Wendy’s Takes Breakfast Nationwide

The chain has launched its a.m. menu as the battle for the morning meal heats up.

March 04, 2020

DUBLIN, Ohio—You can now order breakfast at any U.S. Wendy’s location as the chain debuts its morning menu nationwide, CNBC reports. The launch comes as rival McDonald’s debuts its breakfast sandwich promo, heating up the battle for the morning daypart.

Breakfast has been the only meal that has customers coming back for more, making it ground zero in the war for dining out dollars. For fast-food chains, breakfast grabbed 16% of its yearly traffic ending in November 2019, according to The NPD Group. “As restaurants, and especially when you talk about a breakfast war, you tend to be competing for consumers that are already breakfast consumers. The challenge is to expand that pie,” said David Henkes, senior principal at Technomic.

Wendy’s has only run regional pilots for breakfast with local advertising but now is supporting the nationwide rollout with a national ad campaign. The chain will shell out between $70 million and $80 million this year to promote its breakfast menu, according to Wendy’s CFO Gunther Plosch. That spending will likely push other QSRs to increase their own morning meal campaigns. “There’s clearly a renewed vigor in defending each restaurant chain’s turf,” Henkes said.

Meanwhile, in late February, McDonald’s began its national 2 for $4 promo on breakfast sandwiches to spur breakfast sales. “We have to win at breakfast,” said McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski earlier this year. “There’s obviously a lot of focus and attention that we’re going to be putting on that in 2020.”

For insight on how c-store retailers can boost the breakfast daypart, see “Rise & Shine: C-stores spotlight healthy breakfast offerings to lure customers inside” in the January issue of NACS Magazine. And listen to Episode 208 of the Convenience Matters podcast: “Rise and Shine with Healthier Breakfast Choices.”