I’m not a big fan of breakfast myself — but apparently, I’m in the minority. While my company was preparing the AllBusiness AllStar Franchise rankings last month, I noticed a growing trend among restaurant franchises: More and more of them are offering breakfast foods — and not just at breakfast time.
A recent survey by food-service consulting firm Technomic confirms what I saw. MarketingDaily reports that almost half (46 percent) of the 1,500 consumers surveyed said they’d like full-service restaurants to offer breakfast items throughout the day. And nearly one-third (32 percent) would like limited-service restaurants to do the same.
The survey, “Breakfast Consumer Trend Report,” found that Americans consider breakfast foods comforting, which may explain the surge in interest in these menu items are experiencing during tough economic times.
What drives consumers’ choices when eating breakfast out? On weekends, when they have more time to eat, it’s taste (43 percent of consumers cited this). On weekdays, however, consumers choose restaurants based on low prices (45 percent) and convenient location (38 percent). Location isn’t the only convenience factor, though; 77 percent of consumers surveyed buy breakfast sandwiches “sometimes” or “often” on weekdays; 70 percent buy them on weekends.
What about health? More than one-third surveyed (35 percent) said fast-food restaurants should offer healthier breakfast choices. Although that’s down from 43 percent in Technomic’s last breakfast survey in 2007, Technomic EVP Darren Tristano surmises this may indicate consumers think restaurants have already begun offering healthier options.
Who’s leading the pack when it comes to offering breakfast? Technomic says fast-casual chains top other restaurant formats in terms of adding new breakfast entrees and sides.
What’s your takeaway? Whether you operate in the quick-serve, fast-casual or full-service environment, creative use of breakfast items in all dayparts can help drive sales. The survey showed that women, more than other demographic groups, are seeking breakfast foods all day long—so as you add menu items, keep women’s tastes and preferences in mind.
With restaurants competing for fewer and fewer dining dollars, it’s more important than ever to offer consumers exactly what they want—whether that’s omelets at midnight or premium coffee at dawn.
Rieva Lesonsky is CEO of GrowBiz Media, a content and consulting company that helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses. Follow Rieva on Twitter @Rieva. Visit SmallBizDaily.com to read more of Rieva’s insights on small business and to buy her newest book, Marketing 101: Quick Tips for Marketing Your Business.