Editor’s view: Are you equipped to deal with the breakfast bonanza?

Andrew Seymour grayscale

Foodservice operators repeatedly allude to the need for the catering equipment they specify to be reliable and durable.

In other words, it needs to go the distance regardless of how hard it is being worked — and increasingly that means morning, noon and night.

This has always been the case in the mainstream hotel sector and over recent years it has become the norm in parts of the pub sector, too. But now it is also prominent in the retail and QSR space.

Nothing illustrates this shift better than the news that breakfast traffic now accounts for 11% of all foodservice visits in the British QSR market. That’s effectively one in 10 visits, which you might argue doesn’t sound a great deal. But if you it break it down in real terms and consider that breakfast now equates to 640 million visits a year — generating £2 billion in the process — you will probably look at it in a different light.

This is not a new trend, but the rapid pace at which it is growing emphasises the necessity for operators to ensure their kitchens are equipped to deal with surges in demand at times of the day which previously would have been quiet or out of bounds altogether.

Research from The NPD Group shows that breakfast traffic has grown by almost a third in the last five years. There is nothing to suggest it won’t continue on that trajectory.

Retailers and coffee shops are the two biggest providers of breakfast in the QSR channel. They alone account for almost half of all breakfast traffic in the sector.

However, they are very closely followed by burger outlets and bakeries. Although thought to be less valuable, a breakfast visit is worth, on average, £3.10, which is only 52p less than the total average visit.

Either way, if operators are not capitalising on this boom because they don’t have a flexible enough infrastructure it will leave them considerably less competitive.

As NPD notes, although breakfast is performing well, operators must not become complacent — innovation will be essential to sustain their performance. And that goes for the equipment, too.

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