There are apocryphal stories about immigrants in the 19th and 20th Centuries arriving in America having heard stories about “streets paved with gold.” They’re cautionary tales for us — they remind us to temper expectations and avoid buying into baseless hype.
There’s certainly a lot of hype about breakfast in the QSR industry right now. Luckily, it’s not all unsubstantiated. That the AM daypart is a growing sales driver is no mistake — morning fast food sales reportedly grew 2.3% last year, outpacing all other dayparts.
But taking advantage of the hot breakfast market takes more than throwing together a few breakfast burritos and open your restaurant doors. The road to breakfast profits isn’t paved with gold, and it does have a few hazards that you should be on the look out to avoid.
Today, let’s take a look at a few of the biggest challenges fast food companies might encounter when they decide to make the move into new dayparts.
1. Deciding on the right menu items.
Sure, breakfast items are popular. They’re all-day popular. But there’s also the risk of fielding menu items that fail to differentiate themselves from the competition.
McDonald’s has a breakfast burrito. Taco Bell has a breakfast burrito. Boston Market has a breakfast burrito. Burger King just launched a breakfast burrito (not to mention the Whopperrito).
Seeing a pattern? Your QSR company’s new menu items need not only to appeal to your core consumers and your potential new customers, but to stand out in an increasingly crowded field.
Make sure you do a lot of homework as you develop your new daypart’s marketing strategy and menu. Focus on filling open niches — or create new opportunities.
2. Positioning new menu items to succeed.
Should a new daypart start with a limited menu? Limited run? Limited availability? Which outlets will trial the new menu? What measurements and benchmarks will you establish to monitor success? How will you analyze your findings and apply them moving forward?
The aforementioned Boston Market breakfast burrito is only available at one Boston Market location. Out of the entire chain: one franchise. Why? Because that particular outlet has so much commuter foot traffic that it made sense to offer breakfast.
And even though its menu offerings aren’t very different from other chains’ breakfast fare, it’s succeeding. Moving into a new daypart requires you to think past the menu; carefully consider all the factors that would impact your restaurant’s success.
3. Getting consumers interested.
So, you’ve done your homework. You know what you’re going to roll, when you’re going to roll it and where you’re going to offer it. How do you get the word out to your consumer base?
First, know who your target consumers are. For your core consumers, you’re already doing something right. But what new marketing channels will you need to employ to reach potential customers?
And how will you keep them interested? We know that tastes are ever-shifting. Once you’ve successfully launched your new menu or new daypart, stay on top of the pulse. Set up a system for continually soliciting consumer feedback. Analyze it carefully and always look ahead.
4. Overcoming operational challenges.
Supply chain limitations, quality recruitment, training, retention and growth of kitchen and service staff — these are potential pitfalls in the QSR industry. Before you dive into a new daypart, make sure that you can feasibly maintain and grow your sales. Avoid overextending. It might be worth trying your new daypart out on a small scale and then growing it incrementally. Give consumers time to catch on and give your managers and crewmembers time to perfect operations.
There’s plenty of demand for companies in the QSR industry to tap. Some of that demand is price-based, some is taste-based, some is convenience-based. Find your company’s most attractive, achievable opportunities, and carefully cultivate your ability to meet them.