Popular chain breakfast restaurants, ranked worst to best

Many agree that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and more and more restaurants are marketing themselves as breakfast destinations. If you don’t feel like cooking for yourself in the morning, it’s now really easy to hop in your car and find somewhere to eat nearby.

One great thing about eating breakfast at a restaurant is the ability to try new things. There are a ton of breakfast choices that you owe it to yourself to try at least once. And, if you find something delicious at a restaurant, you can often add it to your breakfast repertoire at home — unless it’s something really bizarre.

While the breakfast restaurant options are numerous, not all the chains are worth getting out of bed for. In fact, there are some chain breakfast restaurants that should be avoided completely. Keep reading to view our ranking of the best breakfast chains, beginning with the worst of the bunch and proceeding to the best.

14. Denny’s

Denny's breakfast

If you go to Denny’s for breakfast, you’ll enter the restaurant with high hopes and leave completely underwhelmed. While Denny’s has the famous Grand Slam breakfast, everything about it is overrated. The Original Grand Slam comes with a pair of buttermilk pancakes, a pair of sausage links, two strips of bacon, and two eggs. Unfortunately, the pancakes are virtually flavorless, the sausages are disappointingly small, and the bacon is too fatty. And if you order scrambled eggs, you will also be let down due to a lack of buttery goodness.

Skipping the overrated Grand Slam doesn’t solve anything because everything else on Denny’s breakfast menu is equally as blah. From their Belgian waffles to their toast to their hash browns, it’s amazing how this restaurant has been able to remove the joy from each and every breakfast item. Do yourself a solid and go somewhere else when you’re out and about for breakfast. Otherwise, you’ll have false hope that your day will be starting with a grand slam home run but you’ll really just be striking out.

13. Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons breakfast

In theory, a trip to Tim Hortons for breakfast makes a lot of sense. Tim Hortons is known for its coffee and they have a variety of breakfast sandwiches on their menu. Plus, our friendly neighbors to the north can’t seem to shut up about how much they love Timmies. Makes perfect sense, right? Actually, that’s totally wrong. Tim Hortons is undeniably struggling as the quality of their food and drinks has gone down and their prices have gone up. Some blame the fact the chain was recently taken over by Burger King but whatever the true reason is for their downfall, Canadians are disappointed with what has become of their former favorite restaurant chain.

Even if you loved Tim Hortons in the past, going there today is probably a mistake. The glory years of this chain are in the rearview mirror and they aren’t coming back. If you want to have coffee for breakfast, there are much better fast food coffee chains to select from.

12. The Original Pancake House

The Original Pancake House breakfast

The Original Pancake House sounds like the place to go for some yummy pancakes to start your day off on the right food. Sadly, that’s just not the case. While the portions are impressively large and the prices are entirely reasonable, the taste and texture of their pancakes leave a lot to be desired. First of all, the pancakes have an overwhelming flour taste no matter which option you go with. Secondly, the texture of their pancakes can be best described as chalky. Even if you go with their Hawaiian Pancakes or Coconut Pancakes, the flour taste and chalky texture are inescapable.

While it may sound counterintuitive, if you find yourself at one of their locations spread across more than 25 states in the country, skip the pancakes at The Original Pancake House and go with the crepes instead. The Cherry Kijafa Crepes are a good choice that will leave you satisfied. Although you still won’t be thrilled, you’ll be able to salvage what otherwise was bound to be an utter failure of a breakfast.

11. Another Broken Egg Cafe

Another Broken Egg Cafe breakfast

Another Broken Egg Cafe is a breakfast restaurant chain that is growing quickly and has received a lot of hype. Born in Louisiana in 1996, this chain now has over 100 locations around the country, mostly in the South. The atmosphere at this chain is pleasant and the food looks pretty when it arrives at your table. However, there are a couple of issues with the Another Broken Egg Cafe.

The primary issue is the price tag. Everything on their menu is overpriced — from their beverages to all their food items. And while the presentation of what you pay for is aesthetically pleasing, it doesn’t taste half as good as it looks. The food isn’t bad, mind you, but it’s simply not good enough to justify the price. If Another Broken Egg Cafe lowered their prices by 20 to 30 percent, they’d be higher in this ranking. Until then, this breakfast chain should be skipped in favor of one of the forthcoming restaurants on this list.

10. Le Peep

Le Peep breakfast

Though you won’t experience a wow moment when dining at Le Peep, it’s a perfectly acceptable breakfast destination. The best thing this chain has going is the wide array of options available on their menu. From Gooey Buns (broiled English muffins with cinnamon, brown sugar, and almonds) to Harvest Hash (two eggs and slices of avocado resting on a bed of grilled turkey, onion, sweet potato, green peppers, and broccoli), you will be able to find something on their menu that will catch your eye and tantalize your taste buds.

Be warned, though, that not everything on Le Peep’s massive menu is worth ordering. Specifically, stay away from their Mexican food. They have a number of Mexican-inspired options including breakfast burritos, breakfast enchiladas, and something they call the Desperado that mixes chorizo, potatoes, chilies, onions, and salsa. While the pictures look scrumptious, it’s highly disappointing. If you want Mexican food for breakfast, go to an authentic Mexican restaurant. Don’t settle for the stuff you will find here.

9. Village Inn

Village Inn breakfast

While Village Inn serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, this restaurant chain is known primarily for its breakfast. Not only do they have plenty of tasty breakfast options, they also serve breakfast all day long at their more than 150 locations in the United States.

Unlike Le Peep, the Mexican-inspired breakfast choices at Village Inn such as the Tres Huevos Rancheros and the Smothered Breakfast Burrito won’t leave you disappointed. That said, nothing really stands out from the rest on Village Inn’s breakfast menu. Most options are good enough to satisfy you but the food here isn’t very memorable. As a result, unless you are already in the area, it’s not really worth extra effort to hit up this restaurant.

If you have kids tagging along, Village Inn gets bonus points for having a yummy kids menu that includes a variety of options that should satisfy even the pickiest of eaters. Just about every child in existence will enjoy Bucky’s Mini-Hotcakes, which is basically six miniature pancakes served with super sweet syrup.

8. First Watch

First Watch breakfast

First Watch was opened in 1983 with breakfast as their sole focus. In fact, their first restaurant closed at 2:30 in the afternoon each day. That focus on breakfast remains the same today. First Watch wants to satisfy all your breakfast needs and they do an adequate job of doing just that.

One area where First Watch really shines is their bacon. Considering that bacon is the best part of breakfast for many people around the world, that’s no small feat. If you want to try their bacon, order The Traditional. Along with their scrumptious bacon, you’ll also get two eggs, whole grain toast, and potatoes that have been expertly seasoned.

Another area where First Watch separates themselves is the quality of their healthy breakfast options. Millennials won’t be able to get enough of the Avocado Toast, which features whole grain toast piled high with a daring amount of avocado and topped with sea salt and lemon juice.

7. Bob Evans

Bob Evans breakfast

If you wake up starving, Bob Evans is a great place to go for breakfast. Though the quality of their food isn’t the top of the line, the servings are gigantic and you are sure to leave the restaurant no longer hungry.

For your hungriest of mornings, go with the aptly named Whole Hog meal. This gargantuan breakfast comes complete with two patties of sausage, two slices of bacon, a slice of ham, one hotcake, one slice of french toast, two eggs, and either hash browns or fries. Sure, it has nearly 2,000 calories, but the Whole Hog is a breakfast meal worth trying at least one time in your life. However, make sure you are ravenous because otherwise, you won’t be able to eat it all.

The only issue with Bob Evans is their hotcakes. While they are quite large, they aren’t very flavorful. The Double Blueberry Hotcakes are particularly underwhelming despite the fact that the serving is huge.

6. Huddle House

Huddle House breakfast

If you’re from the South and you love rich, flavorful food for breakfast, you’ve surely loved your visits to Huddle House. Since its first location in Decatur, Georgia, more than five decades ago, this restaurant chain has been all about serving Southern breakfast food at its best. Today, you can visit one of their hundreds of locations and be confident that the quality will be high.

If you’ve never been to Huddle House before, a good introductory breakfast meal is the Country Fried Steak Stuffed Hashbrowns. This meal begins with a big slab of country fried steak. The steak is topped with American cheese and scrambled eggs. Instead of bread, the goodness is held together by two layers of hashbrowns. The final touch is a few scoops of sausage gravy going on top of it all. It sounds complicated but as long as you enjoy savory food, it’s impossible for your taste buds to be disappointed.


IHOP breakfast

While IHOP might not be the hippest restaurant in the neighborhood, there are good reasons why you can find this restaurant in every state. Firstly, if you have a hankering for pancakes, you can’t go wrong by going to the International House of Pancakes. While you may be able to find higher quality pancakes, the quantity of options is very impressive. If you’re boring, go with a full stack of the Original Buttermilk Pancakes. If you’re a bit more adventurous, go for the Mexican Tres Leches Pancakes or the Chocolate Chocolate Chip Pancakes.

Secondly, the prices at IHOP are always affordable. To make matters even better, IHOP often has specials and promotions (like kids eat free) that lower their already low prices. If you are responsible for feeding a whole brood of humans, this chain will be friendly to your pocketbook.

Thirdly, there are other tasty items on their menu for those people who don’t like pancakes. For example, IHOP has an extensive collection of omelets that are all worth the price tag.

4. Perkins

Perkins restaurant breakfast

If you value quality above all when it comes to breakfast food, it’s tough to compete with Perkins. While their pancakes, waffles, French toast, and crepes are all smaller than what you will find elsewhere, the quality is unquestionable. Perkins’ Belgian waffles are made from scratch, while their blueberry pancakes are packed with big, juicy berries that seemingly explode in your mouth.

Whenever you visit a Perkins location, getting something from their bakery is a must — even when you’re visiting for breakfast. From cookies to slices of pie, you can’t go wrong. Their Wildberry Pie is spectacular, as is their Heath Crunch Cheesecake Pie. If you just want to eat from their bakery to begin your day, you can order one of their mammoth muffins and that’s all you will need for a hearty breakfast. While their apple cinnamon and blueberry muffins are tasty, it’s their banana nut muffins that are otherworldly.

3. Cracker Barrel

Cracker Barrel breakfast

Although Cracker Barrel serves more than just breakfast, they can’t be ignored when it comes to ranking the best breakfast restaurant chains. Not only is their breakfast food amazingly good, it’s also served all day. That flexibility allows you to start your day off right no matter what time you eventually roll out of bed.

While Cracker Barrel doesn’t have a wide arrangement of breakfast options, you can be 100 percent confident of everything on their breakfast menu. From their Old Timer’s Breakfast (get it with eggs, bacon, grits, and hashbrown casserole) to their Sunrise Sampler that comes with a myriad of goodies including bacon, ham, sausage, and biscuits, this restaurant is incapable of disappointing you.

If Cracker Barrel’s breakfast menu was more extensive, it very well could be at the top of this ranking. As it is, it’s still a place you should head to right when you get out of bed — no matter the time.

2. Mimi’s Bistro + Bakery

Mimi's Bistro + Bakery breakfast

If you want a fancy breakfast for a reasonable price, Mimi’s Bistro + Bakery is the restaurant chain you should visit. Formerly known as Mimi’s Cafe, this place might not be as widely known as other chains on this list but it has turned heads since being founded in 1978. In fact, it was once named North America’s favorite breakfast restaurant chain.

When it comes to quiches, no other breakfast chain can compare. Specifically, their Quiche Lorraine will have you coming back again and again. Mimi’s Bistro + Bakery also has mind-blowing eggs benedict options and picture-perfect omelets. Their Smoked Salmon omelet is the best of the bunch, although the Bacon Avocado omelet is a worthy contender for that title.

Mimi’s Bistro + Bakery has masterfully combined French breakfast food with American breakfast food. It has more than 75 locations across the U.S. and their restaurants are worth driving to even if it’s a long-distance from your home.

1. Waffle House

Waffle House breakfast

Although they’re facing more competition than ever, Waffle House still does breakfast better than any other restaurant. Their locations are comfortable, their employees are friendly, and they’re a great place to visit with a group of friends. With a history dating back to the 1950s, Waffle House has been able to perfect the art of breakfast over the years. America has taken note, as this restaurant serves nearly 150 waffles per minute.

If you want to play it safe, ordering waffles at Waffle House is the way to go. However, that’s far from your only option. If you want beef for breakfast, you’ll be thrilled with their T-Bone and Eggs or their Steak and Eggs. They also have really good pork chops, omelettes, and chicken that you can eat for breakfast.

Waffle House is open every day, every minute, and every second of the year (so long as there isn’t a major natural disaster), so you can always go there and satisfy your cravings.