BOOM: Brunch and the MULO Brands

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Whether you crave a mimosa, an elaborate Bloody Mary, or simply a stack of good old-fashioned pancakes with syrup, one thing is certain — brunch is back and fueling MULO brands!

A recent study by Square revealed that Saturday brunch is now the busiest day part for restaurants, including those with multiple locations (MULO brands).

Perhaps due to the work-from-home and remote working trend, people are looking to the weekend to reconnect with other humans.

Among the MULO brands that are benefiting from the consumer craze for coffee and carbs are:

  • First WatchWith 500 locations in 29 states, this brand offers seasonal menus and promotes its commitment to fresh food options.
  • Another Broken Egg Cafe: This 80-location brand also has 20 restaurants in development.  They feature Southern-style cuisine.
  • Snooze A.M. Eatery: Offering a loyalty program to its diners across 59 locations, this breakfast/brunch brand was founded in 2006 by two brothers.
  • Eggs Up Grill: Founded in 1997 in South Carolina, the restaurant now has about 78 locations.

Boutique brands like Hash Kitchen (known for its Bloody Mary bar) has ambitious plans to expand beyond Arizona.

But some brunches prefer the “old standards” like local diners and MULO brands like:

  • IHOP: Formerly International House of Pancakes, this chain has been operating since 1958 and now has more than 1,600 locations in the U.S.
  • Waffle House: Founded in 1955 by two Georgia neighbors, the brand has scaled to 1,900 locations, which are open 24/7. So any time could be breakfast/brunch time.
  • Cracker Barrel: Since 1969, this restaurant has been known for both food and kitchy gifts and has 600 locations. Their press page states that they serve 210 million biscuits and 162 million eggs each year. A significant 40 percent of their customers are travelers.
  • Denny’s: Another iconic brand (65 years old) has about 1,500 locations. Known as “America’s Diner,” they offer 24/7 breakfast.

Spoon University extolled the virtues of brunch and even came up with this fun equation:

“food + the company we keep + a good environment = happiness”

Brunching first emerged in the 1930s, and today, many restaurants are realizing that they can boost revenues by offering this “extra meal” on Saturdays and Sundays.

But, as with all MULO restaurant marketing, those brands need to:

  • Utilize social media and local SEO to promote their brunch specials and hours
  • Apply technology to loyalty programs, as well as operations
  • Mix up their menus to keep loyal customers returning
  • Keep their eyes on the competition to ensure that other brands don’t steal their bacon

Brunch is clearly here to stay! And consumers have more choices than ever about where to eat it — locally and nationally.

Nancy A Shenker, senior editor with Street Fight, is a former big brand (Citibank, Mastercard, Reed Exhibitions) marketing strategist and leader. She has been featured in, the New York Times and Forbes.