Based on breakfasts, Wendy’s, the famous fast food restaurant chain that ranks seventh in the most profitable franchise ranking in the United States, has announced that it will fight with McDonalds, third in the ranking, for the morning niche. They will invest millions of dollars in hamburger, bacon and egg sandwiches, among others, to satisfy the appetite of early risers.
Everyone fights for breakfast
But why this fight? As Jeffrey Bernstein, the Director and analyst at Barclays, explained, today 25% of sales and 40% of profits received annually by McDonalds come from this segment. While chains such as Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts have always naturally had to cover this spectrum, more and more lunch and dinner restaurants, such as Burger King or Taco Bell, are turning to this point.
The truth is that fast food consumption models are changing. Fewer and fewer people approach fast-food restaurants for lunch, and, since breakfast is the only food segment that continues to grow in benefits, it can be a good refuge for large food chains that want to maximize their profits. According to experts, the shift is to be blamed on fast food delivery apps, which are growing globally at a rate of 14% per year and already have fully consolidated and absorbed markets like the Chinese market.
In view of this growth, franchises are more conditioned to justify one of their characteristics that many of their competitors do not have: the physical premises, the large establishments in some of the most sought-after corners of each city, and the cost of sustaining this kind of infrastructure.
Expanding the repertoire of foods to optimize their presence seemed the next logical step, and is something that, as we explained, is not only happening to the franchisees, but to any restaurant business that wants to survive in the centers of major cities.
Democracy brought us the junk breakfast in bed and without a doubt, McDonalds is the undisputed king of fast food breakfasts. It is so in terms of sales figures but also in the battle for public affection. Although there are previous articles that already analyzed the commercial opportunity that breakfast offers, it was in 2013-2015 when McDonalds realized, thanks to Twitter and many other platforms, that people loved their Egg McMuffins, but that they regretted that this dish was only served in the mornings.
Thousands of drunks were suffering after waking up at two or three o’clock in the afternoon because they could not ask for their hangover cure: an English sandwich with butter, loin, cheese and a perfectly round egg. In 2015, North America’s favorite overnight “comfort food” and other dishes earned the extension of their 24-hour service. The Egg McMuffin became the company’s most popular menu year after year, and that’s when the race began for the top spot in the sales list for the other chains, now joined by Wendy’s, for offering the best breakfast in the world 24 hours per day.
However, the debatable part in the middle of this scenario, is the quality of the food (breakfasts to be more accurate) that people are eating day in and day out. Processed, industrialized, chemically prepared foods that are a delight to the palate, but which provide little or no real quality nutrients to the body, in a society that cries out for help in controlling the overweight that so many lives are costing year after year.
Figures are everything, while health is not really a big concern. In the middle of the wild capitalism where the big companies of the world are, the really important thing has its own name: maximum profits.