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Breakfast is cracking into delivery 

Until now, breakfast delivery was a relative rarity compared to lunch and dinner because morning menu items can be much harder to deliver, Godinsky said. 

“Of course, freshness is a factor in all food delivery, but people really, really don’t want to eat cold eggs, soggy pancakes or brown avocado toast,” Godinsky said.

Breakfast also typically consists of either small items like a bagel, bowl of cereal or fresh fruit, or large meals that tend to be reserved for special occasions, weekends or brunch, Godinsky said. It’s more common to have a complete meal for lunch or dinner.

“Consumers are more willing to pay for delivery when they feel they are getting their money’s worth,” Godinsky said. “I think most people would be disinclined to pay a $3.99 delivery fee plus a $2 to $4 service fee to have a bowl of Cheerios and a glass of OJ delivered. This isn’t to say that nobody would be willing to pay for this, or that restaurants couldn’t strike a balance, but it hasn’t really happened on a large scale yet.”

Starbucks, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Denny’s, IHOP and Panera are among the handful of national brands that offer delivery during the breakfast hours, and some chains have scored initial success.​

Panera’s breakfast delivery, which launched in 2018, is the chain’s fastest growing delivery segment. It currently offers breakfast delivery at about 700 cafes, the company told Restaurant Dive. Denny’s On Demand made up 12% of Denny’s sales during Q4 2019, according to the company’s year-end earnings call. IHOP, which offers delivery across its system, is growing its catering platform, which is available at 600 restaurants, executives said during Dine Brand’s 2019 year-end earnings call in February.

California-based Black Bear Diner added delivery to its offerings in 2018 after much debate because the restaurant was primarily focused on the customer experience within its four walls, CEO Anita Adams told Restaurant Dive. 

“We recognized there are guests and new guests experiencing Black Bear through delivery and frankly takeout, [which] is particularly strong for us,” Adams said. “That has been a great growth channel for us.”

The restaurant now works with three different partners. While the company wondered if offering off-premise would shift the balance away from dine-in sales, it’s been fairly balanced, Adams said.

To maintain food quality, Black Bear invested in more expensive packaging that retains heat and protects food during travel, Adams said. Customers haven’t provided much feedback over food quality issues during delivery, she said. 

The company is also considering family meal offerings and catering. 

“We see the interest in folks enjoying our offerings outside of our four walls and we want our fair share of that and want to be in their consideration of that,” Adams said.