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Wendy’s sees success in breakfast war with McDonalds as new morning menu now makes up 8% of sales

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Wendy’s saw breakfast become 8 per cent of its second quarter sales, despite the coronavirus pandemic cutting into morning business because of mandated lockdowns.

A new Wendy’s breakfast menu that includes a morning version of its Baconator sandwich and a Frosty-ccino coffee drink was credited for still resonating with customers, according to analysts.

‘With not much else to do, some consumers welcome the opportunity to try a fun new menu item during this crisis,’ Mintel food service analyst Jill Failla said.  

Wendy's saw breakfast become 8 per cent of its second quarter sales, despite the coronavirus pandemic cutting into morning business because of mandated lockdowns. A Wendy's employee is pictured serving a drive through customer in Richmond, California

Wendy’s saw breakfast become 8 per cent of its second quarter sales, despite the coronavirus pandemic cutting into morning business because of mandated lockdowns. A Wendy’s employee is pictured serving a drive through customer in Richmond, California

An image of the Breakfast Baconator, which was among new breakfast menu items at Wendy's

An image of the Frosty-ccino coffee drink, which was among new breakfast menu items at Wendy's

A new Wendy’s breakfast menu that includes a morning version of its Baconator sandwich (left) and a Frosty-ccino coffee drink (right) still resonated with customers, analysts said

‘This trial gives them something to talk about with family, friends and on social media,’ Failla told CNN

The new Wendy’s breakfast menu went live on March 2, two weeks before coronavirus-mandated lockdowns literally ended the morning commute for most Americans. 

However, the choice of going with non-traditional items for its breakfast menu, played into the chain’s favor against the impacts of the virus. 

Falla told CNN those were ‘relevant menu trends’, with appeal to younger people. 

Wendy’s, reporting on its success Monday, said it was banking for breakfast to account for as much as 10 per cent by the end of the year. 

‘We could not be more pleased with our breakfast daypart since its launch in early March,’ Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor said in an earnings call.  ‘Interest in breakfast hasn’t faded.’ 

Shares of Wendy’s stock were just under $22 in mid-day trading on Monday. 

Shares of Wendy's stock, which have risen since mid-March, were just under $22 in mid-day trading on Monday

Shares of Wendy’s stock, which have risen since mid-March, were just under $22 in mid-day trading on Monday

Meanwhile, rivals like McDonald’s, which had to drop its popular all-day breakfast menu to save costs during the pandemic, reported a much bumpier ride during the second quarter.  

Chris Kempczinski CEO of the world’s largest fast food restaurant chain, said in an earnings call last month that breakfast ‘was one area of pressure’, primarily from new competitors in the morning, CNN reported. 

The chain in its latest earnings report announced that it will close 200 locations in the US after sales dropped by 30 per cent due to lockdowns limiting operations to drive-thru and delivery. 

In response, McDonald’s said it will delay dining room re-openings for at least another month and will spend heavily to convince people to come back, particularly for breakfast. 

Meanwhile, competitors Dunkin’ and Starbucks said they also have seen business drop in the mornings with fewer customers coming because of mandated COVID-19 lockdowns. 

Starbucks estimated that it lost $3.1 billion in revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic, CNBC. Despite the losses and the continued impacts of COVID-19, the chain planned to still open 130 new locations globally.

Kevin Johnson, the company’s CEO, described the lockdown’s impact on morning commutes as a ‘headwind’, CNN reported.

Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks, described the lockdown’s impact on morning commutes as a ‘headwind’. A Starbucks store in Kingston, New York, is pictured earlier this month

Kevin Johnson, CEO of Starbucks, described the lockdown’s impact on morning commutes as a ‘headwind’. A Starbucks store in Kingston, New York, is pictured earlier this month

Meanwhile, Dunkin’ which also has struggled in the mornings, announced it will close 800 locations in the US permanently after suffering a 20 per cent loss in second quarter revenue. 

The losses again come as COVID-19 lockdowns meant fewer customers were stopping at Dunkin’ stores on their way to work.  

The Canton, Massachusetts,-based company said the closings will impact ‘low-volume sales’ stores that only represented about 2 per cent of US sales in 2019. 

Same-store sales still improved ‘sequentially throughout the quarter’ CEO Dave Hoffmann, said in a press release. He credited new menu items designed to appeal to customers who now frequent Dunkin’ stores later in the day’.  

A customer in a mask approaches the counter at a Dunkin' in Coney Island, New York. Despite the coronavirus, same-store sales still improved 'sequentially throughout the quarter' CEO Dave Hoffmann, said, due to customers who now frequent Dunkin' stores later in the day'

A customer in a mask approaches the counter at a Dunkin’ in Coney Island, New York. Despite the coronavirus, same-store sales still improved ‘sequentially throughout the quarter’ CEO Dave Hoffmann, said, due to customers who now frequent Dunkin’ stores later in the day’

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