The New Working Lunch: Tapping into the Weekend Brunch Market

Brunch is no longer just a leisurely weekend treat for the metropolitan elite; it's transforming into a new dining peak time. Thanks to the continued rise in remote work, the traditional Friday lunchtime peak for dining out has been dethroned. Instead, we're seeing an uptick in Saturday brunch gatherings that bring friends and family together over eggs benedict, waffles, and mimosas.


What the Data Says

According to Square's Q2 Restaurant Industry Report, in 2019, Saturdays between 8am and 1pm made up 8.54% of weekly spend on food and beverages. Flash forward to 2023, those same hours now contribute 10.06% of spend. That's not just a slight shift in customer behavior; it's a sign of a growing trend that local restaurateurs and coffee shop owners shouldn’t ignore.

Ming-Tai Huh, General Manager of Restaurants at Square, notes that the trend goes well beyond just a shift in timing. “Weekend brunch also tends to be higher-margin and produces higher per-person spend than the typical weekday lunch," he said. This isn't just about switching from salads to scrambled eggs; it's about potentially boosting revenues for savvy businesses ready to embrace the brunch wave.


How to Ride The Brunch Wave

How can you tap into the brunch market without hiring a gourmet chef or overhauling your entire menu? Whether you’re a bustling QSR or a cozy coffee shop, here are a few strategies to consider:

1. Limited Brunch Menu

Embrace simplicity. Add a few delicious yet manageable brunch items that align with your current offerings. Breakfast sandwiches or fruit parfaits could become a local favourite. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel.

2. Weekend Specials

Make weekends special again. Advertise weekend-only deals or bundles to entice brunch lovers. Even a simple discount or a well-crafted social media post could bring in new customers.

3. Repurpose Your Best-Sellers

Play to your strengths. Already famous for your burgers or chicken? Why not twist them into brunch-friendly offerings — a breakfast burger might become the next big thing in town. Back in March, Baskin-Robins Ice Cream Shop launched a new Chick’n & Waffles flavor ice-cream and offered a “bottomless brunch” where they served unlimited scoops in a limited-edition Chick’n & Waffles cup.

4. Brunch Beverages

A perfect cup of coffee, or fresh juice can turn a meal into an experience. But why not spice it up with some mimosas or espresso martinis? This also opens up the option of running bottomless brunch promotions, which has proven a hit with millennials in particular. Just look at Masa 14 in Washington DC — six months after introducing bottomless brunch, they were booking Sunday brunches a month in advance. 


Wrap Up

In a time where changes in work patterns are reshaping dining habits, being agile and innovative can set your business apart. Weekend brunch isn't just about dining; it's a social event, a gathering spot, and perhaps most importantly, an opportunity. So let's make weekends the new Friday.