The growth we’re now seeing in the breakfast sector – in excess of a three per cent share of total dining out – is a sign of increased consumer confidence as we come out of many years of a highly volatile market.
“Breakfast is a good segment to track in terms of how the market is doing overall,” explains Sissel Rosengren. “When discretionary spending is tight, breakfast is typically the first meal segment to suffer. But right now cafés as well as restaurants to a lesser degree, which wouldn’t have opened for breakfast in the past are doing so, because the trade is too good to pass up. Particularly in places like Perth, eating out for breakfast is becoming part of the cultural fabric.”
Sissel reports that business breakfasts are also supplanting the traditional business lunch to some extent – “people don’t have the time to go to long lunches anymore, so breakfast is filling that gap.”
In addition to increased breakfast trade, there’s also been a trend for the past several years towards consumers dining out for mid-morning ‘brunch’ – so one could argue the breakfast market segment itself is expanding across a broader time period.
“Just in terms of what café operators report to us, in the course of our qualitative research, breakfast customers are generally becoming more demanding than lunch customers,” Sissel adds.
“There’s a growing tendency to order off-menu – people are making some odd requests for different types of food combinations, and those operators who are flexible enough to be able to comply are reaping the benefits of repeat business.”