According to The NPD Group, breakfast was the most important meal of the day for the US restaurant industry in August based on its visit growth. The industry analyst reports that breakfast restaurant traffic grew by 4 percent in August compared to the same month a year ago and is now within 1 percent of recovering pre-pandemic traffic levels.

Quick service restaurant (QSR) breakfast, representing 87 percent of restaurant breakfast traffic, increased visits by 5 percent in the month compared to a year ago. The August traffic growth for QSR breakfast was 1 percent above what it was in August 2019. Total QSR traffic was flat in August, lunch visits were down 2 percent, and dinner traffic was up 1 percent in the month compared to August 2021.   

Breakfast sandwiches were the top food choice at QSR breakfast, with 37 percent of all QSR breakfast orders including the item in August. Breakfast sandwich servings were up 4 percent in the month from a year ago, a 14 percent increase compared to August 2019. Coffee was the top beverage ordered at QSR breakfast, with 52 percent of all August QSR breakfast orders including coffee. Coffee servings were up 11 percent in the month compared to a year ago and up 2 percent from the pre-pandemic level in August 2019.  

“Breakfast at restaurants was adversely affected in the early stages of the pandemic, and it’s recovering now that more consumers have returned to more out-of-the-home routines,” says David Portalatin, NPD food industry advisor and author of Eating Patterns in America. “Breakfast is an important daypart for the US restaurant industry, and it’s encouraging that consumers have found new reasons and ways to get breakfast away from home.”