Gradually, traditional daypart designations are fading in the face of a changing employment landscape, a 24-hour culture and altered eating habits.
Fast casual restaurants are adding breakfast dayparts and expanding menu options.
This category is thriving even as overall restaurant traffic is declining – with restaurant breakfast sales reaching $47 billion in 2013, up 5% from 2012.
U.S. restaurant traffic during breakfast hours increased 3% in 2013 compared with 2012, while restaurant traffic declined 1% during lunch and dinner hours.
The rise in breakfast traffic comes following a 1% increase in 2012 and a 2% increase in 2011. Lunch and dinner traffic remained almost completely flat over the same time period.
Furthermore, total restaurant morning meal visits are predicted to grow by 7% over the next nine years.
What’s With the Sudden Hype?
Breakfast offers fast casual restaurants potential opportunities for growth by satisfying a variety of consumer needs, all while introducing a different type of experience.
By expanding into the breakfast category and introducing new menu options, fast casual restaurants are answering the call of consumers – 84% of consumers say that healthy dining options are important to them when choosing where to dine out and 57% of consumers are worried about the financial impact of eating out, but they are willing to pay more for higher-quality food.
Simply put, it’s less costly than restaurant meals at other times of the day, it’s readily available, and it provides a seemingly healthier alternative to the typical quick-service breakfast options.
Strike While the Iron’s Hot
The breakfast category is presenting tremendous opportunity for fast casual restaurants, but the integral part to building this daypart’s success is zeroing in on the core needs of your breakfast customers.
Due to changing dynamics and audiences over the course of the day, fast casual restaurants will face new competitors and changing customer profiles.
By understanding how your customer profile and competition change based on daypart in each location’s trade area, you can make better real estate, operations and marketing decisions.
Want to capitalize on the emerging breakfast opportunity? Come to the table with the competitive edge given by customer analytics.