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Restaurant News: The Round-The-Clock Trend

Book Four Bonded Leather Menu CoverRealizing that today’s ever-changing lifestyle necessitates a new outlook in time, work, health and spending habits, ongoing studies are now being done in restaurants to understand the risks and profitability of operating round the clock. The 24/7 habit is ubiquitously practiced by almost all sectors these days, and restaurant consumers have enormously changed what and when they eat.

There are many reasons for this transformation.  One is the people’s constantly changing work schedules.  Another is the increasingly popular health advisories saying that small meals throughout the day benefit the body more. Add high unemployment and penny pinching to the list and you got yourself the reasons why we have restaurant patrons who have unpredictable eating behaviors.

And restaurant operators are aware of this.  They know that there’s revenue early in the morning.  People rush to their work and would rather pay for their breakfast than prepare it at home.  But then, there’s also money that could be found late at night.  Dayparts, such as lunch and dinner can’t be discharged either.  That’s why restaurant managers have given up the traditional system  of serving meals at specific times and are heavily contemplating on going on a 24/7 operation.

According to The NPD Group (leading market research providers), fast food players in the industry have attested that breakfast have contributed 60 percent of growth in their traffic over the past five years.  40 percent is attributed to snacks.  Such results show large targets of opportunity for these meals.  “If restaurants would focus on cost-efficient menu items like coffee, breakfast sandwiches and hash browns which you can see it in a high quality menu covers, their breakfast meals would definitely be highly lucrative,” this according to Eric Giandelone, Director of Food Service Research at Mintel in Chicago.

That doesn’t mean, though, that key dayparts such as lunch and dinner couldn’t be profitable, as “they are also projected to increase over the next decade,” said Bonnie Riggs, NPD’s Restaurant Analyst.  Forecasts show that fast-food dinners will augment by 4 percent, family dining by 2 percent, and dinners at casual dining places will grow by 8 percent in the next 10 years.

Restaurant analysts are aiming to delve at both the changes that are taking place within dayparts and how restaurants can capitalize on these changes, taking a look into the economic, demographic and sociological factors that would influence its sales potential.

Nation’s Restaurant News has this comprehensive special report, entitled “Keep Sales Rockin’ Around The Clock” in their latest May 2011 issue.