Who's Winning the Breakfast Wars

Study breaks down who is eating at QSRs in the morning the most and where

NEW YORK-- Who is eating quick-service breakfast most and in what markets? Those are two of the answers sought in a recent study by consumer research firm Scarborough Research.

The company's analysis of breakfast diners and the fast-food establishments they patronize found that, nationally, 37% of adults have eaten breakfast at a fast-food restaurant in the past month.

The analysis also uncovered that in the battle for the most important meal of the day, McDonald's holds the top spot. Among quick-service breakfast diners, 46% of adults dined at the Golden Arches for [image-nocss] breakfast in the past month. Dunkin Donuts (19%), Starbucks (19%) and Burger King (12%) round out the top four national fast-food chains for breakfast diners.

Breakfast Diner Demographics

People who enjoy fast-food breakfast are 16% more likely than the average adult to be a member of Generation Y (ages 1829), according to the study. Adults who live in households with annual incomes of $100K+ and those who have a college education or advanced degree are more likely to dine at fast-food restaurants for breakfast than consumers from lower or lessaffluent income brackets.

Fast-food restaurant diners are 13% more likely to be AfricanAmerican and 11% more likely to be Hispanic.

Top Local Markets for Breakfast Diners

Taking it to the local level, Greensboro, N.C., is the top local market for fast-food restaurant breakfast diners. More than half (56%) of Greensboro adults have eaten breakfast at a quick-service restaurant during the past month. Other leading cities for fast-food breakfast diners include Boston (55%), Raleigh, N.C. (51%), Charlotte, N.C. (49%), Greenville, S.C. (49%), and Providence, R.I. (49%).

Some of these leading local marketssuch as Greensboro, Raleigh, Charlotte and Greenvillehigher-than-average quick-service restaurant usage overall. Otherssuch as Boston and Providencecertain demographic attributes that mirror those of the fast-food restaurant diner, such as a higher-than-average representation of single adults.

"The breakfast wars are raging, and fast-food brands have evolved their product offerings to better compete for share of stomach," said Alisa Joseph, vice president of advertiser marketing services for Scarborough Research. "These major restaurant chains have always understood the importance of localism and continue to adapt their marketing, menu options and promotional efforts to suit the distinctions of the locals."

The Breakfast Battle Online

Quick-service breakfast diners are heavy Internet users. In addition to being 18% more likely than the average adult to spend 20+ hours online per week, they are more likely than the average adult to engage in a wide variety of internet behaviors, including:
Social networking and other social behaviors such as: Fantasy sports (35% more likely than total adults to have played fantasy sports online during the past month) Social networking sites such as Facebook (26% more likely) Instant messaging (24% more likely) Blogging (21% more likely) Obtaining news and information, such as: Weather information (15% more likely) Sports scores (23% more likely) News (16% more likely) Downloading material, such as: Music (25% more likely) Video games (21% more likely) Coupons (22% more likely) Movies (28% more likely) Fast-food breakfast diners are 22% more likely than the average adult to have downloaded an online coupon and 29% more likely to typically receive coupons via e-mail or text message. They are also more likely to use coupons for groceries or other services overall.

"Whether targeting a student working on a research project or a professional catching up on e-mail, some fast-food chains have added WiFi to their restaurants to create a caf a a' a' a' environment so patrons can relax, stay awhile and enjoy additional menu items," said Joseph. "Brands have an opportunity to leverage the WiFi with the digital couponing activity to target these consumers as they dine."