Toast is easy, desirable and $15 at inner urban cafes looking to get a slice of the staple breakfast dish market.
In some cases the cost of ingredients would barely add up to 20 per cent of the price, and the dish is the first thing many people learn how to make for themselves, so is innovation really worth the markup?
The answer could be much simpler, says Dr Dan Woodman, a sociologist at Melbourne University.
According to Dr Woodman, some people just struggle to do the tasks required to keep food in the house.
“Those tasks are being outsourced to the market,” he said.
Toast, a bread-based cafe in Perth, has 11 variants of bread-with-something-on-it including sardines on sourdough ($12.5), beans on toast ($11.5) and Nutella on challah ($11.9), but also culinary experimentations like asparagus, egg and pecorino cheese on French peasant loaf ($14.9).
Perth icon Toastface Grillah offers eight puntastic varieties at a $5-$9 price range, which start with the simple Get yo’ Veg vegemite and cheese toast to the gouda, apple, onion and bacon Notorious B.A.G.
Co-owner Alister Miles says customers at the CBD lane café are often city workers but the place also attracts children and older people.
“We live a pretty fast-paced lifestyle, for many people grabbing something on the go seems like the norm,” he explains.
He says while some establishments try to expand taste horizons with mind-bending ingredient combinations, his business tries to keep it simpler.
“We don’t go too extreme but we don’t go with the generic ways that we were brought up with,” he said.
Most of his customers just want a ham and cheese or a chicken and avocado.
The latest toast-focused café, Crompton Coffee in Melbourne, has “seven varieties, five of which rotate regularly” at about $7-$8, food blog Broadsheet reports.
Perhaps most bleary-eyed breakfasters wouldn’t reach for the pepper, ricotta, figs and honey after they roll out of bed, so they tramp down to the café for a touch of something nicer.
— Broadsheet Melbourne (@Broadsheet_Melb) April 14, 2015
“You could make toast like this at home, but it wouldn’t be as nice,” Nick Connellan writes.
Dr Woodman says people are not necessarily too busy to make a piece of toast, but they feel busier.
“People tend to live their life on the run a bit more,” he said. “Life is lived kind of by juggling.”
He said while people are not too busy to make toast, shopping for ingredients and storing them presents challenges that don’t fit their lifestyle.
The role of keeping the fridge stocked or making breakfast may have traditionally fallen to a housewife, but in modern households “it’s the way people are managing, having both people in the couple working full time”.
A photo posted by Heidi – Apples Under My Bed (@heidiapples) on