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Experts’ Advice: Restaurants Should Tap Into Breakfast Opportunities

Most Americans skip their morning meals, studies revealed.

The NPD group has seen a great potential in breakfast day part for restaurants, as there are currently 31 million Americans who skip their morning meals. Their report “Morning MealScape 2011” reached this conclusion after they have surveyed and analyzed data involving 27,179 participants.

“With 31million consumers out there who go out of their house without any food intake in the morning, we see a huge opportunity that food service professionals can tap,” said Dory Hickey, director of product management at NPD and author of the report. “Restaurants should be able to come up with marketing messages that would emphasize the importance of morning meals. And for added effectiveness, these messages should be gender and age specific.”

Hickey sighted advertising campaigns that could aim at increasing breakfast sales with teenagers—in doing so, restaurants could consider involving their parents too.

The demographic rates of those who skip breakfast vary broadly.

For consumers who are in the 18-34 age range, 28% of men and 18% of women leave out breakfast everyday. In the 35-54 age range, 18% of men and 13% of women skip their breakfast. Older consumers, those 55 years old and above, are the ones who are the least likely to go without their morning meals, with only 11% men and 10% women who skips.

A major reason for not drinking or eating anything prior to 11 a.m. is the absence of hunger or thirst in this early part of the day. Other reasons that came out, mostly cited by women respondents, included lack of time and being too busy. For those people who do eat breakfast, the report found out that almost ¾ of them eat their morning meals at home, while 14% said that they normally eat their breakfast at the nearest restaurants, availing of its breakfast menu items in superior menu folders.

How should restaurants market the importance of breakfast?

For one, they should be able to emphasize the fact that a good breakfast helps boost the energy. A complete meal in the morning gives us more energy than not having one at all, and is a much better option than choosing to eat a huge lunch and a huge dinner later in the day. Eating in the morning also promotes proper brain function—our attention span is increased, our sense of well being is heightened. Studies also reveal that that those who take their breakfast do not feel as tired or as grumpy as they normally do—they are in better control of their emotions.

And ironically, eating meals in the morning helps speed up our metabolism, allowing us to lose weight easily. Restaurants can exploit this idea, taking into account today’s fad on weight loss and health awareness. The mechanics is fairly easy—a person’s basal metabolic rate (BMR) is at its highest in the morning, and is easiest to burn during this time. Eating a healthy meal gives our metabolic rate an easy “jump-start.”

Marketing materials that promote sumptuous menu offerings in their elegant menu folders, breakfast deliveries in the nearest offices, daily deals and limited offers are just some of the many ideas that food service professionals can consider in starting a breakfast campaign in their restaurants.