Owning visibility against products is critical for restaurants, but the next fight is in daytime events like “breakfast,” a term that grew over 170% in search volume from 2016 to 2019.

Starbucks is the leader against unbranded coffee terms, appearing organically against 25% of terms according to Gartner L2’s report on the topic. However, it falls behind on general breakfast meal terms, with almost no visibility in the category. Cracker Barrel, meanwhile, appears against 11% of keywords and Einstein Bros. against 9% of breakfast terms like “breakfast restaurants” and “bagels.” As in other categories, brands tend to have low organic visibility, but text ads can provide valuable jumpstarts to educate customers on their offerings. Most restaurants are entirely underinvested, appearing against no keywords with no consistency, but grab-and-go restaurants like QuikTrip increasingly invest in text ads against terms like “breakfast near me.”

However, couriers also place ads against these general daypart terms, not just restaurant competitors. Panera Bread, which sees 30% of its catering sales from its breakfast menu and plans to roll out breakfast delivery nationwide, faces competition with ezCater against terms like “breakfast catering.” But restaurants can lean into localization with links to nearby locations underneath their text ads — a feature that draws in customers who want to see their closest options.

With low saturation of restaurant competitors in the breakfast space, rival restaurants should invest in both search engine optimization (SEO) and above-the-fold, targeted text ad listings to ensure they are visible to customers unsure of where to eat.

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