Not every restaurant is designed to serve all-day breakfast, but everyone loves a great brunch.
Once relegated to the occasional Sunday outing, experts are now seeing steady growth of brunch visits on Saturdays, too. And with the help of social media and online review sites, many consumers are perusing menus and food photos days ahead of the weekend to plan their upcoming afternoon breakfast with friends and family.
With a rise in brunch visits comes heightened competition, including fast casual and even fast food restaurants. So what’s the best way to attract the brunch crowd?
1. "Give them something they can't get elsewhere," says multi-location Famous Toastery co-founder and c.e.o. Robert Maynard. “We saw an opportunity to go beyond the usual mimosas and bloody Marys during brunch, so we worked up a pairing of different wines with our omelets and other breakfast fare. We saw an incredible response, and the pairings have given guests an incentive to come back again to try them all.” Social media posts for Famous Toastery showcase the wine pairings with expressions such as, “Brunch without booze is just a sad, sad lunch.”
2. Make guests feel like a star. “At Elm City Social in New Haven, our most successful promotion has been giving our servers VIP Brunch Cards, which are cards that servers are allowed to give out to a handful of guests per shift that they'd like to personally invite in to brunch,” says Matt Baily, owner. “Card holders feel entitled, welcomed and invited as guests. In return, they get a free bloody Mary or mimosa at brunch service.”
3. Offer craveable promotions. Do some research to make sure you’re providing brunch specials that guests crave. “We spent six months sourcing different rosés for our Bottomless Rosé brunch promotion,” says Jamie DeRosa, executive chef and owner of Miami-based Izzy’s Fish & Oyster. “We needed the right bottle that could also be offered by the glass. A label that was unique but that was approachable. And finally, one that was both profitable for our business and a value for the guest.”
4. Be generous with the pours. Mina’s Mediterraneo in Miami, which posts brunch reminders on social media Saturday and Sunday mornings to inspire cravings, offers bottomless brunch beverages as well. Owner Yasmine Kotb says that while bottomless mimosas and sangrias are not a new idea, it’s a nice perk for the customer that helps bring them in. “Even if guests aren’t big drinkers, people seem to like knowing that the drink spending is going to be capped,” she says.
5. Never assume guests know you offer brunch. “It’s surprising how many guests don’t know we serve brunch until a server talks about it,” Kotb says. “Our servers make it a point to mention brunch or ask if the guest has been for brunch before. If not, they bring them the menu and talk about the specialty items we have available. We almost always see them then come back for brunch.”