The Business of Brunch

How brunch can be good for the bottom line, plus get 10% off tickets to the London Brunch Festival

Is your business ready for brunch?

Brunch case

There is huge interest in brunch right now. Brunch is real, and here, and it’s a ‘thing’.

For me, it’s important that delicious, small batch healthy food and drink, speciality teas and coffees, and innovative twists on well-known breakfast and brunch dishes, continue to grow our interest and help to establish brunch as a valuable social pastime.

With the consumer moving increasingly online, operators need to focus more on innovating the high street and trailblazing new ideas. More than ever, our customers are looking for memorable experiences and exciting opportunities to come together with their friends, and brunch does exactly that.

Brunch and the bottom line

The story I am about to tell is important to me because for coffee operators, retailers and small businesses in general, it remains a tough market out there right now. Competition is fiercer than ever and with retail (in particular) being squeezed so tightly by its online counterparts, businesses now need to get creative in order to survive and prosper. It’s as if we all need a sprinkling of magic dust….hello brunch.

My name is Darren Elliott and I am the co-founder, along with my friend and business partner, Ruth Coppin, of a small group of speciality coffee shops in London called Timberyard. But since April this year, after six award-winning years, I have been involved in bringing the UK and Europe’s first ever brunch festival to London.

A business in need of brunch

At Timberyard Soho in 2017, as we headed towards the summer, we found our weekend sales began to slow down a little, a situation completely new to us as weekends were always where we would achieve our highest volume of sales. We monitored and compared our weekday food and drink purchases against those at the weekend and spoke to our customers and staff to find out where and why they were seemingly going elsewhere on Saturdays and Sundays. We always enjoyed enthusiastic praise for our simple, but healthy and extensive food offer, but as it turned out, all our customers wanted at the weekend were eggs!

Okay so Timberyard has always been a company of foodies and proudly so, with some extraordinary talent between us. So it was very easy (and exciting) to get creative and come up with a small menu of brunch dishes to fit our customer’s needs. In fact, all it would actually take was six dishes.

It was important that each of these could be:

  • prepared very easily without an A3 license (we operated under A1)
  • put together very quickly at volume
  • looked incredibly tasty and would even sell themselves on sight, but most importantly
  • were absolutely delicious and ultimately delivered on flavour.

Originally our food preparation areas were designed specifically for sandwich and salad production but with just a few small additions (an egg pan, a counter-top induction hob and some egg cups) we were able to deliver this new menu with incredible ease. Of course, couple this with outstanding coffee, and you have THE ultimate indulgence during the weekend. We became a brunch destination within 3 to 4 weeks.

The business of brunching

Week by week our brunch sales grew. From 40 a day to 60, to 100, even 150. We added up to £2,000 to our gross weekly sales at each location, all from just Saturday and Sunday brunches, and were achieving gross profits of between 60–75% (on homemade dishes that retailed between £6-£10).

The trick for us was to keep it simple, fresh and delicious. Instantly, we saw a positive turnaround in our team too, who were inspired and motivated to deliver a brand new and colourful selection of plates, and who enjoyed being challenged beyond the simplicity of sandwiches and salads. A brunch menu is an excellent opportunity to work with your staff and/or chefs to create dishes that enhance your brand and delight clientele.

We added up to £2,000 to our gross weekly sales at each location, all from just Saturday and Sunday brunches.

Our mission at Timberyard was always to trail-blaze new ideas and innovate the high street, and in doing so, stimulate the economy and raise the standard and selection of food and drink readily available to us all as consumers.

Our menu of six dishes included:

  1. a fresh berry and banana smoothie bowl with chia seeds
  2. soft boiled eggs with marmite sourdough toasted soldiers
  3. avocado toast with 2 poached eggs,
  4. avocado toast with poached eggs and chorizo sausage
  5. toasted banana bread with berries and crème fraiche, and
  6. our already hugely popular gut healthy Happy Tummy teff toast with avocado and eggs.

The high street needs us more than ever right now, so together let’s draw colour and vitality back into the natural heart of our communities. Come on councils, let’s encourage back small business to the characterful properties that once flourished but still exist on our high streets and bring back warmth to the lifeblood of our towns and cities.

And operators, let’s take hospitality to the highest level we can now and blow everyone’s minds with good old-fashioned service, coupled with new innovations, ground breaking ingenious ideas, clever quirky menus and delicious high-quality produce. If the future is all about experiences then we all need to make more time for friends and family. We should be brunching on the rooftops, under ground level and in green open spaces. Honestly. We just want more.

The London Brunch Festival

London Brunch Fest is, as you might expect, a celebration of the global food and drink phenomenon that is Brunch!

Brunch has a dedicated international following and one of the most enticing qualities of brunch is that it appeals to all types. For me though, it is the social gathering of friends and family and the positive effect it has on our work/life balance and good mental health that really connects us all around the world. London Brunch Fest is a consumer festival, it is entertaining and interactive and a quirky day out designed to inspire and broaden our tastes.

Attend — Get 10% off!

The London Brunch Fest is at The Old Truman Brewery on 1 & 2 September 2018.

Get10% off tickets with the code UNITEDBARISTAS10 at checkout when you visit londonbrunchfest.com