Flavor Trends, Strategies and Solutions for Menu Development




By Mike Kostyo
December 8, 2021


Bowls are a dish for every daypart, with breakfast bowls alone growing a whopping 166 percent on menus in the past four years, according to Datassential. While most morning bowls are decidedly egg-centric, operators may not be taking full advantage of other classic a.m. flavor profiles in the bowl format.

Toast, French toast, pancakes and waffles are consumers’ most-loved breakfast foods, according to Datassential, and they all present intriguing opportunities for bowl builds. When Glendale, Calif.-based Dine Brands debuted its Flip’d by IHOP fast-casual concept in Lawrence, Kan., earlier this year, the company announced that its centerpiece menu item would be served in a (you guessed it!) bowl.

The spinoff’s Signature Pancake Bowls come in varieties like Breakfast Bounty, featuring four buttermilk pancakes topped with scrambled eggs, bacon and Jack and cheddar for an all-in-one breakfast meal. Customers can choose between pancakes and oatmeal as the bowl base at the Build-Your-Own Pancake Bar, adding their own selection of mix-ins and toppings that range from healthy (blueberry compote and granola) to indulgent (rainbow sprinkles and Oreo cookies).

At Le Pain Quotidien, the Sunny-Side Breakfast Bowl gets seasonal makeovers, featuring inclusions like red peppers and green grape tomatoes in the summer and butternut squash with massaged kale in the fall. The bowl’s base features nutty farro, while citrus-cumin salt delivers an earthy-tart kick and pistachio dukkah adds crunch. An organic sunny-side-up egg, along with sliced avocado, sweet potato, caramelized onions and roasted Brussels sprouts, completes the build.


About The Author


MIKE KOSTYO is the resident Trendologist and Associate Director at Datassential, one of the food industry’s leading market research and trends companies. In this role, he oversees the company’s content division, including its heritage Trendspotting publications and custom client publications, and he leads trend immersion tours and ideation sessions across the country. Mike was a recurring guest on Fusion TV’s “The AV Club Show”; has been featured on WGN Radio, CBS Radio and Gimlet Media’s “Why We Eat What We Eat” podcast; is regularly featured in newspapers and magazines; speaks at numerous conferences across the country; and was a judge on Food Network’s “Eating America.” Kostyo has a Master’s in Gastronomy from Boston University, plus certificates in the culinary arts, baking arts, wine and artisan cheese production. In his spare time, he teaches cooking classes and participates in a monthly food swap in Chicago, which he co-founded. [email protected]