Breakfast pizza becomes a hot menu item

Egg-and-bacon pies are becoming more popular as eateries look to morning items for growth.

By Jason Notte Jan 15, 2013 2:06PM
File photo of a bacon and egg pizza (Round Productions, Inc./Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images)The breakfast pizza of choice for college students and bleary-eyed apartment dwellers has long been cold, congealed and left over from some delivery date long since passed. This hasn't stopped restaurant chains from trying to cook up an alternative.

Nation's Restaurant News recently pointed to numbers from Datassential that indicates pizza is now on 5% of breakfast menus at chain and independent restaurants in the U.S. That's 18% more menus than breakfast pizza occupied in 2008.

The financial crisis left eaters with one throbbing hangover, but it created some headaches for restaurants, too. Pizza chain Sbarro both entered and emerged from bankruptcy in 2011 and came away from its experience touting a breakfast pizza with bacon, sausage, eggs and mozzarella.

A Domino's (DPZ) franchise near the University of Dayton in Ohio has offered the 5,000-store chain's only breakfast pizza options since 2010, when it began offering $7.99 sauce-free pizzas with scrambled eggs, cheese, bacon, sausage, onions and jalapeno peppers.

Despite appearing on menus at places like Sbarro, which has more than 600 locations in the U.S., the breakfast pizza still exists primarily at independent shops and small chains. Casual dining chain BJ's has fewer than 120 locations, and includes a breakfast pizza of mozzarella, marinara sauce and eggs stuffed omelet-style with bacon, ham and sausage.

Bloomberg reported last year that breakfast pizza was a favorite of Wall Street traders, particularly those working at Nomura. Happy Joe's Pizza & Ice Cream Parlor, a 60-store chain based in Iowa, offers an omelet pizza Western-, Denver- and all-meat-style in more than a third of its shops.

"We deliver it to a lot of businesses in the morning," Happy Joe's marketing director Kristel Whitty-Ersen told Nation's Restaurant News.

Even that small start for breakfast pizza is having a big impact on the industry. Restaurant monitoring firm didn't spot a breakfast pizza on any of the menus it tracked until 2010, when it became the fastest-growing breakfast menu item in the country.

That same year, market research firm NPD Group found that breakfast accounted for 60% of all U.S. restaurant industry traffic growth since 2005. It also predicted that Americans' hunger for restaurant breakfast sandwiches would grow from 11 a year in 2004 to 14 a year by 2019.

The breakfast pizza would give chains yet another weapon to fight economic instability and decreasing sales. Subway launched its first breakfast offerings in 2010, the year NPD Group's report was issued. Wendy's (WEN) followed closely behind and McDonald's (MCD) took the opportunity to expand its own breakfast offerings during the last few years.

Yum Brands' (YUM) Taco Bell took its place at the breakfast table last year by introducing a Breakfast Crunchwrap including scrambled eggs, bacon or sausage, cheese and a hash brown all wrapped grilled in a flour tortilla. Taco Bell paired that concoction with Mtn Dew A.M., a mix of Mountain Dew and orange juice. Breakfast pizza hasn't cracked the fast food lineup yet, but if Taco Bell's breakfast pocket and Mountain Dew mimosa are any indication, it's not too far off.

More on Money Now

Jan 15, 2013 4:00PM
In the restaurant business "whatever woiks!"  If people like breakfast pizza,  sell it to them.   How about a nice pastrami on a rye pizza with some mustard and pickles.
Jan 15, 2013 9:16PM
I find this hilarious as Casey's convenience store found in the midwest has served this for years!  It is delicious, and I frequently make this a stop when I am back in Iowa.
Jan 15, 2013 5:45PM
Pizza was originally  breakfast. There was no refrigeration so the leftovers from dinner were warmed on a flat piece of bread. Its how pizza was invented.
Jan 15, 2013 6:14PM
What a great idea!  I would totally buy and devour this!  Except I don't usually go out for pizza in the morning.  I love cold pizza with coffee!!!
Jan 15, 2013 8:22PM
An ex-GF used to order frozen breakfast pizzas from Schwans and they were actually pretty good. Not sure why these places have either no sauce or marinara sauce. Obviously the sauce should be white breakfast gravy.
Jan 15, 2013 9:26PM
Pizza itself has complex carbs in it which is okay. However one of the heart attack toppings to avoid would be pepperoni.  Eating 20 pieces wouldn't be good either.
Jan 16, 2013 3:02AM
That picture of the breakfast pizza...I could eat it any time of the day,one word-BACON!!!
Jan 16, 2013 12:32AM
Might as well have breakfast sushi while we're at it-raw fish eggs and raw fish served with uncooked grits. Yum yum!
Jan 16, 2013 9:13AM

Pizza is Flat bread, been around thousands of years? (well maybe hundreds)...What ever you put on flatbread around the World is usually a meal...?


Or eat it by itself..

Jan 16, 2013 12:25AM
Zzyzx Cafe in Camarillo CA has the best Breakfast Pizza, they have had it for years.
Jan 16, 2013 12:34AM
Thet already have breakfast pizza. It's called quiche.
Jan 15, 2013 5:22PM
break the yolk and eat before cold...I just don't know maybe?
Jan 15, 2013 2:47PM
So Taco Bell is taking orange juice and mixing it with Mountain Dew?  Way to ruin a perfectly good Mountain Dew.

There's just something wrong if you find yourself heading to Taco Bell or Domino's for breakfast.  It's one thing if you snarf down some cold pizza for breakfast, it's another thing to call Domino's at 7am and place an order for a sausage, egg and cheese pizza.  What's next, getting breakfast take-out from the China Garden? - "Uh, I'll have the bacon, egg and cheese lo-mein with a hashbrown eggroll and some of those fried wontons with a side of sausage gravy."

Jan 15, 2013 4:08PM
Just don't this pizza any time of the day! -
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