Incredible Breakfast Trends

ADB: The Breakfast Counter

A February article in The New York Times stated, Deferred breakfasts are increasing the business of those who cater to late sleepers. It continued with… the breakfast counter has now come to their aid and may become as important as the lunch counter. The article points out that commuter hubs have proven to be profitable places for those offering quick breakfasts, but that workers also provide business all morning for other quick-meal operations in office districts. If the language sounds a little stiff, it’s likely due to the piece being published in 1927. Yes, it’s true, we’ve been talking about expanded breakfast hours for 90 years now.

Forwarding to 2016, many chains have seen the advantage of serving breakfast throughout the day, with McDonald’s, White Castle and Golden Corral being three of the most recent. This isn’t surprising, as comfort foods that compose America’s most traditional breakfasts have been infiltrating the lunch and dinner menu for many years. Bacon not only serves as a grand partner for eggs, but has been wrapping appetizers, crowning burgers, and been grilled in sandwiches for decades. Now it’s the egg’s turn to be part of all that and more. The following examples illustrate how eggs are being used to spread their comfort throughout the day:

  • The Fried Egg Sandwich — three fried eggs, applewood-smoked bacon, Gruyère, Bibb lettuce, tomatoes and black truffle aioli on artisan sourdough, with Wine Dive truffle chips (Max’s Wine Dive, Texas and Colorado)
  • Dandelion, Shallot, and Leek Omelette — fluffy omelet sautéed with dandelion greens, caramelized shallots & leeks and Fontinella cheese, served with house potatoes or mixed greens salad (m.henry, Chicago)
  • Oven Fried Egg (appetizer) — with cherry tomato, corn, pancetta, pecorino and basil (Speedy Romeo, Brooklyn, NY)
  • When In Rome (salad) — chopped romaine, bacon, rosemary cornbread croutons, oven roasted tomato, preserved lemon, house-made dressing, Parmesan cheese, topped with an over easy egg (C&M Café, L.A.)

What happened to make eggs start wandering all over the menu? First and foremost, we love our breakfast. National Restaurant Association research shows that 72 percent of adults want operators to offer breakfast items throughout the day. And in 2015 Technomic found 54 percent of consumers enjoy eating breakfast foods at nontraditional times, a 12.5 percent increase over 2013.

We also love our eggs. They’re not only packed with natural protein and nutrients, but more importantly to our moods and taste buds they’re warm, satisfying and have great flavor and a silky mouthfeel. Combine that with decreasing numbers of consumers living a traditional 9-to-5 lifestyle and the impact Millennials’ whatever/whenever approach to eating has had on many of our habits, and you’ve got a teeming mass of humanity looking for breakfast at nontraditional times.

The growing flexibility of when, how, where and with whom we consume food and beverages has manifested itself in an increased interest in snacking, all-day breakfast, on-demand delivery and a resurgence in small plates. This sea change in approach is brought to us courtesy of younger consumers who tend to view meals as social events. One interesting development started by this group is that breakfast is becoming decidedly cool. When Technomic surveyed Millennials and Gen Z respondents on the issue, 34 percent said they view breakfast/brunch as more of a destination than a quick, convenient occasion, compared to two years ago. This will continue to drive operators to revamp interiors and menus to attract the groups these diners prefer to socialize with when dining.

It comes down to this: the arbitrary restrictions telling us when we’re allowed to eat breakfast have dissolved. We want what we want when we want it, and one of the things we want is availability of breakfast foods all day.


Make Room for Veggies

Breakfast with Asian Appeal

Put An Egg On It

All Day Breakfast

Multicultural Cuisines

Evolution of Healthy

Indulgent Comfort

New Competition

New Behaviors

Regional Breakfast Menu

Comfort Foods with Flair

Clockless Dining

Simply Nutritious

The New Consumer

Breakfast Influencers