Global information company The NPD Group says firm growth in breakfasts in Britain’s quick-service restaurant (QSR) channel prior to the COVID-19 outbreak might be a business area some foodservice operators can leverage when lockdown restrictions are eventually amended. The NPD Group says breakfast QSR visits grew by 4.5% in the year ending (YE) December 2019 versus 2018. This was the fastest increase for the last five years and accounted for about 50% of total QSR growth. In comparison, remaining daypart visits in QSR only grew by 0.6% and even the total QSR market only managed visit growth of 1.1%.
NPD says growing frequency was the biggest driver of the increase in breakfast trips in 2019, driving two-thirds of additional trips in Q4 2019 versus Q4 2018. New buyers have also entered the breakfast market with close to one-quarter (23%) of the growth in breakfast trips coming from this source. There is room to grow breakfast penetration and frequency. The 61% penetration (% of British consumers aged 16 to 64 buying in YE Dec 2019) for QSR breakfast was over 20 percentage points below QSR lunch (84%) and over 10 percentage points below QSR dinner (72%). In addition, the 10.4 frequency (average trips per buyer in YE Dec 2019) for QSR breakfast was only two-thirds of the frequency for QSR lunch (15.2)
Dominic Allport, Insights Director (Foodservice), The NPD Group, said: “The COVID-19 outbreak has resulted in widespread foodservice closures and travel restrictions, creating unprecedented and overwhelming business challenges for the sector. We know many foodservice operators are looking ahead to when the business environment changes, and we want to focus their attention on areas we believe could be set for growth. Breakfast is one of those and our data shows that, pre-COVID-19, more people were choosing to get their first meal or beverage of the day out of home. If this trend re-establishes itself, all operators can potentially benefit from this in the future. For smaller players, think about growing your local offer, and where possible, highlighting what you did during COVID-19 to help your staff and local community. Whatever your size, be ready to support visitors with pre-ordering and/or delivery and, of course, be clear on measures like social distancing, cleaning routines and offering hand-sanitizer stations in your venues. The future will be different for every sector and foodservice is no different. Now is the time to be planning how your offer will adapt to new times.”