While the recession has forced many restaurants to close their doors, some parts of the casual dining sector have fared well. This is especially true of the bakery café concept. Several of these operators have positioned themselves to benefit from consumers who are seeking to eat out more for breakfast and lunch. A recent Technomic report indicates that this sector racked up $4.5 billion in 2008 revenues.
A significant portion of these earnings, $2.6 billion, can be attributed to Panera, which maintains a national presence. But other operators are also finding success by appealing to consumer preferences. These include:
- Healthier menu options
- Expanded lines of breakfast foods
- Locations in non-traditional venues such as airports and military bases
- Revised catering programs
This sector now has over 3,107 outlets nationwide. Look for bakery cafes to expand their marketing in 2010 as they open more restaurants. According to Technomic, bakery cafes will continue to use social media to promote limited-time offerings as a way to increase traffic.[Source: Technomic release, December 2009]