Look out Egg McMuffin... here comes the Waffle Taco.
On the same day McDonald's said it was considering extending its breakfast menu beyond 10:30 a.m., Taco Bell rolled out the heavy artillery for its entry into the fast-food breakfast wars on March 27.
The Waffle Taco, which is a waffle wrapped around a sausage patty or bacon, with scrambled eggs and cheese and a side of syrup, is joined by the A.M. Crunchwrap -- scrambled eggs, hash browns, cheese and bacon, sausage or steak in a flour tortilla and the Bacon and Egg Burrito.
Taco Bell says breakfast will be available until 11 a.m. -- a half hour longer than McDonald's offers its Egg McMuffins.
"We can turn the breakfast conversation into a two-horse race," Taco Bell President Brian Niccol told The Associated Press, noting that Taco Bell intends to be a "strong No. 2" after McDonald's.
McDonald's has long been the fast-food leader in the mornings, with its popular Sausage Biscuits, Hotcakes and other items pulling in roughly 20 percent of the company's U.S. sales. But the chain has been facing stiffer competition in recent years, with competitors such as Starbucks and Subway rolling out breakfast sandwiches as well.
Kevin Newell, U.S. brand and strategy officer for McDonald's, seemed unfazed by Taco Bell's foray into the breakfast market. It is a major undertaking that requires training existing workers, hiring more staff to cover morning shifts and buying new equipment, he said. Taco Bell is bringing in new equipment to its nearly 6,000 U.S. locations to start serving coffee for the first time.
AND not to be out done........
Egg McMuffin - it may not be just for breakfast anymore.
McDonald's, which currently cuts off its breakfast menu at 10:30 a.m., is considering offering both breakfast and lunch menus at a time when people's eating habits are changing — particularly those coveted customers in their 20s and 30s.
"We know...that breakfast on the weekend cut off at 10:30 doesn't go very well," Jeff Stratton, head of McDonald's USA, told The Associated Press. He gave no details on how McDonald's would adjust kitchen operations to make breakfast later in the day. "Well, we're just beginning. We're just taking a look at it," he said.
McDonald's has long entertained the idea of serving breakfast throughout the day. It has been inching closer to making the idea a reality as it faces heightened competition and slumping sales. Last year, the company began offering an "After Midnight" menu at select locations. The menu, available from midnight to 4 a.m., consisted of a limited mix of breakfast and lunch items so kitchen operations wouldn't be overwhelmed.
The push to make breakfast outside normal hours also reflects how McDonald's is working to keep pace with shifting habits. In particular, executives have noted that customers increasingly want foods personalized to their tastes and schedules.