Consumer Trends

Breakfast visits up as more workers return to the office

Consumers purchased breakfast at restaurants more frequently over the past year and the biggest spenders were men.
coffee shop
Consumers stop at coffee shops for breakfast as a way to treat themselves on the way to work. | Photo: Shutterstock

Restaurant visits for breakfast are up 4% in 2023, according to recent findings from Circana, the Chicago-based consumer research company. And most of those visits are happening from Tuesday through Thursday, when people are most likely commuting to the office.

While office workers might be driving weekday breakfast business, it’s male customers aged 45-54 with higher incomes who are the most frequent purchasers and the biggest spenders. This group spends five times more on restaurant breakfasts than the average consumer and often seeks out caffeinated beverages and convenient, on-the-go breakfast items, Circana reports. They tend to stop at a gourmet coffee and tea chain as a way to treat themselves on their way to the office during the week. 

Younger consumers aren’t exactly slackers. Gen Zers who fall into the 18-24 age group may purchase fewer restaurant breakfasts each year than any other age cohort, but they have also increased breakfast visits since last year. And they are still looking to treat themselves, ordering specialty iced and blended drinks but gravitating toward lower-price channels, such as fast-food burger chains.

Just 20% of U.S. shoppers are currently buying breakfast at restaurants but they account for 60% of breakfast sales. It seems like retail stores are losing morning sales to restaurants 

“As gourmet coffee players continue to add locations, up 8% versus a year ago, we are seeing long-term implications and growth opportunities emerge for CPG retailers and brands …,” Tim Fires, president, Foodservice, Circana, said in a statement. “The opportunity to capture the heavy restaurant breakfast buyer in-store and deliver on their needs is through RTD specialty caffeinated drinks, with formats and flavors that are available in restaurants, along with convenient grab-and-go breakfast items like donuts, pastries and baked goods that don’t require utensils.” 

Members help make our journalism possible. Become a Restaurant Business member today and unlock exclusive benefits, including unlimited access to all of our content. Sign up here.


Exclusive Content


Some McDonald's customers are doubling up on the discounts

The Bottom Line: In some markets, customers can get the fast-food chain's $5 value meal for $4. The situation illustrates a key rule in the restaurant business: Customers are savvy and will find loopholes.


Ignore the Red Lobster problem. Sale-leasebacks are not all that bad

The decade-old sale-leaseback at the seafood chain has raised questions about the practice. But experts say it remains a legitimate financing option for operators when done correctly.


The restaurant M&A market was tough, and then came the bankruptcies

The market for restaurant mergers and acquisitions has been slow for more than two years. But that market is bifurcated, as good deals get done and opportunistic buyers snap up low-priced chains.


More from our partners