While Taco Bell may offer up the “fourth meal” as a late-night meal, the true fourth meal of the day is brunch. Lost between the daily standards of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, brunch is a special meal reserved for certain days. Obviously a portmanteau of “breakfast” and “lunch” that falls between the two meals, it’s a meal that takes advantage of sleeping in a bit while still having both breakfast foods, and not excluding bits of a heavier lunch meal. For most, brunch is limited to Sundays and holidays.
The concept of brunch may not work for all restaurants; clearly, those that aren’t open until dinner hours aren’t exactly suited for a brunch menu. Likewise, a place like a hard-rock themed bar or a quick-service hot dog stand might not thematically fit with brunch; it’s a meal you take your mom to for Mother’s Day, for example.
Should you consider brunch for your restaurant? On the upside, it may increase sales in what could be a lower-sales hour between breakfast and lunch. The Washington Post, on the other hand, reports a list of problems that restaurants might face when they tackle lunch.
One of the main issues with brunch service is that, especially for smaller restaurants, much of the staff will have worked late the night before. If you’re offering brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, many of your staff will have had a late night working Friday and Saturday nights.
Another issue is the menu, what to order, how much to order, and more. For brunch, you may just want to do lighter or smaller fare from your regular lunch and breakfast menus, but if you order specifically for a weekend brunch, you’ll want to make sure to only order so much that you have leftovers. There’s no real way to keep that food for five days if you only particularly sell it on Saturday and Sunday and are hopefully praising freshness, especially if you have nice plates of fruit.
An additional problem is timing; many of the people who eat brunch both show up at the 12:00-12:30 time slot and proceed to overwhelm the kitchen with orders, and then they leisurely eat, not letting the restaurant have much turnover or future orders. Once you’ve gotten your brunch, you’ll sit back and enjoy it with your family and friends; you won’t rush off and go get lunch or even desire to get up at all. Brunch is intended for leisure, and once the staff gets all the dishes out (that were inconveniently ordered at the same time), many more won’t go out the door until average lunch-goers enjoy their meals.
As the meal comes at noon, some people may not have eaten a breakfast, and some might be even hungover from the previous night. These people will want their food faster than usual, and brunch may just actually make their meals arrive slower than usual.
Three major holidays that traditionally include brunch, Easter Sunday, Mother’s Day, and even Valentine’s Day, are on the horizon. Is your restaurant going to take advantage of it, or is it not worth the problem?