Image courtesy of Holler & Dash
The Mintel Menu Insights 2017 Breakfast and Brunch Food Report reported that the number of breakfast menu items in the U.S. increased 7 percent between the second quarter of 2015 and the second quarter of 2017. One of the rising breakfast items that can be used to make a menu stand out is chicken.

Chicken use as an ingredient in menu items at restaurants has increased by 137 percent in the last few years, signaling an opportunity for retailers to add it to their own morning menus in a variety of ways.

“Consumers are looking for different forms of protein across the board,” says Cristine Shipley, director of culinary at Marlin Network Culinary Arts. “Swapping out chicken instead of the traditional sausage or bacon will meet consumer demand for something new at breakfast.”

Chicken pairs well with biscuits to create an incredibly savory breakfast sandwich. Cracker Barrel’s new concept is its Holler & Dash Biscuit House in the Southeast. The biscuit-inspired menu pays tribute to the South in a fresh new way with chef-driven recipes and new flavors with the biscuit platform. One of Holler & Dash’s most popular items is The Chicken Holler, which features fried chicken, cheddar, pickles, and the option of hot sauce all on a buttery biscuit.

Image courtesy of Chick-fil-A
Chicken can also be a more health-conscious meat option, when it is grilled instead of fried. Many consumers view it as a healthy protein, so grilled chicken can satisfy their cravings while also giving them that peace of mind. For example, Chick-fil-A offers an Egg White Grill Sandwich that features grilled chicken, cooked egg whites, American cheese, and a toasted multigrain English muffin. The sandwich is listed at 300 calories, making it a more nutritional option than its menu counterparts.

The breakfast role of chicken is beginning to change at many different restaurants. Currently, Dunkin’ Donuts is testing out waffle-breaded chicken tenders at a number of its Boston locations at part of a $2 value menu that would also include such unique menu items as donut fries, pretzel bites, and ham & cheese rollups.

Because of its versatility, chicken can show up in something as simple as a sandwich or as complex as a breakfast bowl.  “Chicken provides the perfect canvas for creative exploration across the menu, from flavors to preparations to dayparts,” says Shipley.