Breakfast took a big hit during the last two years of the pandemic, but it appears the daypart is rebounding slowly but surely.
With so many people moving out of the office on a temporary or permanent basis, consumer traffic at breakfast fell drastically after the onset of the pandemic, with people increasingly sourcing breakfast at home rather than out.
Ipsos’ Asad Amin recently wrote for RestoBiz that breakfast traffic growth has been the strongest seen across any daypart year-over-year between February 2021 and February 2022, although it is still below pre-pandemic levels. QSRs still dominate morning traffic (74 per cent) but FSRs are slowly starting to regain their share of the morning, both during weekdays and weekends.
New data from Technomic suggests that overall, breakfast grew on menus by four per cent in the year between Q1 2021 and Q2 2022, a marked improvement from the eight per cent decline in breakfast items from pre-pandemic (Q4 2019) to today.
As the breakfast daypart starts to show signs of recovery, the company’s Ignite menu data found that some creative breakfast entrees are being seen alongside tried-and-true classics regathering momentum.
In particular, breakfast pizza appears to be surging in popularity, topping the list of fastest-growing breakfast entrees at 175 per cent YOY growth. These pizzas often feature classic breakfast ingredients such as eggs, bacon, and hollandaise sauce.
Technomic notes that breakfast pizza reflects a larger trend of daypart mashups, something that operators are gravitating more toward as a way to cross-utilize ingredients and maximize SKUs while providing innovative new offerings.
Aside from breakfast pizza, fish sandwiches are showing 53 per cent growth as breakfast entrees, most often in the form of bagel sandwiches with smoked salmon. This sandwich pulls double duty as both a portable and protein-packed breakfast, making it a more convenient and health-focused option.
Instances of classic comfort food offerings like Belgian waffle/waffles and eggs Benedict/Florentine are also creeping up on breakfast menus, falling in in line with the greater trend of classic comfort food favourites finding notable momentum during the pandemic.
Finally, breakfast value meals are also increasing on menus as consumers continue to seek out value-driven offers amid general inflation, wage pressures, and menu price hikes.