4 Reasons to Be Decisive and Start Waffling

Waffles. They’re like puppies, or a free gas card.

It’s hard to find someone who doesn’t like them. 

But a movement is afoot among consumers that is raising the waffle to new heights on menus all across the foodservice landscape.

Here are 4 crystal-clear reasons why.

1. Waffles Are Part of an Expanding Breakfast

The appetite for breakfast has been growing for some time now, with many chains and other restaurants joining the Denny’s of the pack by promoting new “breakfast served all-day” menus.

And why? Because according to Technomic’s Breakfast Consumer Trend Report, that’s what 40% of consumers want. And, as a result, more than 90% of operators noted that serving breakfast has had an impact on sales,” with more than a third considering it a major impact. (Restaurant Business, October 2018.)

2. Waffles’ Practicality Makes Them Extremely Versatile

Just like the egg that’s transforming burgers, pizza and other favorites, waffles are charting new daypart territory by merging with other traditionally later-day items.

After standing alone as a buttery, syrupy morning favorite, the waffle’s beautifully mild flavor and rigid structure make it a perfect base element for all sorts of meal solutions, from serving as a tasty bun alternative in a lunchtime sandwich, to partnering with protein in a dinner basket, to anchoring a series of whole new dessert concepts.

In some cases, operations like Rutter’s, a popular Mid-Atlantic c-store chain that’s all in on foodservice, are introducing waffles almost as a theme-type item that punctuates every meal of the day.

3. Waffles Bring Variety to On-the-Go Options

The waffle’s practicality is especially valuable when consumer expectations for menu innovation intersect with the unyielding demand for convenience.

For example, while sandwich sales are through the roof—in large part because they’re a filling option that can be consumed on-the-go, by hand, without utensils—Technomic’s 2018 Sandwich Report cites that “50% of 18- to 34-year-olds would like restaurants to offer more sandwiches with new or unique flavors and ingredients.” (Restaurant Business. May 2018.)

Enter the waffle as the aforementioned bun alternative.  

Or, in the true spirit of menu innovation, think of other means of convenience—like, say, enter the waffle as a completely unique, on-the-go dessert game changer in the form of Mondelez International’s scrumptious Waffle on a Stick with Chips Ahoy® recipe.

Wow. That really is a mouthful.

4. Waffles Serve the Demand for More Cultural Flavors

It might not be the first word that comes to mind when trying to develop “ethnic-inspired” menu ideas, but the waffle can be surprisingly effective at taking patrons on a little cultural journey.

Frankly, this underestimated truth can, ironically, add to the experience for those who are driving the ethnic-flavor trend. 

From falafel flavors of the Mediterranean, to French galettes, to the distinctively Southern American chicken ‘n waffles fare that is selling, well, like hot cakes in restaurants all across the country, a little waffle can go a long way.