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4 Trends That Help QSR Capitalize on Breakfast Opportunities

Posted by Frank Barcelona

Jul 22, 2016 11:30:00 AM

Trends that help QSR capitalize on breakfast opportunities

It’s no secret that breakfast has been one of the fastest growing offerings in the QSR and convenience store industries; some segments are only seeing increases when it comes to breakfast sales and morning offerings. What’s driving this trend? Snackification, the appeal of a diverse menu of healthy, protein-rich offerings and an emphasis on convenience, as detailed below.


Add this made up word to your lexicon, because it impacts how consumers are seeking out breakfast food and meals throughout the day. Driven in large by Millennials, but adopted by other groups as well, the idea that we are no longer tied to the traditional three meal day has taken off, according to researchers at the Hartman Group.

Consumers continue to eat and drink on-the-go and seek out appealing options throughout the day; the success McDonald’s all day breakfast menu has achieved can be directly traced back to the consumer’s embrace of all day snacking and eating on-the-go. Taking advantage of this growing trend by offering portable and satisfying options throughout the day can help QSRs thrive in a competitive breakfast sales marketplace.

Healthy, Protein-Heavy Morning Options

Thanks in part to the cereal industry, consumers are more focused than ever on breakfast being the perfect, healthy start to any day. Current health trends, though, have led many to seek out more protein-rich options in the morning rather than a bowl of whole grain cereal. QSRs are uniquely suited to fill this need, offering fresh, hot handhelds to the consumer who might otherwise be too busy to cook up a hot meal at home.

Just offering a breakfast menu isn’t enough; the food needs to be of high quality to actually appeal to those consumers seeking a healthy option to the at home breakfast. Including high-quality egg and bacon, ham or sausage products in appealing combinations can help you appeal to those consumers hungry for a healthy, protein-packed morning meal.

Convenience at Breakfast

Convenience takes two forms in the morning — food that is easily acquired and food that is easily eaten on-the-go. According to the American Egg Board, the increased interest in breakfast on-the-go is driven in part by Millennials, who continue to seek out healthy, but convenient, options in the morning. Handhelds and sandwiches top the list of breakfast convenience offerings as they require no utensils and the wrapper also serves as built-in protection from drippy sauces and condiments.

Convenience food is one of the only areas QSRs are experiencing growth. The opportunity is so great, in fact, that even the convenience store industry is rolling out breakfast food for on-the-go consumers. By offering ready to go versions of popular breakfast sandwiches and including easy to use portals that allow customers to order hot food made to their own specifications, chains like WaWa, Stripes and Sheetz are also seeking strong gains in the morning rush.

Diversification of Flavors

According to the National Restaurant Association, consumers are increasingly seeking out more diverse flavors, ingredients and cuisine — particularly when it comes to breakfast. Some of the hottest restaurant trends for 2016 include increased focus on international cuisines, novel ingredients and specialty sourcing. Customers craving new and novel cuisine at breakfast are seeking:

  • New beverage options that include everything from fresh flavors in tea, ethically sourced coffee and chocolate drinks to locally sourced, artisan sodas and water concoctions.
  • Authentic ethnic cuisine with strong flavors and identifiable taste, with a strong interest in Latin American and African flavors and spices.
  • Locally grown produce, specialty herbs and free-range meats; ingredients with ethical sourcing and a backstory.

Building some diversification into your breakfast menu can help you capitalize on this trend, whether you offer a distinctly ethnic take on a popular favorite or create a new, ethically sourced beverage blend just for the morning crowd.

Reviewing your breakfast plan to be sure it appeals to those consumers seeking out a diverse, protein rich and convenient breakfast can help you make the most of the morning rush and win at the QSR breakfast game.

Win Breakfast Market Share

Written by: Frank Barcelona

Topics: Food Service, Trends, QSR, Breakfast