Comfort and price are two theories as to why consumers are demanding more breakfast items on restaurant menus; both theories stem from the recession. Breakfast is the ultimate comfort food. Menu items like: biscuits and gravy or bacon and eggs remind people of a time when things were simpler, and in tough economic times, people want to be reminded of simpler days. As far as the price theory goes, well, breakfast is cheaper than lunch and dinner, so many consumers that still want to eat out have switched to eating breakfast away from home in order to save money.
Regardless of the reason, consumers are craving more and more breakfast options. Mintel Research predicts that the breakfast market will expand 13% by 2014. With this increasing demand, a lot of restaurants are adding breakfast items to their menus. (Source)
Some Ideas You Can Try
Adding new items to an existing menu can be a little tricky. Existing restaurants that want to start serving breakfast face even more uncertainty by adding extra hours of operation in the morning. Here are a few tips to consider in order to get your breakfast offerings off to a healthy start:
- Sandwiches and wraps rule. In this fast-paced society, convenience is key, and breakfast sandwiches and wraps are quick and easy options for on-the-go customers.
- Consider all-day breakfast. There are entire chains (like Denny’s) that make their living off of providing breakfast all day long, and there is room for more. According to Mintel Research, 36% of consumers want to see more all-day breakfast options. That should be compelling enough data for restaurants that serve breakfast to look into an all-day offering. (Source)
- Give premium coffee a try. If anything can be learned from McDonalds’ assault on Starbucks, it is that premium coffee has a place in any breakfast market. Since many people need caffeine to get their day started, premium coffee is a good hook to get customers in the door. Then you can up-sell them a breakfast sandwich.
- Extend breakfast hours. As mentioned before, more and more consumers would like breakfast offerings outside of traditional breakfast hours. Restaurants that already offer breakfast don’t have to switch to an all-day breakfast menu, but expanding the breakfast hours into the early afternoon will cater to those late-risers or customers who want bacon and eggs for lunch.
- Add breakfast ingredients to regular menu items. You don’t have to create an entire breakfast menu or even change your hours to cash in on diners’ desire for breakfast offerings. You can just use breakfast items in non-traditional ways. For example, Chumley’s, a restaurant in Lafayette, IN, has a bacon and egg cheeseburger on their menu. It’s a fried egg on top of a bacon cheeseburger, and it’s delicious.
- Give breakfast a test run first. As with all things, you don’t want to dive in head first and hope for the best. Take Wendy’s, for example. The fast food chain has tried to roll out breakfast items several times in the last few years, but, for whatever reason, their customers aren’t interested. Make sure your customer base is interested in breakfast items by testing a few menu items and listening to feedback.