Burger King tests mimosas and 'brunch'
BK classes up its menu with offerings like a ciabatta breakfast sandwich, but will it win over McDonald's customers?
Burger King is turning its battle with McDonald's (MCD) for early morning sales into a battle of words. In selected markets, the BK is advertising the availability of a "Burger King brunch." The move away from breakfast is apparently supposed to evoke ideas of higher quality than just a conventional meal of (perish the thought!) eggs and coffee.
The brunch menu is debuting in test markets that include Massachusetts, Florida and parts of Canada. But will it be enough to loosen Mickey D’s iron grip on breakfast sales?
You have to admit that the menu is worth a look. BK’s mimosa is nonalcoholic, with OJ and Sprite instead of orange juice and champagne, but should still provide a fizzy pick-me-up in the morning. Its other new brunch item is a new BK ciabatta breakfast sandwich that consists of scrambled egg, cheese, tomato, ham and bacon with a smoky tomato sauce. This is on top of a previously announced move to roll out Starbucks-owned Seattle's Best Coffee at BK locations.
The final element of the brunch menu in test markets? BK’s signature Whopper available first thing in the morning! Post continues after video:
But the potential payday from breakfast diners is worth another shot on Burger King's part. According to data from The NPD Group/CREST, breakfast sales at fast-food joints has resisted the erosion seen in lunch and dinner sales due to the recession. For fiscal year 2009, mornings accounted for 22% of fast-food customer traffic, and sales were down 1% from a year earlier. Lunch gets 34% of the day’s customers, but slumped 2% compared with 2008 numbers. Same for the dinner hours, where 25% of customers made their purchases, but total revenue was down the most -- -5% in 2009 compared with 2008.
This profitable breakfast market is drawing some creative offerings from restaurants. Subway most recently joined the fun, introducing its first breakfast menu. Jack in the Box (JACK) upgraded its morning menu a few weeks back with the introduction of its grilled breakfast sandwich. CKE Restaurants (CKR) just recently added a double "loaded biscuit ‘n’ gravy"with egg and sausage to the morning menu at its Hardee’s restaurants.
The breakfast marketplace is very crowded right now as restaurants look to cash in on early risers and early spenders. But perhaps the BK brunch menu could help Burger King stock rise and shine in the months ahead.
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The solid report comes a month after the retailer closed all of its Canadian operations.
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