Leslie Park Lynn

Leslie Park Lynn is a 15 year restaurant industry veteran.

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, says an old adage. The saying was meant to encourage healthy practices but that phrase has recently taken on new meaning, at least for restaurant operators.

While breakfast has always been a standard meal for most families in the UK, it is usually made up of a fairly predictable plate of eggs, meats and other traditional items.

Now with breakfast coming on strong for the restaurant industry, breakfast is taking on a new look and a new meaning for operators.

Adding breakfast could mean big profits for restaurants

Restaurants are starting to look at the breakfast day part in a whole new way and not just from a cuisine standpoint. Offering breakfast can mean a significant increase in sales and profitability and a way to reach new customers and expand your customer base.

Thanks to some inventive pioneers, breakfast is becoming an increasingly creative and interesting event.

While fast food chains and mid-level breakfast chains have been gobbling up this market for decades, up until a few years ago, it was quite rare to find upscale casual dining and fast casual restaurants offering a breakfast day part.

Now that the potential for increased profitability and traffic has been discovered, the trend is growing among casual dining and even fine dining.

Breakfast is a growing trend

In early 2017, a press release put out by the NPD Group, a food and consulting research firm stated that breakfast was the only meal day part that has seen traffic growth in the past couple of years. Although the majority of this growth has been seen in the fast food segment, operators of fast-casual and casual dining restaurants are taking notice and exploring the potential of this growth trend.

There is even more good news coming out of other research firms such as Technomic. In the “2016 Future of FSR Consumer Trend Report”, Technomic reported that, compared to just two years ago, a growing number of consumers are increasingly more inclined to dine at full-service restaurants during the day.

One of the advantages of adding breakfast, aside from the increased sales and traffic, is that restaurants are able to expand their hours of operation without adding much labor. Breakfast menus are generally pretty simple and easy to execute so training existing staff is not difficult.

Additionally, breakfast ingredients have a low food cost which can yield great margins. Eggs and bread are some of the lowest cost food items a restaurant can buy and also make up a substantial part of the breakfast plate.

Creativity wins the day

breakfast-the-new-hitWith the breakfast trend growing, consumers are getting a lot more adventurous with their tastes. Many younger consumers enjoy eating foods for breakfast that are non-traditional, such as burgers and pizzas, that have a breakfast slant. Items associated with good health are also making their way onto the breakfast scene such as kale salads and grain bowls.

When restaurants are considering adding a breakfast day part there is a lot to think about. Kitchen logistics are a big consideration. Is the existing equipment suitable for the menu you are considering? Do you have the needed prep space? How will you manage labor? These are big concerns that you will need to solve for if you want to have a successful breakfast day part.

For those restaurants occupying expensive space, adding breakfast can allow them to maximize their sales per square foot, therefore helping to neutralize one of their prime costs. Those located in large cities can capitalize on the morning rush hour by offering gourmet to go breakfast meals, shakes and smoothies, which can yield high margins. Prepping for morning meals can be a challenge so restaurants may need to begin their prep for the next morning the evening before, so be mindful of the additional staff needed.


“Breakfast all day” is a winner

The concept of “breakfast all day” is a growing trend, as evidenced by the move McDonald’s made last year to expand their breakfast menu into their other day parts.

Restaurant operators must think outside the box on how to attract non-traditional guest to their restaurants. Look to build traffic through hosting business meetings and targeting those who do not work regular hours or work from home. If you are in a college town, targeting students is a great idea. Many want the comfort of a Starbuck’s atmosphere to study but also prefer a wider range of options for a meal.

Adding a breakfast day part offers some exciting options for restaurants looking to build sales and traffic. Those who are creative in their offerings can take it up a notch and obsolete their competition by offering something a consumer can only have at their restaurant.

Don’t let this growing trend pass you by. Look into adding a breakfast day part to your operation. It may be the best thing you’ve ever done for your restaurant.