Office Breakfast Ideas
Even though breakfast is the most important meal of the day, too many people have nothing more than a coffee or a doughnut in the morning. Show your employees how much you appreciate them by offering them breakfast at the office. Sitting down for a meal together gives everyone a chance to relax and socialize before starting the workday.
Such bonding experiences improve employee morale, which makes your staff more engaged and productive. It also doesn’t hurt that eating a decent breakfast will improve your employees’ concentration for the rest of the day. Whether you’re hosting an office breakfast for the first time or just want to try something different, we’ve got plenty of ideas for you. Take a look at the following meal options and general tips.
Breakfast at the Office
Whether you’re celebrating a holiday or just want to thank your staff for working so hard, you can make the event as extravagant or as casual as you like. The menu items you choose will depend on the company’s budget, the general atmosphere of the office, and what sort of statement you want to make.
For the following office breakfast ideas, include one or more of the usual beverages: coffee, tea, orange juice, and other fruit juices such as cranberry or grapefruit juice.
The Breakfast Buffet
If you want to go all out for your employees, give them a catered office breakfast. Whatever catering company you go with should provide plates, cutlery, napkins, and anything else you need. The types of packages vary from company to company, but generally speaking, you can expect various hot food and cold food options.
Hot food options may include:
- Skillet-cooked scrambled eggs, served plain or with toppings such as ham, green peppers, mushrooms, or bacon.
- Grilled or fried meat such as sausages, bacon, ham, steak and eggs, or sausage gravy with biscuits.
- Potato-based items such as classic hash browns or home fries.
- Waffle breakfast stations with fresh fruit, whipped cream, and different flavors of syrup.
- Omelet stations that let employees add various cheese, meat, or vegetable ingredients.
Cold food options may include:
- Muffins, croissants, and scones served with preserves and butter.
- Fresh fruit salad or a fruit platter.
- Individual yogurts or yogurt parfaits.
- Cereal with milk or soy milk.
Many catering companies also let you create personalized plated meals. This choice works best if you want breakfast to feel more formal and traditional. However, a buffet is probably more convenient if your employees have different dietary needs.
The Healthy Breakfast
Whether serving healthy food for breakfast is part of the company wellness program or part of your personal philosophy, you can definitely pull it off without making your employees suffer. After all, the last thing you want is to give them a meal that tastes more like a punishment than a reward! Options will differ depending on your region, but popular foods include:
- A self-serve hot oatmeal station with soy milk and skim milk; dried fruit like raisins, cranberries, or cherries; toasted nuts and seeds like almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds; and natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup.
- Whole grains breads with all-natural peanut butter, almond butter, or fresh avocado.
- No-sugar-added cereals with skim milk or plant-based milks.
- Low-fat proteins such as turkey slices for meat-lovers and baked beans for vegetarians and vegans.
- A make-your-own-parfait station with Greek yogurt, fresh fruit and berries, and granola.
Avoiding foods high in saturated fat or processed sugar is certainly a good idea, but remember that the healthiest foods aren’t necessarily fat-free or sugar-free. Look at the nutritional value and not just the calorie count. Choose whole-grain breads over white, processed breads; the additional fiber helps lower cholesterol levels. Select fruits of multiple colors; the different colors indicate the presence of different types of vitamins and antioxidants. For example, orange fruits like mango contain beta carotene, which your body converts to vitamin A.
The Office-Meeting Breakfast
If you’re not able to host a breakfast that’s purely social, do the next best thing and serve breakfast during an office meeting. Whatever food you serve should be relatively simple so it doesn’t distract employees or become too much of a mess to clean up afterward. Try these popular office breakfast ideas:
- Breakfast sandwiches such as classic ham and cheese or vegetarian-friendly avocado and tomato.
- Bagels with assorted cream cheeses, jams and jellies, and peanut butter.
- Baked goods like muffins, scones, or coffee cake.
- Fruit kebabs or a fruit platter.
Instead of serving the usual pot of coffee, consider taking everyone’s order and having their favorite latte, espresso, tea, or other hot beverage delivered in a coffee run.
The Breakfast Potluck
Do you have the type of employees who like to get really involved in events? Do you think a breakfast potluck suits your company size better than a catered event would? If you answered yes to either of these questions, your options are only limited by your imagination (and by your employees’ cooking skills). Just a few of the many ideas for breakfast potluck dishes include:
- Breakfast pizza, which typically has eggs, bacon, and cheese.
- Homemade granola bars.
- Breakfast strata made with any combination of vegetables or meats.
- Pancakes or waffles. Use gluten-free bread to make gluten-free French toast.
- Mini breakfast burritos. Stuff them with beans, rice, salsa, and avocado to make them vegan-friendly.
- Monkey bread. Also known as sticky bread, this pastry tastes more like dessert than breakfast, but does that really matter? It’s delicious!
If your company doesn’t already have a breakfast club, find out if your employees want one. People who enjoy preparing food for potlucks will most likely appreciate having a breakfast club. If your office has a kitchen, that makes food preparation even easier.
General Tips for Breakfast at the Office
Once you’ve chosen a menu for the office breakfast, the most time-consuming part of the planning is over. However, your work isn’t finished just yet. Keep these general tips in mind before you place the order for the food (if you’re hiring a catering company), setting the date and time, and announcing the company breakfast to your office.
Set Aside Enough Time
This advice may seem obvious, but it’s still worth mentioning that you should set aside a good chunk of time for breakfast at the office. After all, the entire point is to give your employees a short break. One hour usually gives everyone enough time to socialize and eat without rushing. Scheduling an actual time also shows your employees that you put in extra effort on their behalf, which helps them feel valued.
Account for Dietary Needs
Overlooking employees’ special diets happens all too easily, and taking everyone’s needs into account is especially challenging if you have a large company. Before you decide what food to order for the office breakfast, find out if anyone follows a special diet, even if you think you already know the answer. Anyone’s health status, religion, or personal beliefs may change at any time, so they may not eat the same foods as you remember.
You may need to provide foods that are vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, kosher, or halal. Also check if anyone has any food allergies. The most common allergies involve fish, shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, eggs, wheat, and soy. If an employee has a rare or unusual allergy, such as an allergy to black pepper, corn, or bananas, you’ll need to make special arrangements for that person’s meal.
Account for Different Schedules
While most offices have a 9-to-5 schedule, others have employees working in shifts. If the latter is the case for your company, make sure that everyone gets breakfast. You can order the food in batches and have each batch delivered for each shift so that nobody has to eat another shift’s leftovers. In the case of a breakfast potluck, find out if the employees on the afternoon or night shifts want to take part. If so, they can each host their own potluck.
Breakfast is such a versatile meal that you can easily plan a menu that works for any situation, from elaborate catered events to office-meeting breakfasts to wellness-inspired meals. You can make the food yourself, order from a catering company, or encourage your employees to throw a potluck. The most important rule is to include everyone. The next time you schedule a breakfast at the office, try at least one of these menu suggestions. You just might discover a new favorite recipe.