Breakfast offerings have boosted sales and traffic in the quick service and fast casual segments as competition rises in this sought-after morning day part; and the trend doesn’t stop there. Brunch is becoming as popular as dinner in casual and fine dining hot spots on weekends, with gourmet spins on favorite breakfast dishes and unique drinks to pair with them. As these menu items are becoming big sellers, more restaurants are beginning to offer morning treats all day and night.
Question: Is breakfast really an “anytime” menu item?
We asked this question to our resident “foodie” and frequent diner, Alex Stewart, to chef Paolo Stefani, and to restaurateur Jim Rees, owner of Hash House a Go Go, with restaurants in cities such as San Diego, Las Vegas and Chicago. We also surveyed our iDine® members. Here is what they think of this menu trend:
ANSWER: I say yes, definitely.
When McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson publicly announced that the chain was flirting with the idea of all-day breakfast, my heart skipped a beat. Because sometimes you have a craving that only a hash brown or sausage McGriddle can fill. And obviously I’m not the only person who feels this way. A common mantra I often hear is, “Why doesn’t McDonald’s serve breakfast after 10:30?”
But there is a reason so many diners flourish across the United States and it’s because they have the ability to cook breakfast all day long. Most people don’t realize that most chains can’t serve breakfast all day from an operational stand-point. They stop serving because they need the grills and microwaves for things like burgers and chicken tenders. Full-service restaurants, however, have the capability to serve breakfast all-day long and I personally feel like if you have the ability then you should!
ANSWER: I say yes, but give it a twist.
To me it all comes back to the comfort foods that we all grew up with. Those will never fade from our memories; it is our go to food! People are looking for fun foods that have an approachable feel to them and breakfast has to rank way up there. The ability to customize or create a breakfast item in a way that gives it appeal during the evening or mid-day is why I think you will continue to see this trend. Taking eggs benedict, one of my favorite breakfast items, and serving it on cornbread with pulled pork all of a sudden make it sound like a cool dinner option.
Jim Rees, Hash House A Go Go (Serving “Twisted Farm Food” for 10 years now, Hash House keeps the fun in food while pulling from the experiences of farm fresh agriculture, live stock and old recipes with a twist. Winning numerous awards in San Diego and Las Vegas, this restaurant provides innovative food and an exciting atmosphere.)
ANSWER: I say yes because the numbers tell me so.
The Breakfast day part has been and still is the largest growing segment of our industry. Our restaurants serve Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and our sales are split very evenly between each meal. Over 50% of our Lunch sales are Breakfast items and although our selection is more limited at Dinner we are seeing more and more Breakfast entrees ordered at Dinner. Of interest is one of our signature entrees the “Fired Chicken Benedict” which is one of the top 3 selling entrees at Dinner and is a testament to the guests’ acceptance of traditional Dinner ingredients served with a breakfast twist. Recently several of our restaurants started serving Brunch everyday of the week which begs the question that maybe the public is also interested in Lunch for Breakfast??
What do our iDine members have to say?
ANSWER: I’m happy to be able to order breakfast anytime, yes!
In a recent survey to our iDine members we asked what they thought about breakfast any time. Fifty-five percent of respondents said that they like that it is available whenever they want it, but they still usually save it for breakfast or brunch time. This, coupled with 31% of the respondents stating they love that they can order it any time because they’ll eat it any time, shows a trend toward the love of breakfast items that is not slowing down. And I would venture to guess that these numbers will only continue to rise as more chefs and restaurants find interesting ways to use breakfast items for dinner as Chef Paolo suggests and Hash House has perfected.
Only 6% of our respondents said that it takes away from the excitement of breakfast or brunch, while 8% don’t even order breakfast food at breakfast, which brings us back to Jim Rees’s question: is the public also interested in Lunch for Breakfast as the next big menu trend?