Away-from-home breakfast sales are growing, but remain a major underdeveloped opportunity for restaurant operators according to new research by Technomic. Even though the vast majority of consumers still prepare breakfast at home, sometimes eating it in the car or at school or work, consumers’ demand for time-saving convenience continues to grow, signaling breakfast growth opportunities in both limited- and full-service restaurant segments.

“Breakfast menus are underdeveloped and often lacking in innovation,” says Darren Tristano, Executive Vice President of Technomic Information Services. “Few limited-service restaurants, for example, offer a separate kids breakfast menu or a ‘healthy’ menu.” Tristano believes that this spells opportunity, both for chain operators and their suppliers, who often play a key role in bringing menu innovations into restaurants.

Among the many other findings further detailed in the report:

* Consumers see weekday and weekend breakfast occasions very differently. During the week, convenience and portability play enormous roles. On weekends, however, consumers are looking for quality food, variety, and a welcoming restaurant atmosphere.

* Breakfast sandwiches are a growing consumer favorite. Since the last study conducted two years ago, the percentage of consumers reporting that they ordered breakfast sandwiches when eating away from home during the week increased from 60 to 73 percent; weekend breakfast sandwich purchases also grew from 55 to 60 percent.

* Roughly 44 percent of consumers surveyed would like to see breakfast served all day and 43 percent would order breakfast during non-breakfast hours.

The new Breakfast Category Report was developed to give restaurant operators and foodservice suppliers vital market information and consumer insights to help drive business-building efforts in the breakfast category. It includes nearly 400 pages of detailed reporting on menu and pricing in addition to in-depth consumer research aimed at consumption behaviors, foodservice preferences, the role of convenience, cost and quality, as well as dining-out occasions and brand preferences. Individual restaurant profiles and menus are also included for over 20 chains.