McDonald’s has made noise in the breakfast wars recently, as well. The chain declared March 2—conveniently the same day as Wendy’s breakfast launch—as National Egg McMuffin Day in which customers could receive a free Egg McMuffin through the McDonald’s app. In January, the major chain added a Chicken McGriddle and McChicken Biscuit to its morning menu.
Additionally, Starbucks has introduced protein-packed breakfast wraps and a plant-based breakfast sandwich to appeal to health-conscious consumers while Dunkin’ rolled out Snackin’ Bacon to draw in consumers seeking indulgence. A couple of weeks ago, Panera Bread launched an unlimited monthly coffee menu for $8.99 to grow its traffic and membership program.
According to the NDP group, Americans ate almost 102 billion breakfasts last year, with another 50 billion morning snack occasions. Breakfast represented 16 percent of traffic in the fast food segment in the 12 months ending November 2019.
“We serve nearly one billion burritos to our fans every year and our new Toasted Breakfast Burrito menu solidifies that Taco Bell is the place for burritos across all dayparts,” Melissa Friebe, Taco Bell’s SVP of brand marketing and consumer insights, said in a statement. “We’re constantly listening to consumers to fit their needs and we know that these breakfast burritos are the perfect addition to morning routines. We’re excited to bring our fans this new lineup among a sea of breakfast sandwich sameness.”
Taco Bell's fourth-quarter same-store sales rose 4 percent systemwide following a 6 percent hike in 2018 to close out its eighth consecutive year of positive growth.
The chain added 172 net new units in the period and opened its 60th urban-style Cantina in the U.S. It also debuted 71 net international restaurants in the period, including new markets in Portugal and New Zealand. Taco Bell’s global development of 291 net stores in 2019 was a 30 percent increase over 2018.
Additionally, Taco Bell ended the period with 20 seconds faster service, year-over-year, the company said, which translated to 9 million more cars rolling through the drive thru in 2019.
Taco Bell will open a Times Square location in the fall, which promises to be the most technology-forward Taco Bell to date. The company said the new Cantina will “utilize new digital features that not only allow for a smooth ordering experience but showcase digital moments throughout the restaurant like never before.”
The other fast-social unit, to open in San Ramon, California, will be based around gaming. In addition to those two new units, the chain will test a conversion of three traditional suburban Taco Bells into Cantinas and evaluate their performance.