Breakfast is booming—and not just in the morning. The growing popularity of all-day breakfast helped fuel a 5.4% increase in McDonald’s first-quarter sales, management reported in April. And a survey by the NPD Group found one-third of “All Day Breakfast” buyers hadn’t visited the restaurant in the month prior to the extended breakfast hours.
While only 14% of operators surveyed for FSD’s 2016 FoodService Handbook said they expected breakfast sales to surge this year, jumping on the pancakes-and-bacon bandwagon looks increasingly profitable. With the erratic schedules of college students, health care workers and tech company employees, noncommercial operators are poised to find success in extended breakfast hours.
Breakfast for lunch at B&I operations
Microsoft’s first “all-day” breakfast and grill station within a cafe debuted in October at the tech giant’s Redmond, Wash., campus. Called Luncheonette, the menu is reminiscent of old-school diners, with customizable omelets, eggs any style, breakfast sandwiches and burritos, as well as pancakes and french toast, all served from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m.
“The average Microsoft employee gets to work at 10 a.m., so having breakfast available longer makes sense,” says Craig Tarrant, Microsoft’s culinary director.
One of the biggest reasons for serving eggs all day: millennials. “We really looked at our population base, and a lot of them are in the millennial age range,” says Mark Freeman, senior manager of global dining at Microsoft. “What we have found is that eating breakfast for lunch is very appealing to that demographic. But I will be honest: I am a baby boomer, and I love breakfast all day too.”
The breakfast club
New moms in the delivery unit are especially fond of the breakfast-all-day options served at Franciscan St. Anthony Health hospital in Crown Point, Ind. The hospital’s all-day room service program counts five to 26 customers on a given day. The menu includes scrambled eggs, omelets, waffles, bacon and sausage at any hour. “Most people like to have breakfast any time of the day, but we’ve learned that new moms in particular, who are not sleeping on a regular schedule, truly appreciate it,” says Cathy Estes, administrative director of food and nutrition services.
Younger diners’ love of brunch inspired a concept opening this fall at Oklahoma State University. The Stillwater, Okla., school is set to launch “B&B, Co.,” which stands for Breakfast and Burgers, in the new University Commons residence halls. Terry Baker, director of university dining services, detailed some future menu items, which include everything from oatmeal steeped overnight in yogurt to the Yolk Burger with jalapeno bacon and fried egg served on Texas toast.
Efficiency helped sell B&B, Co. to the administration, as the concept features grab-and-go items like breakfast burritos and sandwiches. “We had a void in the burger space, and we realized that cooking burgers could utilize much of the same equipment a cooked-to-order breakfast would require,” says Executive Chef Phillip Yates.