What you need to know

Restaurant breakfast and brunch visitation is on the decline, driven by the proliferation of premium breakfast retail options coupled with consumers’ lowered perceptions of breakfast as an important meal occasion. Operators should concentrate on expanding coffee beverages and nontraditional breakfast offerings including global flavors, snackable options and plant-based ingredients to attract customers back to the morning occasion.


This Report will cover consumer attitudes, perceptions and behaviors surrounding breakfast and brunch in the foodservice industry. 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.

This Report builds upon the analysis presented in Restaurant Breakfast and Brunch Trends – US, August 2018.

For information on retail breakfast foods please see: Frozen Breakfast – US, July 2019, Breakfast Foods – US, July 2018.

For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following restaurant definitions:

  • QSRs (quick service restaurants) – Used interchangeably with “fast food,” QSRs specialize in inexpensive, convenient meals. There is no waiter service, no alcoholic beverages and a low price point. Examples include: McDonald’s, KFC, Taco Bell, Wendy’s and Pizza Hut.

  • Fast casual restaurants – These establishments are characterized by a higher price point than QSRs though not as high as full-service restaurants. Fast casuals do not offer waiter service and may or may not serve alcohol. Examples include: Chipotle, Panera Bread, Shake Shack and Blaze Pizza.

  • LSRs (limited service restaurants) – These establishments provide food services where customers usually select and order items and pay before dining. Food/drink may be consumed on the premises, offered as carryout, or delivered to the customer’s location. These may also sell alcoholic beverages. LSRs include both QSRs and fast casual restaurants. The “other” category within LSRs (as seen in the Market Size and Forecast) includes snacks and non-alcoholic beverage bars, cafeterias, grills and grill buffets.

  • FSRs (full service restaurants) – These establishments have waiter/waitress service in which customers order and are served while seated. These may also sell alcoholic beverages and offer carryout services and include the following restaurant segments: casual dining, midscale and fine dining, see definitions below:

  • Casual dining restaurants – These establishments represent the largest segment of the FSR market. Casual dining restaurants have higher pricing than family/midscales but lower than fine dining, and they offer a full bar. Examples include Chili’s, Olive Garden and Outback Steakhouse.

  • Midscale restaurants (used interchangeably with family dining restaurants) – These establishments offer the lowest check size of any FSR. A majority of midscales do not serve alcohol, though some may have a limited alcohol selection (just beer and wine). Midscale examples include Denny’s, Cracker Barrel and IHOP. Buffet restaurants are classified as midscale restaurants (eg Golden Corral).

  • Fine dining restaurants – These establishments have the highest price point of all FSRs.

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