THE NEWS: Dailyfinance.com reports that weekend brunch is the one dining occasion that has actually increased in the past year: “Restaurateurs across the nation confirm their brunch business has remained strong amid what the NPD group describes as the weakest environment for eateries in nearly three decades. … The latest restaurant traffic numbers reflect the trend, with the number of brunch-goers rising more than 8% in 2009 (through August), while traffic for breakfast, lunch and dinner all collapsed like a botched soufflé. … Brunch business jumped 19% at “grilled buffet” restaurants like Old Country Buffet and 13% at family-dining joints like Denny’s (DENN) and IHOP (DIN). Meantime, brunch business at fine-dining establishments fell by a percentage in the double digits.”
WHAT IT MEANS: You can’t go wrong makin’ bacon. You just won’t make money as fast because of the lower check averages. Quality brunch-focused eateries like the Original Pancake House should survive quite nicely until consumer confidence returns. Don’t be surprised if fast-food purveyors like McDonalds finally cave-in to the pressure and serve the Egg McMuffin and the McGriddle all day.
(To order John Lehndorff’s Pie Calendar 2010, a 13-month celebration of America’s iconic dessert, visit: http://magcloud.com/browse/Issue/53186)