We’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. But not everyone yearns for breakfast in the morning. According to the National Restaurant Association’s 2015 Restaurant Industry Forecast, 72 percent of adults wish that restaurants would offer breakfast items throughout the day. It’s no fluke that we’ve started to notice more restaurants adding breakfast to the all-day lineup.
Homemade pop tarts, mason jars full of bacon and chicken and waffles draw in breakfast lovers at Iron Rooster in Annapolis, MD, where a whopping 70 percent of the guests order breakfast for lunch or dinner. Owner Kyle Algaze says people connect with breakfast because it’s a meal you can eat at any point of the day and it makes you feel good. “Everyone eats breakfast,” he says/ “Although lunch and dinner choices will vary from day to day, breakfast food is a staple and not a specific cuisine like barbecue or Italian. I had people tell me that they made breakfast for dinner at least once a week for their families, and if given the option of ordering breakfast for dinner in a restaurant, they’d take it.”
Beyond those with a general love for eggs and pancakes, Algaze noticed another reason to offer breakfast all day. “We have a large contingent of guests who work night shifts,” he says. “Nighttime is their morning, and they need their breakfast, too!”
At 12 Chairs Café in the Soho and Williamsburg neighborhoods of NYC, chef/owner Shimon Maman offers a full Tel Aviv dining experience. He offers breakfast all day because Israelis tend to enjoy breakfast all day long in Israel. With a quarter of 12 Chairs’ breakfast items sold outside of traditional breakfast hours, Maman says many of his customers come specifically for the breakfast fare. Best-sellers include the shakshuka, which is two eggs poached in a spicy Moroccan tomato sauce, served with Israeli salad; and the Israeli Breakfast, which comes with two eggs any style, chopped Israeli salad, assorted cheeses and dips.
“Traditionally, delis and diners served breakfast all day because, years ago when they were located mainly in working neighborhoods, people had all different work shifts,” says Ziggy Gruber, chef and owner of the traditional Jewish deli Kenny & Ziggy’s New York Delicatessen Restaurant in Houston. “What one person wouldn’t consider time for breakfast would be someone else’s morning meal time.”
Kenny & Ziggy’s carries on the tradition, offing all-day breakfast alongside traditional Jewish entrees and sky-scraping deli sandwiches. “Today, there are a lot of people who like breakfast any time of day,” says Gruber. “We sell a great deal of omelets, bagels and lox, and French toast for lunch and dinner. Our shakshuka is also very popular.” Some 30 percent of Kenny & Ziggy’s breakfast items are sold for lunch and dinner, according to Gruber, and he sees the number rising.
“I think guests see breakfast items as light meals and not just a morning meal,” Gruber notes. “Serving breakfast all day helps with food cost, but when you have an expansive menu you have to baby things like eggs and pancakes when you’re cooking other parts of the menu at the same time.”
As one of L.A.’s only destinations for an all-day breakfast alongside pastries and coffee cocktails, La Mill Coffee Boutique founder Craig Min says that it made sense, as a coffee concept, to serve breakfast all day. “We were getting lots of feedback from our guests that they wanted our breakfast items in the afternoons and evenings,” says Min. “We didn’t have a good reason for why we didn’t serve breakfast at night, and after looking at the market, we felt that there weren’t enough good all-day breakfast restaurants.” A generous 35 percent of La Mill’s food revenue comes from breakfast items served at dinner, according to Min, with dinner favorites being the avocado toast, breakfast sandwich and doughnuts. “Breakfast has been, and will always be, a significant part of our business,” says Min. “Business has been improving and, other than our dedication to serving outstanding coffee and espresso, breakfast is the greatest driver to the shop’s success.”