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Restaurant Breakfast and Brunch Trends - US - July 2016

Breakfast and brunch has gained attention from both chefs and consumers, as a number of chains have revamped or expanded their morning menus. While consumers tend to eat breakfast at home, many diners report buying breakfast at restaurants more often compared to just a year ago. Though there is a lot of competition for breakfast, there is still plenty of opportunity, as consumers are interested in a variety of breakfast options from healthy meals to high-quality coffee to portable meals.

This report examines the following issues:

  • Restaurants battle for breakfast
  • Most consumers eat breakfast at home

Breakfast is big business, with over 50% of consumers ordering breakfast foods from foodservice establishments more often compared to one year ago. QSRs (quick-service restaurants) and midscales received the most increases in visitation, but consumers report going to a variety of foodservice establishments more such as c-stores (convenience stores) and coffee houses. This increase in breakfast consumption is primarily driven by Millennials, who dine out at a much greater frequency than other consumers.

Consumers have very positive associations with brunch, which makes an appealing occasion for the restaurant industry. Diners believe brunch is social experience, they think brunch dishes are more innovative than breakfast dishes, and they agree that it is acceptable to order alcohol with brunch. Interest in brunch is nearly universal, with consumers from all ages, incomes, and areas expressing affinity for brunch.

From all-day breakfast to third wave coffee to breakfast bowls, consumers are open to a wide range of new breakfast offerings. Restaurant operators must first understand who their core consumer is before launching new breakfast items. For example, Baby Boomers are very interested in seeing healthier entrees on breakfast menus, while Millennials report interest in a variety of breakfast options with portable, snack-sized items being a particular area of opportunity.

This Report will cover consumer attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors surrounding breakfast and brunch in the foodservice industry. In this Report, “breakfast” can either refer to the morning dining occasion as well as a type of food that may or may not be consumed in the morning (eg pancakes for dinner). Likewise, “brunch” refers to an actual occasion (a meal between breakfast and lunch) as well as the foods commonly associated with brunch.

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • The issues
          • Restaurants battle for breakfast
            • Figure 1: Segment visitation for breakfast, April 2016
          • Most consumers eat breakfast at home
            • Figure 2: Breakfast food purchased in the past three months, April 2016
          • The opportunities
            • Half of consumers are ordering breakfast more compared to a year ago
              • Figure 3: Away from home breakfast behavior changes from one year ago, April 2016
            • Consumers are interested in a variety of new breakfast choices
              • Figure 4: Breakfast menu interest, generation, April 2016
            • There is an opportunity for restaurants in the brunch occasion
              • Figure 5: Brunch statement agreement, April 2016
            • What it means
            • The Market – What You Need to Know

              • Stable commodity prices makes breakfast profitable
                • Don’t ignore Gen X and Boomers when making a breakfast menu
                  • Healthy breakfast items can satisfy rushed diners
                  • Market Factors

                    • Restaurant industry recovers from commodity crisis
                        • Figure 6: Year-to-date changes in food prices, May 2016
                      • Millennials matter, but the wealth is with older consumers
                        • Figure 7: Median household income, by age of householder, 2014
                      • Consumers want to eat healthfully but are stressed for time
                        • Figure 8: Consumer opinions on healthful eating, NHCS Adult Study six-month Fall 2010-15
                    • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                      • The competition over breakfast heats up
                        • Restaurants are providing options for whatever mood diners are in
                          • International cuisines are influencing breakfast menus
                            • Breakfast menus become succinct
                            • What’s Working?

                              • Breakfast becomes a QSR battleground
                                • Restaurants see opportunity with expanded beverage offerings
                                  • Maintaining the balance between health and decadence
                                    • Chorizo emerges as a new favorite breakfast meat
                                    • What’s Struggling?

                                      • More breakfast means more competition
                                      • What’s Next?

                                        • Moving beyond the breakfast burrito
                                          • Making brunch mainstream
                                            • Better as a bowl
                                              • Eggs Benedict becomes a star dish
                                                • Figure 9: Eggs Benedict examples
                                              • Any protein can be a “breakfast meat”
                                              • Breakfast/Brunch Restaurant Profiles

                                                  • LSRs
                                                    • FSRs
                                                    • MMI Analysis

                                                      • Breakfast menus shrink and become international/regional
                                                        • Figure 10: Incidence of items on menus, Q1 2013-Q1 2016
                                                        • Figure 11: Incidence cuisine type on breakfast/brunch menus, top 10 cuisine types, Q1 2013-Q1 2016
                                                      • Breakfast/brunch menu items
                                                        • Operators trade breakfast sandwiches for burritos/tacos
                                                          • Egg entrees
                                                            • Figure 12: Menu item incidence on breakfast/brunch menus (top 10 dishes), Q1 2013-Q1 2016
                                                          • Pancakes, waffles, and baked goods
                                                            • Breakfast/brunch meats
                                                              • Breakfast/brunch dish ingredients
                                                              • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                • QSRs are the most popular segment for breakfast
                                                                  • The incidence of ordering breakfast AHF is up
                                                                    • There are multiple areas of opportunity for breakfast menus
                                                                      • Consumers think highly of brunch
                                                                      • Breakfast Foods Consumed AH versus AFH

                                                                        • Breakfast foods are typically purchased for the home
                                                                          • Figure 13: Breakfast food purchased in the past three months, April 2016
                                                                        • AFH breakfast purchasers
                                                                          • Figure 14: Breakfast food purchased at a foodservice establishment in the past three months, April 2016
                                                                          • Figure 15: Continued: Breakfast food purchased at a foodservice establishment in the past three months, April 2016
                                                                      • Important Breakfast Factors

                                                                        • Consumers want nutritious, affordable, and “real” breakfast foods
                                                                          • Figure 16: Important factors when choosing breakfast foods, April 2016
                                                                        • Men and women value different factors when choosing breakfast foods
                                                                          • Figure 17: Important factors when choosing breakfast foods, by gender, April 2016
                                                                        • Hispanics are interested in portable indulgent items
                                                                          • Figure 18: Important factors when choosing breakfast foods, by Hispanic origin, April 2016
                                                                      • Restaurant Visitation for Breakfast

                                                                        • QSRs are most visited segment for breakfast
                                                                          • Figure 19: Segment visitation for breakfast, April 2016
                                                                        • Men are key consumers for c-stores
                                                                          • Figure 20: Convenience store visitation for breakfast, by gender, April 2016
                                                                        • Restaurant visitation varies by age
                                                                          • Figure 21: Segment visitation for breakfast, by age, April 2016
                                                                        • Middle class and affluent consumers dine at many different restaurants
                                                                          • Figure 22: Segment visitation for breakfast, by income, April 2016
                                                                        • Rural diners are target market for QSRs
                                                                          • Figure 23: Segment visitation for breakfast, by area, April 2016
                                                                      • Restaurant Breakfast Changes in Behavior

                                                                        • Over half of consumers are ordering breakfast more compared to a year ago
                                                                          • Figure 24: AFH breakfast behavior changes from one year ago, April 2016
                                                                        • Millennials are driving the growth of breakfast
                                                                          • Figure 25: AFH breakfast behavior changes from one year ago, by generation, April 2016
                                                                          • Figure 26: AFH breakfast behavior changes from one year ago, by generation, April 2016
                                                                        • Parents are ordering breakfast more than non-parents
                                                                          • Figure 27: AFH breakfast behavior changes from one year ago, by parents and age April 2016
                                                                      • Breakfast Menu Interest

                                                                        • Healthy items, all-day breakfast and third wave coffee are areas of opportunity
                                                                            • Figure 28: Breakfast menu interest, April 2016
                                                                          • Reach women through healthy options/all-day breakfast, appeal to men through coffee and better packaging
                                                                            • Figure 29: Breakfast menu interest, by gender and age, April 2016
                                                                          • Baby Boomers are the most receptive to all-day breakfast
                                                                              • Figure 30: Breakfast menu interest, generation, April 2016
                                                                            • Hispanics are key coffee drinkers
                                                                              • Figure 31: Breakfast menu interest, by Hispanic origin, April 2016
                                                                            • Breakfast menu interest by segment visitors
                                                                              • Figure 32: Breakfast menu interest, by segment visitors, April 2016
                                                                          • Restaurants and Cage-Free Eggs

                                                                            • Who is the target audience for cage-free eggs?
                                                                              • Figure 33: Breakfast menu interest, entrees made with cage-free eggs, by select demographics, April 2016
                                                                          • Breakfast versus Brunch Menu Items

                                                                            • Savory entrees are best for brunch
                                                                              • Figure 34: Breakfast versus brunch item association, April 2016
                                                                          • Brunch Perceptions and Attitudes

                                                                            • Brunch is an area of opportunity for the restaurant industry
                                                                              • Figure 35: Brunch statement agreement, April 2016
                                                                            • High-earning Boomers are key brunch consumers
                                                                              • Figure 36: Brunch statement agreement, by generation, April 2016
                                                                              • Figure 37: Brunch statement agreement, by age and income, April 2016
                                                                            • Women respond to the social nature of brunch
                                                                              • Figure 38: Brunch statement agreement, by gender, April 2016
                                                                          • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                            • Data sources
                                                                              • Consumer survey data
                                                                                • Consumer qualitative research
                                                                                  • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                    • Abbreviations
                                                                                      • Terms
                                                                                      • Appendix – Consumer

                                                                                          • Figure 39: Statement agreement, “I often don’t have time to eat/prepare healthy meals”, Fall 2010-Fall 2015
                                                                                          • Figure 40: Statement agreement, “I am working at eating a well-balanced diet”, Fall 2010-Fall 2015

                                                                                      Companies Covered

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                                                                                      Restaurant Breakfast and Brunch Trends - US - July 2016

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