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The Sunnyside of Breakfast, Beyond Noon
June 18, 2012
Breakfast isn’t just for, well, breakfast any more. Today’s consumers not only want breakfast foods in the morning, but also in the afternoon and evening, too. However, they aren’t currently ordering breakfast foods at lunch or dinner because they aren’t finding such items on most full-service menus.
According to market research firm Technomic’s 2011 Breakfast Trend Report, more than two-fifths of consumers surveyed strongly agree that they would be likely to purchase breakfast foods instead of lunch or dinner foods if full-service restaurants offered breakfast all day.
Though some full-service restaurant menus do feature breakfast items at lunch and dinner, there has been little growth in this area in recent years, according to Datassential, a supplier of foodservice insights.
The most common breakfast items that are also currently available on all-day, lunch and dinner menus are pancakes, omelets and chicken fried steak, according to Datassential MenuTrends, which tracks 1 million menu items at more than 7,000 chains and independents. Pancakes are offered on 8 percent of all-day, lunch and dinner menus. Omelets are offered on 7 percent, and chicken fried steak on 6 percent. Other common breakfast items offered on menus at non-breakfast times include crepes, ham and eggs, French toast, Huevos Rancheros, waffles and quiche.
Despite the lack of growth of breakfast items on restaurant menus at lunch and dinner, a few items are trending up, Datassential found. Breakfast burritos, chicken and waffles, and oatmeal all have been showing up more on menus during the last year, both at the morning meal and beyond.
Consumers’ interest in breakfast at lunch and dinner is likely tied to a growing interest in the morning meal, as well as a desire for comfort foods they are familiar with.
There is little data on exactly which consumers would order breakfast post-morning meals. However, adults over 50 have been the top contributors to growth of the morning meal in recent years; therefore, they may be more likely than most to order items such as egg sandwiches, pancakes and waffles at other dayparts.
Full-service operators can easily take advantage of consumers’ interest in breakfast fare by offering existing breakfast items all day or by adding new breakfast items and ingredients associated with the morning meal to lunch or dinner menus. Here are a few ways some successful operators have started to menu breakfast after noon:
Though the trend to all-day breakfast is in its infancy, it represents a huge opportunity—with limitless menu possibilities—for operators. With consumers saying they would order breakfast all day if offered, it’s clear that restaurants that do offer quality, unique breakfast foods and ingredients on their lunch and dinner menus will reap the benefits.