Is Chipotle planning to take on Dunkin' Donuts?
The burrito chain is testing coffee and breakfast, leading to speculation that it might roll out a morning menu.
In the battle for breakfast, Dunkin' Donuts' (DNKN) Munchkins may soon be facing a battle with some spicy chorizo.
That's because Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) is testing coffee and breakfast foods at a location in Washington, D.C., leading some industry observers to speculate that the chain may add the morning's first meal to more locations, Nation's Restaurant News reports.
Chipotle confirmed that it's testing breakfast at Baltimore-Washington International Airport, but a spokesman told the publication that at the moment it doesn't plan to roll out breakfast more widely.
The airport location offers a breakfast menu with chorizo and vegetable frittatas, as well as coffee from roaster La Colombe, notes Philly Eater.
"We're currently working on a new coffee program with Chipotle at one of their D.C. stores," Todd Carmichael, the head of the coffee roaster, told the publication. "They, like us, believe in the value of direct sourcing, and killer coffee."
Chipotle would be tapping a growing trend among American consumers: stopping at fast-food chains for their morning coffee and breakfast. About half of consumers visited a fast-food chain for breakfast in 2011, up from one-third in 2009, according to QSR Magazine.
For restaurant chains, adding breakfast and coffee can help boost sales and the bottom line.
Still, Chipotle isn't suffering at the moment. Second-quarter sales jumped 18%, while net income gained 7.6%. More recently, the chain has won kudos for its haunting ad that lauds organic farming over conventional.
But given the entrenched position of Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's (MCD) and Starbucks (SBUX) in consumers' morning routines, Chipotle's chances of breaking into the breakfast market may not amount to more than a hill of beans.
Follow Aimee Picchi on Twitter at @aimeepicchi.
One of the best South Park episodes ever.
Moves like this are risky, you need to really know who your clientele are and what they like. With that said: breakfast at Chipotle will work, if their regular customers want it.
I would love, love, love, a great cup o, not too sweet, authentic mexi-mocha or chocolate con quesa (I mean really, has the U.S. EVER been introduced to a melted cheese dome on Mexican hot chocolate) and a lightly sprinkled cinnamon tortilla filled with eggs, potatoes and salsa or fruit, from Chipotle! This of course would be made ever so much more doable if they would add a drive through to their establishments. Oh my goodness, I'm getting hungry as I write!
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