Boost sales: breaking into breakfast

By Fiona McLelland

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Breakfast Alcoholic beverage

Wetherspoon: leading breakfast market
Wetherspoon: leading breakfast market
The likes of Wetherspoon and Yates's may have cottoned on, but most pubs are studiously ignoring the breakfast market, reports Fiona McLelland.

The likes of Wetherspoon and Yates's may have cottoned on, but most pubs are studiously ignoring the breakfast market — and missing out financially, reports Fiona McLelland.

JD Wetherspoon's move to open more than 700 outlets from 7am earlier this year signalled a landmark change for the pub industry.

As the traditional pub undergoes a period of unprecedented pressure, clearly Wetherspoon views breakfast as a way to build on the growing food and hot drinks market. The chain sells 12.5 million breakfasts each year, while high-street rival Yates's is achieving an uplift of 479% in breakfast sales year-on-year.

Lines are being drawn in the competition for the breakfast trade. Both Wetherspoon and Yates's have developed a strong hot beverage offer to accompany their breakfasts, in order to compete with the likes of Starbucks and Costa. But soft drinks also offer huge potential, according to Azerbaijan Juices marketing manager Bill Sedat.

"Pubs have been under huge pressure over the past few years, so it is vital that they seek new revenue streams and attract new customers," says Sedat.

"By highlighting and promoting a healthy soft drink offering, along with other premium breakfast products, pubs not only help to give their venue a unique selling point, but also generate sales during slow periods." 

Pubs located on busy high streets have the most to gain from the emerging breakfast market, says Frobishers national account manager Andrew Baldwin.

"The pub already has the infrastructure - the tables, chairs and kitchen are all in place. They just need to develop an offer that appeals to the market."

While Wetherspoon leads the field with its breakfast, coffee and tea offer, pubs at the quality end of the market are missing an opportunity, according to Baldwin. He says: "Upmarket outlets are not yet realising the huge potential of a quality, healthy breakfast offer accompanied by premium juices and smoothies."

However, a licensee cannot rely on a pub's traditional soft drink lines if a breakfast offer is going to be a success.

"People are looking for innovation," says Baldwin. "They want something different. When the consumer is buying just one drink with breakfast, it's important to offer an interesting premium range, one that can deliver bigger profit margins."

More pubs are beginning to produce drink menus as well as food menus to promote their offer, but they're missing a trick if they don't add images to the list, Baldwin points out.

He says: "Consumers buy with their eyes. If they can't see what they're buying from the menu, they're left guessing, and are likely to plump for the safe, cheaper option."

Harnessing juices and smoothies

Chilled juices and smoothies are still regarded as core breakfast products by consumers, according to a Tropicana spokesperson, who explains: "There is a huge opportunity to capitalise on the breakfast market through intelligent merchandising of single-serve juices and smoothies."

Orange is still the most popular chilled juice, so is a must-stock for licensees with a breakfast offer, says Tropicana. "Licensees can capitalise on the multi-million pound marketing investment being put behind Tropicana in 2010, by stocking Tropicana Pure Premium Original 330ml and Tropicana Pure Premium Smooth 330ml."

Orange may still be the best-seller, but pomegranate juice is arguably top of the super-fruit tree. Azerbaijan Juices has launched a new premium range, Jala Super Juice, to add extra health benefits to a pub's drinks menu.

The range comprises three pomegranate flavours — with a burst of raspberry, a squeeze of orange and a splash of strawberry — and contains no artificial additives, sweeteners, preservatives or colours.

Smoothies are another great way to present healthy breakfast options. Frobishers produces three varieties of 100% fruit, long-life smoothies for the on-trade: orange, banana & mango; apple & blackcurrant; and pineapple, banana & passion fruit. These come in 250ml servings, with a recommended selling price of £2.50 — providing a margin of £1.50 per bottle.

But Frobishers' Andrew Baldwin warns: "If pubs want to make the most of selling smoothies at breakfast, they must be prepared to market the product. The first attempts to sell smoothies in pubs three or four years ago fell flat, as licensees and suppliers failed to support the launch with sufficient marketing support."

For the pub trade, a premium, healthy breakfast menu represents a real opportunity to exploit a gap in the market, according to Baldwin. "The 'greasy spoon' has been around for years," he says. "But nobody has stepped in with a premium, quality alternative. By serving breakfast and providing an extensive soft drinks choice, pubs can fill the gap."

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