Peet’s Coffee offers warms breakfast in Chicago, with plans to roll out nationally
Peet’s Coffee & Tea has grandiose plans to eventually challenge Starbucks and McDonald’s in the hotly contested warm breakfast arena — and it starts right here in Chicago.
Quietly for the past few weeks, the 17 Peet’s shops in the Chicago area have served up quick-grab breakfast options, some traditional like the bacon and cheddar breakfast sandwich, others less so, like the kale and goat cheese flatbread. The plan is to expand all-day warm breakfast to a few other markets by early next year and, eventually, to all 243 locations nationwide.
It’s a bold move, but one that some experts say is necessary to compete in a world where customers increasingly expect portable warm breakfast options with their coffee. Peet’s executives say the move will boost sales while staying true to the brand’s value of high-quality products.
There could be challenges ahead, particularly when it comes to sourcing cage-free eggs and meeting other consumer-driven demands. But employees appear ready to embrace the new reality.
“From a manager’s perspective, I like it because it means more money,” said Holly Henderson, 27, manager of Peet’s location in the Wrigley building, 400 N. Michigan Ave. “We’re trying to compete.”
As employees hustled behind the counter on a recent morning, a mix of tourists and business types queued up from the counter to the door of the small coffee shop. About every third customer ordered a breakfast sandwich.
In general, sales have met expectations during the trial run, said Paul Rooprai, Peet’s senior director of food, but are expected to ramp up as Peet’s begins a media blitz next week. “For us, this is a very major shift in how we do food,” Rooprai said. “It’s always nice to add sales to the stores, and it’s always nice to have something that our store staff is excited about.”
More consumers are looking for the “on-the-go” breakfast because of changing lifestyles and work schedules, said Christin Fernandez, spokeswoman for the National Restaurant Association.
“Because of this, restaurants are beginning to see breakfast as a successful area for growth,” Fernandez said. “What you’re seeing is some of the larger brands responding by now offering breakfast all day long.”
For years, Peet’s has offered “artisan baked goods,” which are locally sourced as available. In the Chicago market, that means the bakery items come from the Troubadour Bakery in Milwaukee.
Peet’s will rely on Buddy’s Kitchen in Minneapolis for its warm breakfast offerings in order to ensure consistency of quality as they are rolled out nationally.
The seven breakfast menu items, ranging in price from $4.25 to $4.65, will be available all day and include a smoked ham and Gouda breakfast sandwich; maple chicken sausage breakfast sandwich; chicken chorizo flatbread; a crustless vegetable quiche and a croissant bread pudding.
For now at least, the eggs for the breakfast items are not sourced from cage-free hens. “At this point, we do not have a definitive timeline (for cage-free eggs), but we will always strive to achieve what our customers are looking for,” Rooprai said.
Some say that could challenge Peet’s right out of the gate if the company doesn’t adapt.
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SOURCE: Chicago Tribune