Rise and Shine: What’s on the Menu?

By Datassential

We’re always told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but do consumers actually feel that way? Turns out, yes - we’re big fans of food from the griddle. According to our 2019 Breakfast Keynote Report, around half of all consumers say they consider breakfast to be an important part of their day. Nearly one in four operators say they’ve seen an increase in brunch sales in the past year and 41% of U.S. restaurants either serve breakfast or are open during breakfast hours. 

We’ve established that the first meal of the day is pretty great—let’s explore what we’re eating, when, and where!

 

What’s cooking on the griddle?

Today, a significant portion of customers are seeking opportunities to experience new and unique foods. Millennials, specifically, are very adventurous and interested in on-trend breakfast foods, including the latest craze—avocado toast. Actually, avocados are showing up on nearly 30% of breakfast egg dishes with avocado toast being the fastest-growing breakfast item at limited-service and full-service restaurants. 

The five items we’re most frequently seeing on menus, in order of prevalence, are eggs, french toast, breakfast sandwiches, omelets, and pancakes. Additionally, just over one-third of operators say they’re interested in offering breakfast bowls.

Egg entrees are among the most profitable and best-selling breakfast menu items. Consumer interests and an increased focus on egg product methods are driving premium attributes like cage-free and hormone-free.

Bacon used to reign as the go-to breakfast protein, but honey ham is growing rapidly (one in two consumers say they’d be interested in trying it for breakfast). Fried chicken is also garnering interest for breakfast, particularly with millennials, playing into a regional favorite that’s recently spread nationally: chicken and waffles. 

 

Morning cup of joe reigns as champion

Unsurprisingly, brewed coffee is by far the most commonly consumed beverage at breakfast. When we don’t need caffeine to get us going, rosé is one of the fastest-growing alcoholic beverages on breakfast menus. Additionally, grapefruit is seeing renewed interest and menu growth within the breakfast alcoholic beverage space.

 

An EGGcellent time for brunch

Breakfast and brunch aren’t just weekend luxuries. As compared with 2016, breakfast food consumption during the week has gone up. Today, 81% of consumers’ last breakfast at home was on a weekday, compared with 62% in 2016.

Morning and midday are the most common times for brunch—one-third of operators have extended brunch to mid-afternoon and one-quarter begin serving brunch early in the morning. 

 

Where does the syrup hit the cakes?

Over half (60%) of consumers have breakfast at home, stating it’s more cost-effective. Away-from-home breakfast occasions haven’t necessarily declined, however. In fact, nearly 30% of consumers are buying breakfast more frequently from workplace dining venues and over one-third of student consumers say they’re making more breakfast purchases on campus. 

Are you taking the most important meal of the day seriously? With brunch continually on the rise, operators should explore how they can expand offerings to meet consumer desires.

 

To explore more top breakfast and brunch trends, please contact Brian Darr at 312-655-0594 or brian@datassential.com to purchase Breakfast: a SNAP! Keynote.