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Fast Food Chains Pour More Marketing Dollars Into Breakfast Daypart.


With more Americans commuting to work for at least part of the week, fast food chains are bullish on breakfast. From Taco Bell’s launching breakfast tacos and testing breakfast tots to Wendy’s new bacon burrito, there is innovation happening on morning menus and more money being allocated to marketing the daypart. On its earnings call earlier this month, Wendy’s announced it will invest roughly $55 million in ad dollars toward growing its breakfast share.


“This investment will further amplify our plans and support an always-on approach across media partnerships and activations as we tell our breakfast story,” CEO Kirk Tanner told analysts. “The breakfast daypart is one of the most compelling levers when considering sales growth and margin acceleration opportunities.”


Wendy’s is a top radio advertiser, according to Media Monitors. For the week of Feb. 26-March 3, the Quick Serve Restaurant ran 22,172 spots to rank 15th among all national radio advertisers – and first among QSRs.


Wendy’s enthusiasm for the breakfast market, which was all but decimated during the pandemic, is shared by other fast feeders. Jack in the Box CEO Darin Harris told analysts last month that breakfast “continues to be an opportunity we are addressing,” according to Nation’s Restaurant News. In addition to adding new breakfast items, the chain is making breakfast a regular part of its marketing calendar.


Ever since introducing the Egg McMuffin in 1972, breakfast has been a cornerstone for McDonald’s. Last month CEO Chris Kempczinski said “breakfast continues to be a competitive area; a lot of activity going on in breakfast.” The Golden Arches aired 18,523 radio spots the week of Feb. 26-March 3, making it radio’s second largest QSR client and No. 26 overall.


In addition to QSR breakfasts being “in” this year, Nation’s Restaurant News notes that “brunch” concept restaurants such as First Watch, Biscuit Belly and Toasted Yolk are also growing in popularity.


The growth of the morning daypart for QSRs is rooted in how Americans are starting their days. According to workforce insights platform Aura, there has been a more than 20% decrease in remote job openings over the last six months. “So, while estimates show that about 15% of employees work from home full-time, and nearly 30% have a hybrid work model, that number may be changing throughout the next couple of years,” Nation’s Restaurant News says. “As more employees return to the office, breakfast traffic should also grow, particularly compared to past years when fewer companies required staff to be in the office, said Revenue Management Solutions CMO Jana Zschieschang.

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