Hotels Feed Into the Continued Evolution of Breakfast

It’s long been said that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and it seems people are taking that to heart more than ever before. In fact, breakfast items that were traditionally offered strictly during the morning hours are now available all day at many hotels and guests are taking full advantage.

According to OnePoll 2022, some 65% of Americans not only love eating breakfast foods for breakfast, but enjoy eating them throughout the day. Furthermore, some 83% of consumers, at least occasionally, order breakfast foods outside of traditional breakfast hours, according to Technomic’s Away-from-Home Breakfast Multi Client Study.

But that’s not to say that today’s guests are all looking for a traditional, large sit-down breakfast. To the contrary, hotels are increasingly looking to accommodate the needs of time-starved guests who would rather take breakfast with them. Prepackaged items like muffins, waffles and pastries continue to gain popularity with consumers. As an example, the Eggo Grab & Go Liège-style Waffles are positioned as an easy, wholesome grab-and-go option that has consumer appeal and can be consumed throughout the day.

Greg Griffie, SVP, food & beverage, Davidson Hospitality—an Atlanta-based management firm with some 85 hotels—acknowledged an uptick in breakfast foods that are “hand-held and easy to eat” as he further explained the trend.


“Whatever the item is it must be easy to eat and mess free. The guest is often on the go while trying to enjoy [breakfast],” he said.

As such, Griffie maintained that some of the more traditional hotel restaurants and venues have given way to quicker and easier options.

“Our coffee shops continue to see a rise in activity, sales and profit. Our guests are as busy as ever juggling personal and professional time, often sacrificing a sit-down meal, such as breakfast, on days they work,” he said.

Griffie further added the company is “always working on variety and menu development” as he noted that Davidson recently added a wood-fired pizza oven at one of its Grab ‘n Go markets to heat sandwiches, flatbreads and eggs, for example. “It’s hard to pass up one of these items when you can smell and see them waiting in line for your coffee,” he commented.

Don Falgoust, principal, Spot On F&B Services Group—a Tampa, FL-based full-service and consulting group—referred to the current breakfast trend as the “Starbucks phenomenon” as well as a continued evolution from the pandemic.

“People don’t really sit down and eat breakfast like they used to in hotels with the scrambled eggs, sausage, bread and potatoes. I think people are looking more for a great cup of coffee and something a little bit more easily [transportable],” he said.

Falgoust further elaborated. “Think about what’s happened to our society in terms of people working from home and everyone being at the ready all the time. I think it’s more important to be mobile so people are grabbing something to go; they don’t want to sit down at a table. Items that you can actually take with you that are more fundamental in terms of performing your job are going a long way,” he said.

James Barnett, director of food and beverage, East Coast, OTO Development—a Spartanburg, SC-based owner/operators with some 68 hotels—further reinforced the point when it comes to coffee and other breakfast items.

“Rewind 10 to 15 years ago coffee was very much a morning thing, but coffee has become an all-day beverage, especially in the specialty [coffee] world. The other thing we see is people are enjoying things like different types of croissants. They are using those as mid-afternoon snacks or a late lunch item,” he noted.

As an example, Barnett further noted that within its café at the AC Hotel Bethesda Downtown some 75% of orders are ‘to-go’ between Monday and Friday.

“It’s people that want speed and they’re eating while they’re on the run. Whether it’s a getting an Uber or taking the metro system here in [Washington] D.C. People just seem to not be using their time to sit down and eat anymore. It’s all multi-tasking so the majority of what we do is packaged,” he said.

While he acknowledged some slightly different patterns on the weekends, particularly with more brunches and late lunches, Barnett reinforced the current mobile trend.

“We still do a lot of ‘to-go’ where people are getting muffins and croissants and things like that to go walk around town or to go to an art exhibit or a special event that’s happening in or around the area. We just see a lot of that where people are traveling and consuming,” he said.

Finally, the popularity of serving breakfast foods throughout the day is a trend that seems to be here to stay for hoteliers, according to Falgoust.

“If you look at some of the top restaurants around the country they serve breakfast all day and their take on that is probably about 25% of the total revenue, after the 12 o’clock hour. It’s pretty amazing, so there is a demand for that. Especially in more of the metropolis cities where there is international travel,” he concluded.

Sponsored by Kellogg’s Away From Home.

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