Brunch is on the rise in Canada, with significant help from the casual-dining segment and younger diners. In recent months, we have seen weekend brunch menus pop up at a number of Top 200 chain restaurants, including Original Joe’s Restaurant & Bar, Turtle Jack’s Muskoka Grill and Il Fornello.
by Patrick Noone
Flexibility: Outside of morning hours, consumers find breakfast food equally appealing at lunch. The flexibility of diners’ breakfast consumption makes brunch a particularly pleasing option. Guests have the opportunity to choose from typical breakfast and lunch fare, but all during a single dining occasion. Operators can also flex their culinary creativity on brunch menus, offering items that combine both breakfast and lunch flavours into a single dish. For example, Il Fornello’s brunch menu offers a breakfast pizza with pomodoro sauce, fior di latte, ground spicy sausage, caramelized and spring onions, two sunny-side up eggs, arugula, pepper and olive oil.
Dining Experience: Roughly 48% of consumers agree that they consider breakfast to be more of a destination than a quick, convenient occasion. Similarly, brunch is not just about eating, but about an overall experience. Often associated with group dining, brunch serves as an opportunity to socialize, particularly on the weekend. Diners also report having more time to spend on breakfast on the weekends as compared to weekdays, indicating an opportunity for full-service weekend brunch menus.
Younger Diners: Younger consumers, especially those under 35, are eating away-from-home breakfast more often now than a year ago. Further, 46% of diners aged 18–24 and 50% aged 25–34 enjoy eating breakfast food at nontraditional times, both up from the previous year. If young diners are more willing to eat breakfast at unusual times, this could indicate that they are also more open to dining out for brunch, as compared to older generations.
As trends like all-day breakfast and daypart hybrid foods emerge, operators should consider the broad appeal of brunch and the ways in which it appeals to consumers’ evolving dining preferences.