Tim Hortons announced a new limited-time line of maple bacon breakfast sandwiches in early August. Product announcements from the company are common and regular, but this confident rollout of a new signature product got my attention
When such a major player puts money on a headlining product like this, or at least puts effort into luring customers back, it signals that breakfast is back as a chance to eat out – or at least buy take-out.
With much of life returning to normal, and many Canadians going back to the workplace, going out for breakfast may be back but it’s not the same.
“Breakfast is the meal occasion that is most rooted in habit,” said Joel Gregoire, associate director for food and drink for Mintel in a recent report from the consumer research company. The pandemic, however, has forced change on the occasion with shifting work arrangements. In this next normal, food-service operators need to ensure that individuals can get the menu items they crave with mini-mal friction using the technology they rely on. When it comes to breakfast foods that are made to be prepared and eaten at home, options that provide added ease and flexibility along with a focus on health and satiety align with Canadians’ demands in the occasion.”
What’s motivating your customers to eat out for breakfast? According to the report, called “Breakfast Eating Habits – Motivations and Attitudes – Canada – 2022,” it’s convenience and “hero” items on menus. If ever there were a hero item, it’s got to be the maple bacon breakfast sandwich.
Key takeaways from the report: where Canadians say they get breakfast from has remained remarkably stable; convenience and “hero” items on menus are the top traffic drivers for restaurants at breakfast; ordering takeout at restaurants is the main way Canadians get breakfast at food service; the pandemic has allowed for more time for breakfast; and ease, nutrition and speed are top of mind when choosing breakfast foods.
Data from Technomic suggests that overall, breakfast grew on menus by four per cent in the year between the first quarter of 2021 and the second quarter of 2022. A promising trend.
Mintel notes that habit is a particularly potent force at breakfast and that, not surprisingly, good cof-fee is a must at breakfast for food service.
What are people eating for breakfast outside of the home and office? Traditional breakfast foods continue to resonate with Canadians and younger people eat a wider variety of breakfast foods.
Technomic research reports that breakfast pizza is popular and fish sandwiches are showing 53 per cent growth as breakfast entrées, often in the form of bagel sandwiches with smoked salmon. A sandwich like this pulls double duty as a portable and protein-packed breakfast, making it a more convenient and healthy choice, the company suggests. Classic comfort food offerings like Belgian waffles and eggs Benedict and Florentine are also appearing on menus.
How has breakfast been at your bakery? Are orders getting back to normal? Are you seeing regulars return or meeting new customers? Are sales steady, up or down?
If your breakfast business needs a boost, consider some of these market factors and motivations as you adjust your menu or service to try to bring back that breakfast base – or create a new batch of breakfast regulars.
Connecting with your customers working from home is important – whether you do that through ordering apps, telling stories on social media, creating loyalty programs or getting more involved in your community. For inspiration, check out some of Cake & Loaf’s activities in our cover story this issue! Follow them on social to understand how cutting-edge marketing is most effective when it also has heart.
We wish you and your bakery’s fans a return to normality and profits as we head into fall.
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