Wendy’s Takes on Breakfast (Again)

Wendy’s stock fell even as the chain announced an attempt to re-launch its nationwide breakfast menu next year. Breakfast has been a tough one to tackle for fast food chains, as most Americans make breakfast at home. Nevertheless, this has been a challenge that the big players have gladly accepted. We looked into the latest Wendy’s data, to see if we could find anything delicious, nutritious and foot-traffic worthy. 

Breaking Breakfast Down

Over the past year, Wendy’s has had similar traffic to Panera. But when looking at each brand’s peak visit times, Panera takes a clear lead when it comes to morning visits. 27.6% of Panera’s visit come between 6 am and noon, while only 10.7% of Wendy’s visits are during the morning hours. Recently, Panera announced a move to try and shift their attention to dinner hours, giving the logic behind Wendy’s move in the other direction added significance.

Comparing to the King

But to truly appreciate the potential, we need to compare to the king of fast-food –  McDonald’s. The chain is maybe more known for its lunch and dinner offerings but its decision to tackle the breakfast category head-on has made a huge impact. And interestingly, the foot traffic patterns for both brands were quite similar. 

Though McDonald’s (red) sees most of their visits in the afternoon, breakfast still makes up sizeable 25.9% of overall daily traffic. And this is the critical opportunity that exists for Wendy’s. By delivering a strong breakfast offering, the brand has the chance to maximize their retail footprint by extending its peak period into the morning.

Breakfast is Hot

When it comes to breakfast menus, innovation is key. Panera came out with breakfast wrap this April, Dunkin’ Donuts rolled out its Go2 Value Menu in January 2019. And of course, McDonald’s, whose breakfast menu accounts for a quarter of sales, introduced its breakfast-only Donut Sticks in this past February. It’s clear why Wendy’s wants a bite from the breakfast pie. But with so many players already in the breakfast space, Wendy’s is going to need a drool-worthy breakfast menu and continue cooking up fresh new choices to keep customers coming for more. 

Where Do We Go From Here?

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