The growing popularity of eating breakfast out is threatening lunch trade, according to NPD Group.
Its research states that OOH breakfast is growing much faster than lunch with the average bill being 31% higher (at £3.30) than it was eight years earlier. In contrast, the average bill for lunch is only 6.5% higher over the same period (£4.57 vs £4.29).
While people still spend more at lunchtime, the gap is closing. As of YE 2008, the price of an eat-out breakfast was 59% that of lunch; fast forward to YE 2016 and it is 13 percentage points higher at 72% the price of lunch. It’s the same story when viewed in terms of visits. Lunch has lost over 80 million visits, while breakfast has added an extra 107 million. Dinner is flat.
NPD Group says that more people are having breakfast out because they don’t have the time to focus on that meal at home. Breakfast offerings on the high street – both food and drink – are also more numerous than before and offer wider choice. With operators opening much earlier too, breakfast out amounts to a much better option than anything we could prepare at home.
Cyril Lavenant, NPD’s director of foodservice UK, said: “Foodservice operators providing lunches of all kinds are working in an intensively competitive marketplace. The well-known brands are succeeding at the expense of independent operators.
“But the bigger story is that it’s easier than ever before to buy a good breakfast on the high street. In addition, some 16% of breakfast occasions away from home occur at the relatively late time of between 10am and 11am, meaning that lunch for some might then become just a quick bite of something light that people bring from home. In that case, they would skip buying their lunch from outside. So as breakfast away from home grows, especially if this happens later in the morning, there is a danger breakfast will cannibalise lunch business. That’s a trend foodservice operators should watch.”
According to the research, lunch has declined during the week in visit terms but is seeing strong growth at weekends, with 8% more visits than eight years ago.
Breakfast though is doing even better with over 20% more weekend visits. Meanwhile, lunch is increasingly relying on deals.
Where we eat lunch is also changing with on-premise visits up 5.8%, while off-premise (‘lunch on the go’) visits were down 6.3% over the eight year period. However, lunch on-the-go visits have recently picked up, increasing in the past year to June 2016 by 3.9% versus a slower growth of 1.7% for on-premise visits.
Meanwhile, our tastes for lunch purchased away from home are showing no evidence of change. Sandwiches or wraps are our food of choice, with one-third (33%) of all lunch visits including these items, much higher than burgers (15.9%) or chips/French fries (14%). Over 25% of visits involve the purchase of a carbonated soft drink. More than twice as many OOH lunch visits (15% vs 7%) involve coffee rather than tea.