, as well as to highlight a visible marker of this safety. For example, operators can set up hand sanitizing stations near high-traffic areas, such as the front door, at the start and end of the buffet table, and near beverage dispensers. Operators should also highlight the frequent cleaning of buffet tables, perhaps using a sign that workers update every time they are cleaned, or having workers simply clean in a visible location so let customers know it’s done. Operators can also improve hygiene and safety by using disposable tableware and single-serve packaged condiments (rather than high-contact dispensers) – eliminating high-contact, multiple-use equipment in the room To eat, operators can not only eliminate the risk of cross-contamination and decrease the spread of germs, but also reduce the labor required for things like washing cutlery and portioning condiments.

Make the customer experience a great and safe experience

As dining rooms return to normal, operators have the option of bringing back beloved breakfast buffets. However, the current climate may require some adjustment not only to ensure satisfaction with the foods on offer, but also to ensure that the work is not stretched too far and that the safety measures are strong and reliable. One way to ensure satisfaction and reduce labor is to use prepared proteins from Tyson Foodservice; to learn more, visit

This article is sponsored by the hosting team and restore Tyson

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