How Denver-based Rise and Shine Biscuit Kitchen and Cafe Does Breakfast
Posted on November 17, 2010
In our ongoing blog series about breakfast trends in the restaurant, we’ve touched on a few topics, including the challenges of marketing to millenials and how to incorporate breakfast into your own restaurant menu. Well, the next logical step was to get a first-hand account from a real restaurant owner. So, we at FoodServiceWarehouse.com went to Seth Rubin, owner of Rise & Shine Biscuit Kitchen and Cafe in Denver, Colorado, to ask him a few questions about how he does breakfast at his restaurant.
FSW: Your menu showcases a variety of options, from plain biscuits with the option to add eggs, breakfast meat and more, plus some lunch-style biscuit sandwiches like the Raleigh, a roast beef with cheese and horseradish. Taking all the options into account, would you define your shop mainly as a breakfast place, or something different?
Seth: We are different, but we do serve breakfast throughout our entire business day. The biscuit as a sandwich mechanism is thought of mostly in breakfast terms, but it works really well for our other, more lunch like menu items. Also, by a dumb stroke of luck, most of our lunch items cross over into what people call breakfast. The super rare roast beef from Fred’s Fine Meats up the street makes for a great steak and egg biscuit after a few seconds on the flat top. I’ve provided little clarification other than Rise & Shine has further blurred the line between breakfast and lunch!
FSW: Do you see the majority of your customers in the morning or the afternoon? In otherwords, do you see a clear distinction between the breakfast and lunch dayparts in your restaurant?
Seth: We see the majority of our business during the morning hours with people on the way to work, dropping kids off at school, etc. The neighborhood has been making use of the shop as a gathering and meeting spot which is what I hoped for from the get go. My hope is that as the weather changes, we’ll pick up some more afternoon traffic as well. There were indications that would occur in the cold and damp of late spring this year.
FSW: When you opened, your intent was to become the neighborhood coffee shop and Denver biscuit destination. Now that you’ve had a chance to develop a following, is it the biscuit fans or coffee addicts that make up the majority of your customer base?
Seth: Given that there was no coffee shop in the neighborhood, I thought coffee would be the bulk of the business. It turns out that we are more of a biscuit shop with really nice coffee offerings. There have been people from all over the metro area who wandered our way because the word about our biscuits had reached them. On the weekends, it is almost like a reunion of displaced southerners!
FSW: You opened your doors in January 2010, during the heart of the economic recession. Yet, for the restaurant industry, breakfast business seems to be booming. What have you noticed about consumer breakfast habits this year?
Seth: Breakfast seems to be a meal that people make time for. It is easier to make a stop before you get to work and find yourself busy until it is time to go home. Breakfast is a simple meal and we hit the notes of comfort food, even in a small package. I have noticed that our customers use us a back up plan if they don’t have time or ingredients for the morning meal. Even with budget constraints in mind, we can still get somebody going in the morning with coffee and a biscuit for well under $5. That puts us at a price point that is hard to beat, especially with the quality we offer. When it comes to week vs. weekend trends, people like a little something sweet on the weekend and we sell a much greater number of the Hatteras (biscuit cinnamon roll) than on the weekdays.
FSW: What is it about breakfast that has fast food and other quick service restaurants so anxious to jump on the bandwagon?
Seth: Breakfast is simple from the ingredients to the prep and the packaging. The margins should be favorable for the operator and providing quality AND volume is easy for the most part.
FSW: In your opinion, what makes a breakfast restaurant successful?
Seth: I equate success to a satisfied following that continues to expand. We are constantly looking for better ways to do things at the shop to keep people happy and coming back on a regular basis.
FSW: What is your best selling menu item?
Seth: I’d say the classic egg, cheese, and meat combination is our best seller.
FSW: At your shop, you make a unique “biscuit of the day” every day. What has been the most successful biscuit of the day promotion you’ve tried so far?
Seth: There are a few “winners” in the recipe book, but we get the most requests for the Maple Brown Sugar and the Jalapeno Cheddar biscuits of the day. We’ve been shocked as well by some that went over better than expected, like the Ginger Ale biscuit.
FSW: Can we anticipate any changes to Rise & Shine’s menu in 2011?
Seth: I have a few North Carolina based tricks up my sleeve. We added NC country ham to the menu back in October which has been very popular among those in the know and recent converts.
FSW: What is your favorite thing to eat for breakfast? And we won’t judge you if you say biscuits.
Seth: My usual breakfast is a two shot Americano, but if there is a biscuit in the batch that isn’t perfect, I do enjoy an egg and cheese biscuit!
There you have it, folks: breakfast trends from Rise & Shine’s Seth Rubin. To learn a little more about Seth and his biscuit business, check out the Rise & Shine profile at FoodServiceWarehouse.com. Then, go to the shop and grab a breakfast (or lunch) biscuit to try one for yourself!