Breakfast is booming everywhere in America, except inside your kitchen

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If you haven't poured anything edible into a bowl before 10 a.m. recently, you're not alone.


According to a new report from industry analysts NPD group, the "morning meal/breakfast" category of dining out is growing at the fastest pace among all "meal dayparts."

For the 12 months ending May 2015, breakfast traffic climbed four percent across all restaurants and foodservice outlets.

By comparison, the group found that lunch and dinner visits were flat across the board and "PM snacks" traffic declined by two percent during the period.

Most people are eating breakfast at quick service restaurants, which saw "most" of the gains in breakfast visit traffic, the group said.

But even at midscale/family dining restaurants like Applebee's, "breakfast traffic for this segment held steady."

These findings show why more fast food chains are investing in breakfast. McDonald's is testing an all-day breakfast, and Taco Bell introduced breakfast to its menus last fall. At Taco Bell's stores on the west coast, breakfast now accounts for 10 percent of sales.


Breakfast growth talk has also been all over recent earnings calls, with Starbucks' CEO noting sales of its breakfast sandwiches are up 30 percent, and the interim CEO of Bob Evans said breakfast at the company's restaurants grew 2.9 percent.

"This is the fastest growing part of the industry," Dunkin Brands CEO Nigel Travis said on his company's earnings call last week. "So everyone wants to be on breakfast and they will continue to focus on that."


This seems to be coming at the expense of at-home breakfast. General Mills CEO Ken Powell acknowledged on the company's earnings call that cereal sales have "been declining for the last couple of years." And even PepsiCo, which owns Quaker Oats, says it is now making its oatmeal "much more convenient."

Meanwhile, overall dining-out traffic growth has halted, NPD found, and declined in some major areas. Quick service hamburger chain restaurant traffic, along with midscale/family dining traffic, fell three percent.


And traffic at independent restaurants fell two percent: Overall, restaurant and foodservice outlet visits totaled 61.1 billion for the year ending May 2015.

However, when people do go out, they're spending more. The average diner check climbed three percent during this period.


“There are many pockets of growth in the foodservice industry right now, but the areas that have been problematic for several years now, like quick service hamburger chain and family dining restaurants, are preventing real growth in the industry,” says Bonnie Riggs, NPD restaurant industry analyst. “It makes sense that we will be seeing more chain and independent operators leverage the growth areas, like breakfast, in the coming months.”

Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.