The battle for breakfast customers is heating up as more operators fight for share and try to keep up with consumers’ changing demands. Topping that list of demands are convenience, uniqueness and health, according to Technomic’s Breakfast Consumer Trend Report. To grab a bigger piece of breakfast business, delve into these trends and others revealed in the report.
1. Breakfast moves beyond the morning
Technomic found that 31% of consumers and 39% of those ages 18-34 are purchasing breakfast items outside of the traditional morning time slot. That shift means that diners are no longer strictly defining breakfast by time of day. Operators are responding by offering menu items that can morph from breakfast into lunch. Also on the increase are snackable foods that can satisfy midmorning hunger pangs for breakfast skippers.
2. Delivery hits the breakfast menu
While delivery is still a drop in the bucket at breakfast, it is a growing trend. About 20% of consumers and 32% of those in younger age groups are ordering breakfast for delivery more often than they were two years ago. Operators including Starbucks have ramped up delivery in the past year and/or are developing breakfast items that travel well, with speed and quality top priorities.
3. Weekend breakfast is growing
More customers are eating breakfast away from home on Saturdays and Sundays as the demand for convenience extends into the weekend. Although more leisurely sit-down breakfasts and brunches are still a draw in full service, consumers are also seeking portable items to grab and go in step with rushed weekend schedules—a demand that has increased in the past two years.
4. Global inspirations can be a lure
Tap into the demand for uniqueness and flavor exploration to attract breakfasters. Thirty-six percent of consumers ages 18-34 say they would purchase breakfast more often if there were more globally inspired items, while 25% of all consumers want restaurants to offer spicier options. Look toward Asian, Latin and Middle Eastern street foods to tap into global sandwiches, tacos, bao buns and other portable breakfast foods. Heartier egg dishes, such as Israeli shakshuka and Turkish menemen are geared to sit-down meals.
5. Put plants on the breakfast plate
With plant-forward eating continuing to be a major menu trend, think about adding veg-centric ingredients to breakfast dishes. Plant-based sausages and bacon are now more widely available, as are vegan egg substitutes and nondairy milks. About 20% of consumers indicate that they are eating plant-based breakfast foods more often. In addition, they are calling for more vegetable-focused options, and operators are responding by menuing avocado toast, veggie and grain bowls and wraps, and vegetable-and-fruit smoothies.
6. Convenience and taste drive traffic
During the week, tasty food draws 40% of breakfast customers to a particular restaurant, while 39% prioritize a convenient location near home. Those numbers go up to 49% and 42%, respectively, on the weekend. Other deciding factors include speed of service, an inexpensive price point and high-quality options.
7. Health can impact breakfast purchases
“Made from scratch” is a top purchase driver for breakfast with 68% of consumers. But “all-natural” and “no artificial Ingredients” follow close behind, with 58% of respondents considering these claims to be priorities. Protein also gets a call-out: 53% of consumers are looking for options that are high in protein. Operators are smart to communicate these attributes on the breakfast menu.