Starting the Day the Homemade Way
By Bernice Hurst, Contributing Editor, RetailWire
Breakfast may be a lifestyle issue. For those
perennially rushing from pillar to post, there is no time to prepare, let
alone eat, a meal that is widely recognized as helping to get the day off
to a good start. As a result, fast food restaurants have proved obliging,
with quick, convenient and inexpensive choices virtually thrust into the
hands of willing customers.
Claiming that the business is now worth some
$57 billion and accounts "for as much as a quarter of sales at some fast-food
chains," The Washington Post described the growth of breakfast offerings
as both "explosive" and "extremely profitable."
Barclays Capital analyst Jeffrey Bernstein
estimates that McDonald’s breakfast sales account for about a quarter of
its revenue but 35 percent of its profit.
NPD reportedly found that "in the five years
before the recession hit, breakfast sales jumped 64 percent … making
it one of the fastest-growing sectors in the industry." But examples of recent
declines at Burger King, McDonald’s, 7-Eleven and Wendy were cited as evidence
of economic concerns.
Kathy Hasty, senior director of hot foods
at 7-Eleven, said breakfast at her chain traditionally held up well during
recessions, but blames high levels of unemployment for current low sales
levels. "We have never seen it as significant as it is now," she said.
Mr. Bernstein noted the effects of the recession
on restaurants, claiming, "There is a direct correlation between unemployment
and breakfast sales." This may be true for grocers as well.
The decline isn’t all due to unemployment, however.
Much has been written and said about a renewed preference for eating at
home as a means of saving money even for those who still have jobs. Phil
Lempert of Supermarket Guru suggests grocery stores can be proactive by
advertising breakfast ingredients in their regular circulars, running themed
promotions and reinforcing health benefits through educational materials
in-store and on websites.
It may not be much consolation for those
spending their mornings at home involuntarily, but grocers have a new opportunity
for tempting consumers into turning their hands to morning meal preparation.
Do you agree the downturn has increased the at-home breakfast opportunity
for grocery stores? What can foodservice operators do to regain lost
- Fast-food breakfast sales decline as fewer
head to work – The Washington Post
- Supermarkets, Bite into Breakfast – Supermarket