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US Restaurant Breakfast and Brunch Trends market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Restaurant Breakfast and Brunch Trends market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry and how fast are its rates of growth? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?


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.

While consumer attitudes/behaviors regarding breakfast foods from retail (ie food purchased from a grocery store) will be discussed briefly, retail breakfast foods are not covered in-depth.

This Report builds upon the analysis presented in Restaurant Breakfast and Brunch Trends – US, July 2016.

For information on retail breakfast foods please see:

  • Frozen Breakfast Foods – US, August 2017
  • Yogurt and Yogurt Drinks – US, August, 2017
  • Hot and Cold Cereal – US, September 2017

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Caleb Bryant, a leading analyst in the Foodservice sector, his extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Breakfast and brunch continue to shine as bright spots in the restaurant industry. Brunch in particular has become a trendy meal occasion due to its association with relaxation, innovative dishes, and even alcoholic drinks. Operators are leveraging consumers’ interest in brunch by creating unique brunch entrées and innovative brunch cocktails. While consumers view at-home breakfast foods as convenient, restaurants can invest in new technologies that make ordering breakfast even easier. Caleb Bryant
Senior Foodervice Analyst

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Breakfast and brunch importance in decline
          • Figure 1: Importance of breakfast among restaurant goers, any agree, Winter 2013-18
        • Younger consumers are interested in nontraditional options
          • Figure 2: Breakfast attitudes/behaviors, by age, April 2018
        • The opportunities
          • On-the-go options appeal to busy consumers
            • Figure 3: Source of breakfast eaten in-transit, April 2018
          • Menu variety is crucial to breakfast/brunch
            • Figure 4: Type of breakfast/brunch foods ordered, by restaurant type, April 2018
          • Coffee draws consumers in
            • Figure 5: Breakfast/Brunch behaviors, by gender and age, April 2018
          • What it means
          • The Market – What You Need to Know

            • Retail innovates to compete against restaurants
              • Tightening labor market affects restaurants
                • Busy schedules push out breakfast as a priority
                  • Morning snacking represents an opportunity for restaurants
                  • Market Perspective

                    • Retail offers premium and convenient breakfast items
                        • Figure 6: Breakfast attitudes/behaviors – Lightest, April 2018
                    • Market Factors

                      • Labor market is tightening
                        • Figure 7: Unemployment and underemployment, January 2007-June 2018
                      • iGens are coming of age
                        • Figure 8: Population by generation, 2013-23
                        • Figure 9: Breakfast attitudes/behaviors, by age-April 2018
                      • Is breakfast no longer a priority?
                        • Figure 10: Importance of breakfast among restaurant goers, any agree, Winter 2013-18
                        • Figure 11: Breakfast attitudes/behaviors – Tone, by age, April 2018
                      • Mealtimes are shifting to snack times
                        • Figure 12: Breakfast/Brunch diners’ breakfast attitudes/behaviors – Habits, April 2018
                    • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                      • Restaurants are investing in breakfast and brunch menus
                        • Delivery partnerships expand restaurants’ reach
                          • Brunch menus offer up more than pancakes
                          • What’s Working?

                            • Mainstream chains capitalize on popularity of breakfast
                                • Figure 13: IHOb Twitter discussion, June 2018
                                • Figure 14: IHOP Cowboy BBQ Burger social media analysis
                              • The definition of breakfast and brunch is expanding
                                  • Figure 15: Healthy breakfast for breakfast/brunch diners, April 2018
                              • What’s Struggling?

                                • Subway takes a step back on breakfast
                                  • Starbucks to close 150 stores
                                  • What’s Next?

                                    • Egg offerings diversify to meet shifting customer needs
                                      • Breakfast delivery enables catering
                                        • Large format cocktails for brunch
                                        • Breakfast and Brunch Restaurants to Watch

                                          • Limited-service restaurants
                                            • Full-service restaurants
                                            • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                              • Weekday versus weekend preferences diverge
                                                • Consumers are looking for variety
                                                  • Health, convenience are most important attributes
                                                    • Coffee is an important opportunity
                                                    • Breakfast/Brunch Restaurant Visitation

                                                      • More than half of consumers have dined out for breakfast/brunch
                                                        • Figure 16: Restaurant breakfast/brunch visitation, April 2018
                                                      • Men are more likely than women to eat foodservice breakfast
                                                        • Figure 17: Restaurant breakfast/brunch visitation, by gender, April 2018
                                                      • Dads are a key demographic for breakfast/brunch foodservice
                                                        • Figure 18: Restaurant breakfast/brunch visitation, by parental status and gender, April 2018
                                                      • Dining out for breakfast and brunch is popular for Hispanics
                                                        • Figure 19: Restaurant breakfast/brunch visitation, by race and Hispanic origin, April 2018
                                                      • Upper-middle-income earners are most likely to dine out for breakfast
                                                        • Figure 20: Restaurant breakfast/brunch visitation, by household income, April 2018
                                                    • Restaurant Visitation by Restaurant Type

                                                      • Breakfast diners prefer FSR locations
                                                        • Figure 21: Breakfast/brunch restaurant visitation– Any visitation, April 2018
                                                      • QSR visitation high on weekdays, while FSR visitation high on weekends
                                                        • Figure 22: Breakfast/brunch restaurant visitation, by restaurant type and day of week, April 2018
                                                      • Men remain top QSR consumers
                                                        • Figure 23: Breakfast/brunch QSR visitation, by age and gender, April 2018
                                                      • Weekday breakfasts are more consistent
                                                        • Figure 24: Breakfast/brunch diners’ attitudes/behaviors, by age – April 2018
                                                    • Breakfast and Brunch Foods Ordered

                                                      • Restaurant type is a key factor for breakfast/brunch food ordered
                                                        • Figure 25: Type of breakfast/brunch foods ordered, by restaurant type, April 2018
                                                      • Toast represents an opportunity for counter-service restaurants
                                                          • Figure 26: Avocado Toast
                                                        • Consumers are interested in variety on menus
                                                          • Figure 27: Breakfast/brunch diners’ attitudes/behaviors, by age, April 2018
                                                        • Further analysis: Dish consumption – Repertoire analysis
                                                          • Figure 28: Repertoire analysis of type of breakfast/brunch foods ordered, April 2018
                                                        • Parents more interested in multiple types of breakfast foods and beverages
                                                          • Figure 29: Repertoire of breakfast food types of interest, by parental status and number of children in household, April 2018
                                                      • Breakfast and Brunch Attributes

                                                        • Breakfast eaters are interested in health and convenience
                                                          • Figure 30: Breakfast attributes, April 2018
                                                        • Income factors into breakfast preferences
                                                          • Figure 31: Breakfast attributes, by household income, April 2018
                                                        • What healthy means to breakfast/brunch diners
                                                          • Figure 32: Attributes of a healthy breakfast for breakfast/brunch diners, April 2018
                                                        • Women more interested in healthy breakfasts than men
                                                          • Figure 33: Breakfast attributes, by gender, April 2018
                                                        • Younger generations are more interested in indulging for breakfast and brunch
                                                          • Figure 34: Breakfast attributes, by generation, April 2018
                                                        • Eating in-transit is an opportunity for operators
                                                          • Figure 35: Source of breakfast eaten in-transit, April 2018
                                                          • Figure 36: Breakfast attitudes/behaviors, by age, April 2018
                                                        • Messaging related to productivity may resonate
                                                          • Figure 37: Breakfast attributes, by breakfast/brunch diners and gender, April 2018
                                                      • Breakfast/Brunch Important Factors

                                                          • Figure 38: Breakfast and brunch important factors, April 2018
                                                        • iGen not as likely to prioritize premium or light menu items
                                                          • Figure 39: Breakfast/brunch important factors, by generation, April 2018
                                                        • Light options are of greater interest to older women
                                                          • Figure 40: Breakfast/brunch important factors, by age and gender, April 2018
                                                        • Breakfast combos invoke positive sentiment
                                                          • Figure 41: Breakfast Combination Plate
                                                        • TURF analysis
                                                          • Figure 42: TURF analysis – Factors, April 2018
                                                      • Beverage Interests

                                                        • Coffee and functional juices are key opportunities for operators
                                                          • Figure 43: Breakfast/Brunch beverages of interest, April 2018
                                                        • Young men prioritize coffee quality
                                                          • Figure 44: Breakfast/brunch attitudes, by gender and age, April 2018
                                                        • Parents are interested in premium coffee options
                                                          • Figure 45: Breakfast/brunch beverages of interest – Coffee, April 2018
                                                        • Cold coffee drinks offer incremental sales boost in afternoon hours
                                                          • Figure 46: Breakfast/brunch beverages of interest –Cold-brew coffee, by generation, April 2018
                                                          • Figure 47: Starbucks’ August 2018 Happy Hour Promotion
                                                        • iGens are interested in wellness shots
                                                          • Figure 48: Breakfast/brunch beverages of interest – Wellness shots, by generation, April 2018
                                                        • Hispanics are interested in a variety of beverages
                                                          • Figure 49: Breakfast/brunch beverages of interest, by Hispanic origin, April 2018
                                                      • Brunch Motivators

                                                        • Brunch is a time to treat yourself
                                                          • Figure 50: Brunch motivators, April 2018
                                                        • Brunch cocktails appeal to young and middle-aged women
                                                          • Figure 51: Bruch motivators, by age and gender
                                                      • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

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

                                                                  • TURF Methodology
                                                                      • Figure 52: Table – TURF analysis – Factors, April 2018