Wendy’s officially rolled out its anticipated breakfast menu on Monday and competitors like McDonald’s and Chick-fil-A have tried to steal its morning thunder with their own shameless a.m. promotions.
McDonald’s declared Monday as National Egg McMuffin Day, saying customers can get a free Egg McMuffin sandwich between the hours of 6 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. through its app. The free food announcement came after Wendy’s tweeted a photo of a tombstone Friday with “RIP Egg McMuffin” across it with the dates 1972–2020 and the caption “Here lies mediocrity” ahead of its breakfast launch. And Chick-fil-A said it would offer a free breakfast item every Tuesday in March, Crain’s Chicago Business reported.
Wendy’s is going to great length to invest in its breakfast program. The Ohio-based chain said it plans to spend between $40 million and $50 million on breakfast advertising and up to $80 million on advertising for breakfast alone. The chain also hired former McDonald’s chef Mike Haracz to promote its breakfast menu on social media and in a TV ad. And on Tuesday, customers can get a free egg-filled Breakfast Baconator delivered when they spend $5 via its partnership with DoorDash. Its main strategy is targeting its competitors with social media-heavy advertising using memes that poke fun at its culinary rivals.
Wendy's breakfast menu includes items like its honey butter chicken biscuit, potato wedges and cold brew coffee.
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Americans continue to spend more money on the morning meal category. Eaters consumed nearly 102 billion breakfasts last year and another 50 billion morning snack meals from quick-service restaurants, according to market research firm NPD Group’s “Future of Morning” study. What’s more, consumer spending at quick-service restaurants increased by 5 percent per year for the last five years and 6 percent per year for major restaurant chains, with eggs, pancakes and sausage among the top growing foods, according to NPD.
While Wendy's continues to focus on meat-based menu items, many other fast-food chains have leaned into the plant-based meat category for breakfast. Starbucks on Wednesday announced it would add a plant-based Beyond Meat sandwich to its menu in Canada beginning March 3.
Impossible Foods, meanwhile, teamed up with Burger King for a breakfast sandwich featuring its plant-based pork last month following Dunkin’s partnership with rival Beyond Meat for its breakfast sandwich.