To lift sagging sales and perhaps lure late-waking millennials, McDonald’s is testing a limited all-day breakfast menu in San Diego. If it succeeds, the burger giant would be joining established morning operators and newer players who are extending breakfast hours.
It’s a smart way to build incremental business: According to Chicago researcher Technomic, 42 percent of young people want breakfast for dinner. There’s even a vocal community or “breakfastarians”—all-day breakfast fans—creating buzz on social media.
But just offering eggs after hours may not be enough. It’s also important to play to popular trends—health, customization, adult beverages and more—in order to rise and shine.
Taking trends to breakfast
With Breakfast Pot Pie, Juan’s Breakfast Tacos and Chilaquiles Benedict on the menu, Denver-based Snooze, an A.M. Eatery, is targeting that breakfast-for-dinner crowd. Founded by brothers Jon and Adam Schlegel in 2006, the now 10-unit chain seeks to evolve the a.m. experience with not only a twist on breakfast dishes but also its high-energy vibe and service.
Snooze currently is experiencing double-digit comps and sales of about $2.65 million per store, says Joseph Strelnick, executive chef and “chief culinary conductor,” who comes from a fine-dining background. For him, seasonality is important not only to distinguish the menu but also to keep food costs averaging 23 percent. The signature “Benny” (short for Benedict) in spring, for example, featured a polenta cake with asparagus, wild mushrooms and peas.
Guests also can craft their own meal from components in the Flavor Saveurs menu section. “We try to appeal to everyone—you can have a wacky meal or a breakfast staple, ” says Strelnick. Average check is $16 with a drink and Snooze offers about 20, including sparkling wine on tap and booze-infused coffees.
Waking up to health
When Ron Green opened Another Broken Egg Cafe 19 years ago, “every breakfast place was formica-clad, none had a special feel,” he says. His vision was to create a more upscale concept with a foodie-driven menu. Today, the Destin, Fla.-based chain numbers 51 locations, most franchised, and is one of Restaurant Business’ Future 50 chains.
Another Broken Egg’s menu is coursed, like a dinner menu, with appetizers, egg dishes and sides; check average is $13. Scratchmade signatures, such as Blackberry Grits and Bananas Foster Waffles share menu space with specialties for local markets, such as The Floridian, an omelet with garlic-sauteed crab. The Healthy Side menu section includes the best-selling “skinny” omelet with roasted vegetables and goat cheese. In the last year, Green has swapped out all the breads for whole-grain, preservative-free baked goods and has ramped up local sourcing.
Stores currently do $1.4 million average unit volume between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m., Green reports. For now, breakfastarians have to be satisfied with breakfast for lunch.
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