Competition Heats Up in Quick-​Serve Breakfast Market

Consumers may not exactly be crowding into restaurants these days. But some industry operators are looking to expand the breakfast day part in order to boost the bottom line.  Scarborough Research recently published a study on this topic that reveals some surprising information about who eats breakfast at quick-​serve establishments and which forms of advertising really reach this crowd.

According to the data, 37%  consumers have stopped by a quick-​serve restaurant for breakfast in the past 30 days. The budget-​friendly menu definitely draws Generation Y (ages 18–24). But who knew that consumers with college degrees and household incomes exceeding $100,000 are also frequent purchasers of donuts, coffee and perhaps something more substantial like eggs and bacon.  Scarborough analysts note that specific geographic regions also have a high visit rate for quick-​serve breakfasts and link the trend to a concentration of single adults.

To capture this business, operators are using a variety of advertising strategies. Alisa Joseph, vice president of advertiser marketing services, Scarborough Research says “These major restaurant chains have always understood the importance of localism and continue to adapt their marketing, menu options and promotional efforts to suit the distinctions of the locals.”

One ad strategy will be to increase the number of digital coupons available to promote new offerings.  And this strategy is well-​positioned. Adults who eat breakfast at quick-​serve restaurants exhibit the following tendencies:

  • Spend 20+ hours a week online (18% more likely than average)
  • Download online coupons (22% more likely than average)
  • Receive coupons via e‑mail or text message (29% more likely than average)

Quick-​serve operators are also attempting to enhance their environment to attract the tech-​savvy crowd. McDonald’s has been offering free WIFI for some time now and Starbucks recently stopped charged for WIFI access. As the economy recovers and more consumers drop by their local quick-​serve restaurants for breakfast, additional competition may prompt increased marketing.

[Source: McDonald's Dominates in the Breakfast Wars. ScarboroughResearch​.com. 11 Aug. 2010. Web. 23 Aug. 2010]
Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.