Your Restaurant Should Be Serving Breakfast All Day

Here’s the deal; I don’t wanna tell you how to run your restaurant. That’s just unethical and silly. But if your foodservice establishment offers breakfast, and you don’t serve it as an all day option, then you’re limiting yourself. Now look, I understand that there could be logistics and/or demand issues, but just hear me out.

What is breakfast? In the simplest terms, breakfast means exactly what it says. You are breaking the fasting period between the night and the morning. It’s a chance to rise and shine. We are familiar that it’s the first meal of the day, but how far does it really go back? Breakfast can be traced back all the way to the Neolithic era, with archeological evidence showing that stones were used to grind hulled grains, and then boiled to make a porridge-like substance. This was essentially the start of cereal, and ultimately, breakfast. In Ancient Egypt, peasants would consume a meal consisting of bread, beer, and onions before going to work in the fields or for the pharaohs. The Romans’ variation of breakfast was referred to as jentaculum (or ientaculum). They would dine on cheese, olives, salad, cold meats, and nuts left over from the night prior. This would be followed by wines or wine-based concoctions, like mulsum, which is a combination of wine, honey, and various spices. Sounds like the perfect hangover cure.

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Time to break tradition.

As time went on, breakfast wasn’t deemed as a necessary meal. Most viewed it as a luxury for the rich. It wasn’t until the 1600’s that breakfast became a thing. With the rise of the Industrial Revolution, workers were placed on set schedules. And in order to harness enough energy for the day’s labor, breakfast turned into a daily staple. I can go on and on about the history of the most important meal of the day (which, fun fact, is actually a slogan developed by Grape Nuts in a 1944 marketing campaign), but let’s get down to why you should be offering it all day.


Along with craft beers, pink Himalayan salt lamps, and rainbow frappucinos, breakfast foods have become quite the trend. And not just in the morning anymore! People fawn over the breakfast burrito as a lunch option. A popular dinner meal has become chicken and waffles. A simple, home-cooked dinner for those of us who don’t feel like having chicken for the 6th time this week is eggs with toast, or an omelet filled with veggies and fruit on the side. And sometimes if you’re simply craving a snack, a hard boiled egg or two with a little salt and some avocado can be both quick and appealing. And even if you’re not a breakfast food connoisseur, you know that breakfast food can be quite comforting. Especially when it’s coated in powdered sugar and syrupy goodness.

Image result for parks and rec breakfast
Ron Swanson; The Wise Sage

As great as breakfast is, a lot of restaurants still don’t embrace these delicious menu items. And this is with obvious exception to business owners that have a specific niche. It won’t work everywhere. You wouldn’t walk into an Outback Steakhouse and ask for a bowl of oatmeal. Maybe some steak and eggs on the menu will entice customers and help gain more exposure? But I’m referring more so to places that pride themselves on a fantastic breakfast menu. It just seems logical that you would be offering such a hot commodity all day long. However, there are a few factors to consider with an all day breakfast menu:

  • If you offer lunch in addition to breakfast, you would need plenty of storage to access ingredients for both sets of food products. Not only that but running around the kitchen can be daunting normally. Throwing a curveball will now double your work duties.
  • Specific grills and griddles are used to cook breakfast foods, and if your kitchen isn’t properly outfitted with the proper equipment, then you most likely won’t be able to meet that output demand. Check out a wide array of specialty griddles here.
  • Customer expectation and actual demand are two different things. While many people (like myself) find breakfast foods to be amazing any time of day, there are plenty of consumers that don’t feel that way. Most people would prefer a heavier meal, while most breakfast items tend to be on the lighter side. If the profit isn’t there, it isn’t feasible.

But there have been successful cases of an all-day breakfast menu. Take McDonald’s for example.

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Ah, the logo of my childhood.

For generations, the burger titan (oops, almost said King), has offered an abundance of breakfast food products on their menu. There’s just one problem; It used to end at 10:30 AM. The concept of breakfast all day wasn’t even a passing thought in the minds of McDonald’s corporate employees, but as time went on, people started to crave it. All the time. It could have been the sweet, succulent taste of their hotcakes or the allure of their original McMuffin. Maybe just the forbidden fruit concept? People wanted it so much so that in 2013, they introduced a limited selection of items available after midnight.

And then it happened. I remember seeing an all-day breakfast menu being announced via social media, but remained skeptical. That is until McDonald’s themselves confirmed it shortly after. Starting October 6th, 2015, McDonald’s began rolling out their all day breakfast menu. It was met with overwhelming praise and a resurgence in the fast food world. McDonald’s projected a 1% increase in sales, but according to a report generated by CNN, the company saw a 5.7% spike in sales. Keep in mind that report was publicized January 2016, a mere 4 months after they rolled out this all day option. That’s astounding. And we are now in 2017, which means the numbers have probably been steadily growing. Good for them! It’s a classic example of meeting consumer demands and desires. Plus, the Egg McMuffin is one of the greatest breakfast sandwiches out there. And if you disagree:

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I believe that in a world that’s expanding by the second, you have to adapt and cater to what the people want. And there are plenty of people out there that want all day breakfast! I’m not saying you must do this immediately, but hey, it seems like a great way to increase your revenue stream, increase brand awareness, and provide further customer satisfaction.

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