Breakfast could be a business area that some fast food operators can leverage when lockdown restrictions are eventually amended following a strong growth trajectory in the day-part prior to the crisis.
That’s the view of analyst firm NPD, which revealed today that breakfast QSR visits grew by 4.5% in 2019 – the fastest increase for the last five years. It also accounted for a massive 50% of total QSR growth.
In comparison, remaining daypart visits in QSR only grew by 0.6% and even the total QSR market only managed visit growth of 1.1%.
NPD says growing frequency was the biggest driver of the increase in breakfast trips in 2019, driving two-thirds of additional trips in Q4 2019 versus Q4 2018.
New buyers have also entered the breakfast market with close to one-quarter (23%) of the growth in breakfast trips coming from this source.
Dominic Allport, insights director (foodservice) at The NPD Group, said: “We know many foodservice operators are looking ahead to when the business environment changes, and we want to focus their attention on areas we believe could be set for growth.
“Breakfast is one of those and our data shows that, pre-COVID-19, more people were choosing to get their first meal or beverage of the day out of home. If this trend re-establishes itself, all operators can potentially benefit from this in the future. For smaller players, think about growing your local offer, and where possible, highlighting what you did during COVID-19 to help your staff and local community.”
Mr Allport said that regardless of size, operators must be ready to support visitors with pre-ordering and delivery and, of course, be clear on measures like social distancing, cleaning routines and offering hand-sanitiser stations in venues.
NPD believes there is room to grow breakfast penetration and frequency once the industry has emerged from the crisis.
The 61% penetration (% of British consumers aged 16 to 64 buying in YE Dec 2019) for QSR breakfast was over 20 percentage points below QSR lunch (84%) and over 10 percentage points below QSR dinner (72%).
In addition, the 10.4 frequency (average trips per buyer in YE Dec 2019) for QSR breakfast was only two-thirds of the frequency for QSR lunch (15.2).