QSRs Battle for Consumers’ Breakfast Dollars

Chains continue competing to win the ‘final frontier’: the morning meal.

October 30, 2018

CHICAGO – The morning meal continues to be a hot commodity for fast-food restaurants, as national chains go after breakfast dollars with new deals and new meals, USA Today reports. For example, McDonald’s recently debuted its Triple Brakfast Stacks while rumors abound that Chipotle Mexican Grill soon will be open for the morning meal. McDonald’s also is testing catered breakfast options.

“Breakfast is still the meal occasion most likely to be prepared and eaten at home,” said David Portalatin, vice president and food industry adviser for NPD Group. “It’s sort of the final frontier for restaurants.”

According to NPD research, the only daypart to post positive growth is the morning meal, which means more chains are turning their focus to beefing up breakfast. “Companies have focused for so long on changes in lunch and dinner—your typical burger and chicken nugget options—that they haven’t spent so much time innovating on breakfast,” said Ernest Baskin, assistant professor of food marketing at St. Joseph’s University. “They are viewing it as white space, where they can introduce new things at relatively little additional costs.”

There have been some misses, such as Wendy’s failed breakfast menu, but overall, the profitability of the morning daypart is alluring to fast-food and fast-casual restaurants and convenience stores.

USA Today lists four reasons why QSRs believe investing in breakfast options has significant sales potential:

  1. It’s easy to build a menu from current offerings.
  2. Breakfast sandwiches are convenient for customers.
  3. It’s becoming more common for consumers to purchase breakfasts.
  4. They can leverage their existing customer base.