Trends & Insights

How Blurred Dayparts are Revolutionizing Restaurants

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

With an uptick in consumer snacking and craving of traditional daypart dishes all day, operators who have taken note and made tweaks to their menu offerings to attract snack enthusiasts and “grazers” are reaping the benefits.

What is all-day dining?

Foodservice operators have long been accustomed to the traditional three-daypart model (breakfast, lunch and dinner), but many have been capitalizing on some growing consumer trends: snacking between meals; ordering snacks in lieu of a main course; and expecting traditional breakfast, lunch or dinner foods to be served all day.

“We’ve seen a major shift in how restaurants are purchasing and serving food in recent years,” said Doug Santschi, VP of Foodservice Marketing at AdvancePierre® Foods. “When considering how busy consumers are, operators are realizing new ways to grow market share by catering to those seeking quick bites, snacks or non-traditional daypart meals.”

Research indicates consumers snack more than they used to – snacking represents half of all eating occasions, and this trend has held strong for a number of years according to The Hartman Group’s “Modern Eating: Cultural Roots, Daily Behaviors” report. Schedules demand that people have more flexibility with “meal times” and the types of foods they eat. Whether working third shift, chauffeuring kids to soccer practice three nights a week or dining solo and eating at your whim, the notion of a “typical” schedule is, well, atypical. Staggered dining times and smaller portions are becoming more prevalent.

Rounding out these trends, many consumers also expect their favorite foods to be available all day and will go to a specific restaurant if they know the food they crave will be available. “When restaurants can accommodate, they’re demonstrating their right to win their customers’ business, no matter the time of day.” Doug added.

Profitability

Before changing their entire menu to accommodate the all-day dining trend, operators need to evaluate whether it’s a good move for their businesses. One challenge is reduced check averages. Items on a dinner menu often are more expensive than breakfasts or small sides, which are gaining popularity. But, if restaurant owners weigh this possibility against the increased volume of customers who will stop in at different times of day, menu adjustments may be beneficial.

Such changes may also result in decreased labor costs. As foods are repurposed for several dishes, prep time goes down.

Versatility

If you’re hoping to expand your all-day dining options but aren’t sure how to get started, taking a look at the versatility of your menu staples is a good first step. Cross-utilization of ingredients and creating chef-driven menus can simplify purchasing challenges, address inventory issues and ignite menu creativity.

An imaginative chef typically can find creative ways to weave versatile foods into different menu offerings, ensuring they are available all day. Staples like burgers and break-a-way steak can be dressed up or down with a variety of fresh ingredients and condiments for use in breakfast dishes, dinner plates or anything in between.

Simplicity

Whether a customer wants breakfast at 8 p.m. or lunch at 9:30 a.m., restaurants should have the desired food ready to serve. Operators, then, would greatly benefit from ensuring their ingredients easily can be prepared to serve customer needs at any time. To be nimble, product simplicity is key. This ultimately will make the chef and prep team’s jobs easier and keep customers satisfied.

At the end of the day, operators need to evaluate what makes sense for their businesses and their customers. Making the switch to an all-day dining menu, however, is a change worth serious consideration. In today’s world, consumers want restaurants to provide what they want when they want it. And, being responsive to this trend is critical to gaining market share in an increasingly competitive environment.

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