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Restaurateurs Adjust To New Emerging Meal Day Parts

Have you heard? There are new important words to know in the restaurant business: brinner, linner, slunch, pressert. And then we add two more words to that, like late-night and happy hour, and what do we have?

New non-traditional meal day parts that have surfaced in restaurants recently.

Brinner, linner, slunch, pressert, happy hour and late-night are some of the newest meal day parts that have emerged the past months, and are said to be getting more popular to consumers by the day. This, according to Nancy Kruse, a known food trend analyst and president of The Kruse Co., when she moderated the “Menu Hot Spots” panel of the Nation’s Restaurant News’ Menu Trends and Directions Conference last September.

“There will be a gradual erosion of the traditional day parts that we have known all our life,” said Kruse, “and R&D should have to swing to around-the-clock food items.”

Wearing down of conventional day parts gave way to the emergence of such snack period mixes as breakfast-for-dinner known as brinner, supper-and-lunch called slunch, and lunch-and-dinner combination termed as linner. Presserts are offered anytime now in restaurant menus in quality menu covers and not just limited to after meals, while late-night dining and happy hours are getting its own steady following.

Kruse noted that the Millennials –those between 16 to 34 years old—love snacking more than the other generations, and are predicted to become mass-market customers; they will greatly impact restaurants’ day part planning. 35% of the Millennials’ meal consumption is snacks, and they eat 4.3 times in a day. “This lifestyle is sure to institute change in the restaurant business,” Kruse said.

Shawn LaPean, director of dining at the University of California-Berkeley and one of the panelists, said that snacking has indeed increased among Millennials. “We get to serve anything at almost anytime of the day,” he said. “During finals, I once saw a student who was eating a tray of oatmeal and sushi at 7:30 in the morning. Students have hummus on anything anytime during the day—like salsa, they put hummus on anything, from wraps to sandwiches.”

It turned out that Dunkin’ Donuts have always been “clockless” with their menu items. “All day long breakfasts and baked goods have been long established at Dunkin’ Donuts,” said Stan Frankenthaler, corporate executive chef and vice president for innovation at Dunkin’ Brands, Inc.

Full-service restaurants have also seen shifts in day parts, like Shari’s. “We have lost a lot of our weekday breakfasts to the QSRs,” said Kevin Bechtel, Shari’s Restaurants Group’s senior vice president for purchasing, R&D and menu development. “We cannot compete with the one dollar breakfasts that fast-food offers, and our chain’s weekday breakfasts in our menus with elegant menu cover has really declined in the past three to four years. But our daily dinners have counterbalanced the loss. And Saturday morning day part has become our strongest.”

Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill & Bar, on the other hand, had their biggest shift during late nights. Shannon Johnson, Applebee’s International’s executive director for culinary innovation and development believes that the shift was set-off by people returning to Applebee’s for its beverage experience. About 80% of Applebee’s branches now serve late-night menu, offered until as late as 2 a.m. Late night dining makes up around 13% of Applebee’s sales.