Restaurant breakfasts enjoying surge in popularity


All of a sudden, the food and beverage trade has begun devoting attention to a long-ignored aspect of their business: breakfast.

"The food and beverage industry, due to restrictions on business hours and social distancing requirements, has suffered serious damage," an unnamed source in the restaurant trade is quoted as saying in the weekly "Business/Economics In-depth Report" appearing in Shukan Jitsuwa (July 7). "As part of their recovery efforts, they recognized that people working from home had more time to themselves, and the volume of those eating breakfast outside the home has increased.

"In addition, more people have taken interest in pursuing a healthy diet. With the matching of these various factors, the breakfast trade has picked up," the source said.

A business consultant cited a survey on people's nutrition undertaken in 2020 by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare.

"The survey found an estimated 12% of Japan's adults aren't in the habit of eating breakfast," he noted. "Based on the total population in 2021, that would make approximately 15 million people. If a demographic of this size were to take their breakfasts outside, that would reach a total of 5.4 billion meals. At an average of 400 yen per meal, on a value basis that would exceed 2 trillion yen. Even half that amount would generate a market of 1 trillion yen."

Famous for its power breakfasts in the U.S., Denny's -- with 326 outlets operated in Japan by Seven & Holdings -- was one of the first restaurant chains here to serve up a variety of hearty breakfasts. But now it's taken things a step further, with several inflation-fighting offerings.

"Some Denny's outlets have begun offering low-cost breakfasts with prices as low as 200 yen," said the aforementioned food journalist. One includes a set with toast and a boiled egg. Another offers grilled cheese sandwich.

"For customers looking for a well-balanced meal, the larger "Select Morning" sets include scrambled eggs and pancakes. With the self-serve drink bar included, they're priced at 600 yen plus tax."

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Denny's revenues last year declined from the previous business year ending in February 2021, but by January of this year, demand had picked up, with a year-on-year increase of 29.1%. Breakfast sales may be a factor in the gain.

Nagoya-based Komeda Holdings, which operates a chain of 950 coffee shops in the style of family restaurants, initiated a new "zero-cost morning service." Customers who order coffee or another beverage (usually priced at 400 yen or above) receive a complimentary set consisting of bread, butter and a hard-boiled egg at no extra charge. The chain reported 15.5% growth in 2021, and expects to realize another 11.1% growth in the current business year.

The Sensho Group, which operates 1,940 Sukiya beef bowl outlets, has gone all-out with its breakfast offerings.

"They offer a choice of 17 set meals, with 12 side items," said a food analyst. "The most popular item, which goes for 350 yen, is its Maze-nokke breakfast, served between 5 a.m. and 11 a.m. It includes a bowl of rice, miso soup, a small bowl of stewed beef, an egg, and okra with bonito shavings on top. It's inexpensive and healthy."

According to the company, total sales at Sukiya in the year ending last March increased by 10.7%, but demand for its beef over rice dishes were up by 106.5%, with projections to add an additional 26 billion yen to its revenues for the year ending in March 2023.

As a knowledgeable source in the trade puts it, "Sales have been increasing as more people recognize the benefits of eating a healthy breakfast. The return of inbound tourists is expected to support this trade. Previously this segment alone enjoyed strong demand, and from now they can be expected to contribute to the business comeback."

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been going to my local restaurant, offer bacon eggs salad all you can eat rice for 400yen,

also Japanese breakfast

1 ( +3 / -2 )

My kids love a late and slow Jonathans brekkie at the weekend.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

"For customers looking for a well-balanced meal, the larger "Select Morning" sets include scrambled eggs and pancakes. With the self-serve drink bar included, they're priced at 600 yen plus tax."

I could have that for dinner!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Personally I prefer an exceedingly good home breakfast of coffee and cake.

2 ( +4 / -2 )

Yoshinoya for me, you get it at any hour and you meet interesting characters too.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Once I remarked to a Yank friend that I'd consumed a natto teishoku breakfast at Yoshinoya that morning, and his reaction was to say, "Oh, gross!"

2 ( +2 / -0 )

NCIS, My favorite breakfast. I like to add a raw egg to the natto and have a small piece of grilled fish such as mackerel on the side. Miso soup, rice, kimchi, and an umeboshi plum are also necessary for total enjoyment.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I could not stomach natto at any time let alone first thing in the morning or after a big night. Gross agreed.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Lack of decent breakfast options is one of my disappointments in Japan. Denny's is a pale and disappointing shadow of the "real thing" back in the world. Donut shops, if you can find them, aren't open in the morning and are usually hiding in shopping malls.

No place to find decent biscuits with sausage gravy, hash browns, it is to weep.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

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