While the evening food is where Belushi's generates the majority of its revenue, the company has recently taken the opportunity to maximise the early morning trade by making a number of changes to its breakfast offering. Under the guidance of UK Food Support Manager Gustavo Galvao, who joined head office in January - having previously worked in the kitchen - the bar has seen a staggering 70% increase in breakfast sales.
Fundamental to the increased uptake has been a complete menu overhaul, which has seen the traditional cooked breakfast introduced at the expense of lighter options.
Gustavo comments: "When I first joined, we used to offer things like Eggs Benedict, Eggs Florentine and yoghurt with granola and blueberries, which is not what we, or our customers, are about. They want a 'pick-me-up' breakfast with all the works, so we developed the menu to be more on-brand."
Off went the granola and yoghurt and in their place are fully loaded cooked breakfasts - the most popular being an English version, aptly named The Resurrection, and The American, which also comes with pancakes and maple syrup. As well as a vegetarian option and a pancake stack, Gustavo also devised a signature hand-held 'Bad Ass Breakfast Bap' combining all the big breakfast favourites such as bacon, sausage, eggs and hash browns, in a toasted brioche bun with homemade BBQ Jagermeister baked beans.
Another savvy move by Gustavo to boost the morning trade has been the introduction of a hostel breakfast upgrade where backpackers pay just £2.95 to swap the free buffet breakfast they are entitled to upstairs for The Resurrection, which is normally priced at £6.
"It was a missed opportunity to not target the backpackers previously," adds Gustavo. "We never had an upgrade option, but now we've introduced it, we have additional customers coming through the doors from upstairs."
With the exception of the pancake stack, all the breakfasts served at Belushi's include hash browns from potato specialist Aviko. Gustavo comments: "Everybody loves hash browns. With The Resurrection we get a lot of requests for no tomatoes, or no sausage, or bacon instead of eggs, but nobody gets rid of the hash browns. They are fried potatoes, what's not to love?"
Initially using a cheaper brand of hash browns, Gustavo quickly switched to the round version of Aviko's Hash Browns, a move which not only resulted in a better tasting product but also a more unique shape to help differentiate its breakfasts from others. Gustavo explains: "Aviko Hash Browns are a great product - they taste brilliant and don't need to be seasoned at all - and give us great value for money. I love the fact the ones we use are round in shape which fits really well when stacking on the Badass Breakfast Bap and also look interesting on the plate when customers usually expect triangles."
With one of the biggest challenges for a growing chain being consistency, Aviko's Hash Browns have enabled Belushi's to maintain standards across its various sites even though the skills sets of the chefs often varies.
Gustavo comments: "We were struggling to achieve consistency across sites, and it's important for us that customers visiting each one of our bars gets the best breakfast of their life. We wanted to make things easier and Aviko's Hash Browns enable us to do that. By cooking them from frozen there's no prep involved and no wastage - operationally it makes sense and I would definitely recommend them to other businesses."
Having worked as a chef previously and now holding responsibility for the financial management side of the food business, Gustavo is well aware that any new menu item has to work on price as well as a taste. Aviko's Hash Browns allow better plate fill and therefore meet customers' expectations on value.
Gustavo adds: "Two of the most important things to our customers are speed of service and value for money. Our breakfasts are really quick to prepare and when they come out with the hash browns on, they look massive - the customer feels like they are getting something bigger and better, but for us the cost of the hash browns is low. The GPs are crazy even though we sell a breakfast for £5! It means we can offer value for money and still bring in the margins, so it's win-win."
Dedicated to foodservice and one of the biggest potato processors in the world, Aviko offers a range of chilled and frozen potato specialities made by chefs, for chefs from morning favourites such as Hash Browns and innovative Hash Brown Bites, through to Premium Fries, Mash, Roasties and much more.