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A most important meal of the day

by Andrew Kirk, OF THE RECORD STAFF

Having breakfast is becoming very important not eating it, serving it.

As consumers continue to spend frugally, restaurants are battling low profits by expanding their offerings. An easy way to do that is to offer another meal.

Selling breakfast has become so important that it even prompted a lawsuit in Newpark.

According to paperwork filed in Third District Court, the land owners would like to minimize competition between businesses. Maxwell’s began serving a full breakfast menu in the autumn even though incoming tenant Good Thymes (expecting to open in its new location in late January) had the contract to serve breakfast in the commercial park.

Maxwell’s lease is for an Italian eatery and night club. The lawsuit complains the restaurant just gave Italian names to standard breakfast offerings. That threatens the hotel, it reads, because Newpark recruited Good Thymes to the building for the express purpose of offering breakfast to guests because Maxwell’s would not commit to doing so. Neither party could be reached for comment on this story.

However that works out, Kneaders recently moved in across the street and sells breakfast sandwiches and pastries. Leger’s Deli on Ute Boulevard sells a breakfast sandwich made up with six eggs to attract more than just the lunchtime crowd.

In mid-December, under-utilized restaurant space within the Best Western Landmark Inn was converted into the Hungry Miner’s Breakfast Bucket. A Denny’s and a JB’s had each been in the space previously, but hotel management thought the time was right to start a breakfast-only buffet for guests and visitors alike.

It’s a risky venture since most hotels offer a breakfast for their guests, but Rob Taranto, owner of Flippin’ Burgers who recently started Flippin’ Flapjacks from 7:30 to 11 a.m. said people want variety in offerings and price.

Located on Snow Creek Drive, Flippin’ Flapjacks gets a lot of business from nearby hotels because he emphasizes fresh, fast and about half the price of a sit-down establishment, Taranto said. When people are on their way to ski, they don’t want to waste the morning sitting in a booth waiting for someone to take their order, he said.

That same idea prompted the Park City Taco Maker to offer breakfast as well. Popular for quick and inexpensive tacos, burritos, burgers and shakes, the fast-food restaurant offered a breakfast menu beginning in November, explained manager Teresita Hernandez.

When the doors don’t open until 10 a.m., you miss a lot of potential business, she said.

It was slow to catch on, but has been picking up and Hernandez thinks it will get bigger still. So far the breakfast burrito has been a big seller.

"People are excited," she said. "They are amazing."

Taranto said the start of Flippin’ Flapjacks wasn’t in response to the economy; it was something he’d been planning all along but was waiting to establish the burger business first to achieve brand identity. A lot of local customers requested a breakfast menu, so in late fall he decided the time was right.

He plans on it being seasonal. July is his biggest month of the year because of the Triple Crown Softball Tournament, and he started breakfast in time for ski season this year.

Trying to attract the skiers, he said he markets it as "breakfast on the fly." He’s always presented his restaurant as an alternative to chain restaurants.

"We’re not fast food, we’re fresh food fast that’s our mantra," he added.

Since fast-food places offer a breakfast menu, it makes sense to do so as well. And just as he starts with unpressed beef and raw potatoes to make burgers and fries, he wants customers to see their batter and eggs poured while they wait. With pancakes, French toast, biscuits and gravy, his breakfast menu allows the store to offer daily, casual dining from sun up to sun down, he said.

So far it’s worked. People walk over from hotels, they feel comfortable bringing kids and Saturday was really profitable, he said.

He expects this July to be huge as well since many softball families said they were unhappy with how much they had to spend to feed hungry teenagers before their big games.

He hired Cliff Scantland, formerly of Atlantic Pizza, as general manager and still has 90 percent of the same employees as when he opened over a year ago. Business was tough in 2009, especially during the shoulder seasons, but he still turned a profit and feels breakfast will be successful if executed properly despite the growing competition.


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