Incredible Breakfast Trends

What About Brunch

In May, OpenTable named its annual picks for the 100 Best Brunch Restaurants in America, having analyzed more than 10 million reviews to find them. All that, just to search for the best omelet? Yes! Brunch is hot. Brunch is an event. We know America’s most creative Eggs Benedicts and zingy Bloody Mary’s are out there – and they’re not going to find themselves.

So what do OpenTable and American consumers look for? As the upscale, more gourmet cousin of breakfast, consumers expect more complex items with better ingredients – a heightened experience – from brunch. Items are frequently based on the top breakfast components, which according to Mintel, are still eggs, potatoes, bacon and bread. No surprise then that Eggs Benedict is the No. 1 brunch item in America1. Pair that with the number six hottest culinary trend – ethnic-inspired breakfasts – listed in the past several years of the NRA/ACF “What’s Hot?” report, and you have the Benedict menu at Denver-based Snooze. From their Bella! Bella! Benny, based on prosciutto and Taleggio cheese on ciabatta to a Chilaquiles Benedict with barbacoa beef on ranchero sauced tortillas with roasted poblano hollandaise to Benny Goodman, anchored by lox and cream cheese on toasted rye, Snooze is ready for brunch diners.

And it’s not only restaurants that want their piece of the quiche – food manufacturers help us enjoy brunch at home. The quiche field is covered with choices from Trader Joe’s, Nancy’s, Wegmans and La Terra Fina, not to mention those from Kellogg’s Special K, like its Sausage, Quinoa, Peppers, Mozzarella & Asiago Crustless Quiche. Consumers can choose from a range of frozen brunchy bowls from Jimmy Dean, Tyson and the new Moe’s Southwestern Grill line, including ingredients of eggs, yukon gold potatoes, pork chorizo, pico de gallo, jalapeño lime hollandaise and avocado.

Beyond the normal motivations for all diners to enjoy brunch, it’s worth mentioning here that Millennials overtook Boomers in early 2016 as America’s largest demographic group. Considering their increasing buying power, it’s also worth discussing what they, specifically, would like for brunch. Millennials:

  • Are adventurous diners, pioneers in items like shakshuka, chilaquiles and bibimbap.
  • Enjoy meals as social occasions to be shared with friends and family – brunch is made for them.
  • Gravitate to finger foods that can be shared, like deviled eggs, Scotch eggs and poutine.
  • Are the reason operators are adding communal tables, often high-tops.
  • Like to eat whatever they want, whenever they want – we wouldn’t have all-day breakfast without them.

Technomic found 38 percent of Millennials enjoy eating foods that are usually associated with later dayparts, but with breakfast ingredients added.2 (Envision egg-topped brunch burgers.) Mintel agrees, saying that pizza is becoming a gourmet brunch dish. It found that 61 percent of consumers think of breakfast pizza as being for brunch vs. breakfast.3 Examples on brunch menus include:

  • Chilaquiles Pizza with Parmesan cream sauce, 5 scrambled eggs, crispy tortilla strips, grana padano, fresno chili, green onion and Cholula hot sauce (Stella Barra, Santa Monica)
  • Breakfast Pizza made with red pepper, smoked bacon, fresh green onion, over-easy eggs and Béchamel sauce (Rustico, Alexandria, Virginia)
  • Breakfast Pizza topped with pomodoro, fingerling potatoes, bacon confit, eggs, fennel sausage and mozzarella (Maximiliano, Los Angeles)

The above list shows why pizza incidence on brunch menus grew 12 percent between 2015 and 2016.3

Other dishes making a splash on brunch menus: 1

  • Second only to Benedicts on brunch menus is French toast, growing 18 percent between Q2 2015 and Q2 2017. The dish is constantly being adjusted with new bread types, stuffings and toppings to keep it intriguing.
  • Toasts in general continue to rise in popularity, with topped items like avocado toast becoming common at brunch. Toast of any description rose 74 percent in brunch menu incidence between Q2 2015 and Q2 2017.

Millennials helped influence McDonald’s to finally flip the switch on all-day breakfast. But they also demonstrated to the rest of us that we also want to eat whatever we want, whenever we want. We have all relaxed our daypart expectations and decided we can take a pause, relax and socialize in the middle of a day. Who enjoys leisurely dining on favorite comfort foods, lingering with friends over a mimosa and letting the world spin without them for a while? Pretty much everyone, that’s who.

1. Mintel, Breakfast and Brunch – US – July 2017

2. Technomic, Breakfast Consumer Trend Report

3. Mintel, Pizza Restaurants – US – November 2016


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