The Fourth Meal Period: Creating a successful brunch in your 3-meal restaurant

By Elizabeth Blau Founder & CEO, Blau & Associates | November 06, 2011

Co-authored by Tim Martin, Senior Research Analyst, Blau & Associates

Sunday Brunch: it has a certain cache to it, a sense of excitement we all get from calling our friends and arranging to "get brunch", to rehash the events of the weekend, spend some quality time with family members, quietly nurse a hangover, or recharge before the coming work week.

A good brunch can be the perfect finish to a weekend for guests and a great revenue generator for operators. Additionally, it can be an excellent demand generator for walk-in traffic and locals; while providing an easy, profitable, signature meal period for your three-meal restaurant. At our restaurant, Simon at Palms Place, in Las Vegas, Nevada, we were able to create a successful and signature brunch out of a previously dinner-only concept by focusing on four key factors:

  • Maximize available space
  • Provide variety and choice
  • Involve the guest
  • Establish a clear and distinct service style

Brunch provides a unique and fun opportunity to establish a concept within your regular concept, and build the ever-important word of mouth about your restaurant.

By applying these principals to your existing restaurant you can also create a successful brunch that transcends your regular service and offerings.

When we moved Simon from a dinner only hotspot at the Hard Rock Hotel to a three-meal restaurant in the newly built Palms Place, we were confronted with the task of developing a new signature meal period. Traditionally brunch in Las Vegas is dominated by large casino's "destination" buffets. We felt that brunch presented a great opportunity for us because we could offer a unique atmosphere and service, but we were limited by our space. While Simon is a beautiful David Rockwell designed room, it is set up as a traditional full service restaurant. We did not have the necessary equipment or space to build a traditional brunch buffet, and our regular breakfast service was a la carte, so we had to figure out how to make brunch work. We decided to create a hybrid buffet and a la carte service offered to guests for a fixed price.

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