Breakfast Patronage Up at Foodservice Locations

Technomic finds ample growth opportunities for restaurants serving morning daypart

CHICAGO -- While breakfast sales have grown steadily for restaurants, retailers and suppliers over the past few years, consumer data shows that the market is not yet saturated and there are still opportunities within this category. In its Breakfast Consumer Trend Report, foodservice consultancy Technomic estimated that the breakfast segment accounts for 12% of the total restaurant industry, generating around $42 billion in annual sales.

Breakfast patronage is up at foodservice locations, particularly fast-food restaurants, where 46% of consumers now occasionally purchase weekday breakfasts compared to just 33% in 2009.

"Breakfast is a very dynamic segment in which consumers are looking for healthier options and place a premium on convenience," said Technomic executive vice president Darren Tristano. "Our busy lives and weekly routines drive the need for fast, convenient options in the morning. When consumers don't have convenient options, they're increasingly bringing breakfast from home to eat elsewhere."

The Breakfast Consumer Trend Report also found that consumers generally place greater importance on convenience and speed of service than price for breakfast occasions, indicating that consumers are willing to pay more for a morning meal that saves time and fits their daily routine.

About 75% of consumers surveyed agree that a convenient location is important when purchasing a breakfast item from a restaurant or other foodservice location during with week.

Coffee is playing an increasingly important role in consumers' breakfast purchasing decision: 33% of consumers who drink coffee at breakfast indicate they are loyal to a coffee brand or restaurant that serves their preferred coffee, up from just 25% of consumers who said the same in 2009.

Consumers say full-service restaurants excel at providing kids' options, and signal opportunities for full-service restaurant operators to boost breakfast sales through portable breakfast options.

Over the past two years, limited-service restaurants have added more than 230 new breakfast items, illustrating that breakfast remains a growth category for limited-service operators.

Health is a top trend to watch. Beyond lowfat/nonfat ingredients, whole grains and multigrain items are a way to signal health. Oatmeal is booming and will continue to be prevalent on breakfast menus.

Chicago-based Technomic provides clients with the facts, insights and consulting support they need to enhance their business strategies, decisions and results. Its services include numerous publications and digital products, as well as proprietary studies and ongoing research on all aspects of the food industry.