What you need to know

Foodservice breakfast, once a growing sector of the industry, faces significant traffic declines due to the recession and the rise of remote work. Consumers will choose to source more breakfasts from home, requiring chains to launch aggressive price promotions. Breakfast delivery also offers restaurants opportunity, though normalizing breakfast delivery will require heavy marketing efforts among chains. Breakfast traffic will remain below pre-pandemic levels even once the pandemic subsides, yet chains will face new opportunities in catering to remote workers.

Key issues covered in this Report

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and the foodservice breakfast/brunch market.

  • Declining breakfast traffic due to the recession.

  • Opportunities in breakfast delivery.

  • Foodservice breakfast trends post-pandemic.


This Report will cover consumer attitudes, perceptions and behaviors surrounding breakfast and brunch in the foodservice industry with a focus on changes in the market due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this Report, “breakfast” can either refer to the morning dining occasion as well as a type of food that may or may not be consumed in the morning (eg pancakes for dinner). Likewise, “brunch” refers to an actual occasion (a meal between breakfast and lunch) as well as the foods commonly associated with brunch. While consumer attitudes/behaviors regarding breakfast foods from retail (ie food purchased from a grocery store) will be discussed briefly, retail breakfast foods are not covered in depth.

For information on the retail breakfast market please see: Breakfast Foods: Incl. Impact of COVID-19 – US, September 2020, and Hot and Cold Cereal: Incl. Impact of COVID-19 – US, September 2020.

COVID-19: Market context

The first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the US in January 2020. On March 11, the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global health pandemic, and on March 13, President Trump declared a national emergency in the US.

Across the US, state-level stay-at-home orders rolled out throughout the months of March and April, remaining in place through May, and in some cases June. During this time, referred to as lockdown, non-essential businesses and school districts across the nation closed or shifted to remote operations.

During re-emergence, all 50 states have relaxed stay-at-home orders and allowed businesses to operate with varying levels of social distancing measures in place. The continued spread of COVID-19 infections has driven some states to slow down or reverse course on reopening plans. Mintel anticipates the US will remain in a state of flux through 2021, until a vaccine is available.

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