The Rise of Brunch

Brunch, beloved among Millennials and those looking for a shared food experience, is changing the way Americans eat breakfast.

This late-morning meal is becoming more of a communal experience rather than a destination. Data from Google Trends show that search interest in brunch has been rising steadily since 2004 with spikes in searches on significant Sunday occasions like Easter and Mother’s Day. Brunch creates an opportunity for operators to attract new customers and increases the possibility of routine brunch-goers. A brunch program is a worthwhile way for operators to maximize profits by capitalizing on diners’ cravings for affordable and bold dishes while reinforcing their restaurant’s brand. Implementing a brunch program to take advantage of this dining trend offers tremendous opportunity; however, it must be executed correctly and carefully. The mash-up of breakfast and lunch is a way for chefs to showcase their innovation, craftsmanship, and creativity. If not executed with intention, it could have an adverse effect on your restaurant. If it’s done properly with high-quality ingredients and eye-catching serving ware, a brunch program can be a worthy investment.

Brunch is more popular among some demographics than others, and people prioritize brunch for a variety of reasons. It caters to Millennials because it offers another opportunity for socializing and embracing communal dining. Millennials also prioritize convenience on weekday mornings, making it easier to justify having lengthier meals on the weekends. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, over a quarter of teens and twenty-somethings don’t eat breakfast daily. This helps further merchandise breakfast foods on the weekends, as cravings have grown throughout the week. Brunch is an important occasion for families as well. Sunday brunch is often the only opportunity families have to dine together throughout the week, creating the perfect scene to enjoy quality time and quality food. The Jewish population is another demographic that brunch caters to. According to Google Trends, the strongest correlation between brunch’s popularity and demographics is between brunch and a state’s Jewish population: States with higher percentages of Jewish residents tended to brunch more, or at least demonstrated a greater interest in the late morning meal. This can be attributed to offerings that have Jewish roots such as bagels, lox, and blintzes.

Before becoming a part of restaurant culture, brunch was simply a faint concept. Brunch inventor and British writer, Guy Beringer drew inspiration from his own hangover to make his case for a lengthier Sunday meal. In an 1895 article titled “Brunch: A Plea,” featured in a publication called Hunter’s Weekly, he wrote, “Brunch is cheerful, sociable, and inciting. It puts you in a good temper; it makes you feel satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings; it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week.” Consumers have come to love brunch for the variety of food choices from breakfast staples to hearty lunch options and even extending to desserts and pastries. As this shared food experience continues to grow, brunch has now expanded to all weekend service and is endlessly applauded for its interesting menus and sociable atmosphere. Read on to gather more ideas and inspiration before embarking on your own brunch program.