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Breakfast is coming back

Indies are tempting in home-bound diners with comfort foods and indulgences

With the morning commute gone from a car ride to a walk to the kitchen table, breakfast at restaurants has taken a beating. But these days the beleaguered daypart is on the upswing, with breakfast orders from quick-service restaurants down just 14% in the year ended in December. That’s an improvement from April 2020, at the height of the shutdown, when QSR concepts saw breakfast orders decline 35%.

One major contributor to the lift are independent operators that have been beefing up breakfast menus with comfort-food favorites, indulgent innovations and dishes that transcend dayparts.

Full-service breakfast and brunch concepts pushed by the pandemic to pivot to takeout and delivery have been finding success with many of the same menu items that were popular pre-pandemic.

Many are finding their breakfast guests coming in later in the morning, with the bulk of visits peaking around 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., finds La Famosa, a Puerto Rican fast-fine concept in Washington, D.C.

At The Kitchen at Rocky's Market, which opened in July in Oakland’s Brooklyn Basin neighborhood, simple and easy to-go breakfast dishes are best sellers.

And Beatrix, Lettuce Entertain You’s neighborhood coffeehouse and restaurant with five locations in the Chicago area, is experimenting with all-day breakfast offerings.

Beatrix has also launched a virtual coffee bar where guests can pre-order coffee and bakery favorites for delivery, as well as an array of new at-home breakfast and brunch kits. Also in development are takeout brunch cocktails.

Here’s a look at breakfast menu boosters from indies across the country.

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