Tips on Preparing the Perfect Breakfast for a Crowd

Making breakfast isn’t as simple as breaking a few eggs. In fact, breakfast can be one of the more challenging meals of the day. Many breakfast foods tend to not hold temperature well and can border on overdone, underdone, soggy or greasy very easily. Planning a breakfast for family and friends in the near future? Not to worry! Breakfast is our business and with roughly 3,650 breakfasts served over our 10 years of operation, we’ve accumulated some tricks of the trade and know-how to help you create a breakfast that will have your loved ones wanting to get out of bed.

Set the mood
Nothing will make people feel special more than setting the table in style. This does not mean the breakfast needs to be formal. Pick a theme and formality and set the table based on that. This can be anywhere from using china and silver on silk place mats to using mismatched vintage plates and mason jar glasses with a table runner and flowers. Here are some of our recommendations:

  • Use metal silverware. The weight of holding actual flatware gives a touch of elegance and occasion to the meal that plasticware will not.
  • Use linen/fabric napkins. This is just another way to add some sophistication to the table setting with not a lot of effort.
  • Make sure you have enough glassware. Expect to have 1 glass for water, 1 for juice, and 1 mug/teacup for coffee and tea per person attending. Set your table to fit these extras.
  • Set the table the day or night before to alleviate the stress in the morning.
  • Have some light music playing throughout breakfast. This will break the ice and make people feel more comfortable.

Decide on service
How do you plan to serve your food? For more formal settings, plan to do a plated breakfast, meaning everyone gets the same breakfast served to them already plated. For more informal settings, you may want to do a family-style type meal where everyone can serve themselves. The way you serve depends not only on formality, but also on what you plan to serve. Some breakfast foods do not “age well”, so to speak and may not be palatable 15-20 minutes after they have been prepared, making them unsuitable for family-style serving. Some of our tips for food service:

  • A plated, sit down breakfast is great for up to 12 people. Much more than that and you won’t be able to get things plated and served before they get cold. (You may want to consider enlisting help for groups larger than 8)
  • If you want to opt for family-style service, consider having the food on a separate table from the one where people are eating. Guests will have to get up from the table to serve themselves, however we find most people don’t mind this, especially if the setting is informal. This will give you more room for table settings and decorations and will prevent reaching and spilling that occurs as people try to pass dishes around the table.
  • Keep small extras on the table. These include syrups, cream, sugar, salt, pepper, biscuits, butter, ketchup, and even fruit.

Eggs
Breakfast revolves around the egg dish. Unfortunately, serving eggs to a crowd may be one of the more difficult things to master. Under/overcooking is common. Also, once they come off the stove or out of the oven, they immediately start losing precious heat and once eggs are cold, they are pretty much inedible. Here are some of our tips about serving eggs:

  • Serving eggs for a plated breakfast is the easiest option. The eggs will finish cooking and go directly on the plate and to the table, minimizing time and heat loss. You can brave a recipe like an egg souffle for this service style.
  • Serving eggs family style is a challenge. Stay away from recipes that will fall, like a souffle or a german pancake. We suggest staying away from scrambled eggs because these will turn grey quickly, even if you have a chafing dish. Try casseroles, frittatas, or quiches that can be served warm and people can easily serve themselves. Individual ramekins with baked eggs work well too, as they hold the heat in the ramekins but the yolks do not tend to overcook as easily.

Know your Recipes and Cook Times
Make sure you have all your recipes planned out ahead of time, even if you have made it before. Don’t kill yourself with multiple recipes that require a lot of attention to finish. For example, if you’re making pancakes on the stove top, cook bacon and your egg dish in the oven.

  • Write down when things need to go in the oven/start cooking.
  • Account for limited oven and stove space.
  • Account for time needed for filling water/juice glasses, syrups, making coffee, and other extras.

Smart Cleanup
The best way to deal with the dishes of a big breakfast is to do them as you cook. Give yourself some extra time during the cooking process to wash bowls and pans. This way once breakfast is over, you will only have breakfast plates and cups to wash or put in the dishwasher.

If you’re still nervous, try a practice run before hand! This is a great way to test recipes and find potential problems before the big day. And have fun!! Breakfast is one of the most beloved and forgiving meals and a great way to bring family together.

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