Millennials must be morning people.
That’s one deduction to draw from the prevalence of breakfast concepts among the FSR 50 (at least 10 percent of the list caters specifically to that daypart). The Z crowd and boomers are likely morning folks as well—at least if our criteria replaces the conventional definition (that by morning person we mean an early riser) with a foodservice-focused version: Morning people—at least in the restaurant world—are those who simply enjoy eating out in a time period that typically starts before dawn and runs to mid-afternoon.
This movement to breakfast dining is likely also a product of emerging work/life habits as people across all types of careers are opting for flex schedules or hybrid jobs that encourage nontraditional work hours.
Whether it’s due to evolving practices or purely demographics, there are characteristics of breakfast guests that any restaurant operator serving breakfast or brunch might leverage.
For instance, studies have repeatedly concluded that people over 60 are more likely to be early risers and people under 30 are more often night owls. This suggests an opportunity to market early bird specials to seniors and afternoon breakfasts to the 20-somethings.
And thanks to the adage that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” the subliminal perspective that people who seek out breakfast want to eat healthy is increasingly reflected in menus. Some studies even argue that “morning people,” or “larks” as they are aptly described, are inclined to lead healthier lifestyles overall than their night owl friends.
Ironically, the other quirk of fortune playing out across breakfast and brunch concepts is that they’ve got a pretty healthy focus on beverage sales. Check out Breakfast Republic. Part of the San Diego–based Rise & Shine Group, Breakfast Republic has 20 beers on tap and attributes 20 to 25 percent of its total revenues to beverage sales.
Chef-driven menus that encompass beverage as well as food are a common thread among the chains selected in both the “Ones to Watch” feature and the FSR 50. While most rankings of multi-unit restaurant companies tend to base selection on annual sales volumes, we chose instead to name the top 50 emerging chains based on a variety of factors including menu innovation, sales growth, brand expansion, and support for their communities. Each of these emerging chains has more than five locations but fewer than 50, and—most importantly—each has proven its potential.
While any of the brands could be a cover candidate, Denver-based Snooze earned that spot largely because of its sustainable practices: The company diverts 90 percent of its waste from landfills, and by the end of 2018 expects to be diverting 100 percent of its waste.
Kudos to working green!