Taco Bell is joining a "mad scramble" of fast-food chains competing for the growing breakfast-on-the-go crowd. The Mexican-inspired franchise business announced Thursday that it is rolling out a morning menu of breakfast burritos, hash browns, cinnamon buns, and other new items in almost 800 restaurants across a dozen Western states. But Taco Bell will have to muscle customers away from breakfast king McDonald's, as well as Burger King, Wendy's, Starbucks, and Subway (another recent breakfast convert). Does Taco Bell stand a chance?
No. McDonald's has too big a head start: "Taco Bell's push may spark curiosity" — breakfast at a taco joint? — but it's waking up to this opportunity too late, says Jeff Reeves at MSN Money. McDonald's has owned the fast-food breakfast market for ages; 25 percent of its sales now stem from Egg McMuffins, coffee, and other a.m. fare. And with so many other fast-food giants doing their "darnedest" to get in on the action, Taco Bell won't sell enough 99-cent bacon-and-egg burritos to make a dent.
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This formula might just work: Taco Bell has already "made its name as a favorite for the late-night crowd," says Katie Kindling at ABC News. Why couldn't it get early birds to "start to 'think outside the bun,'" too? The chain's "new take on breakfast" did well enough at trials in select California, Oklahoma, Arizona, and Ohio cities. And with the chain's decision to partner with "breakfast food heavyweights Cinnabon, Johnsonville, Tropicana, and Seattle's Best," lots of early risers will be tempted.
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The move makes sense for Taco Bell, but not for you: It's hardly surprising that Taco Bell wants a share of the breakfast crowd, says Brand Skokie at Diets in Review. "Breakfast and snacks made up just about all of the restaurant industry's growth in the past five years." But the last things American citizens need is another way to get "fatter, sicker, and ever-more dependent upon their convenience foods." So "think outside the drive-through" and start your day with something healthy at home.
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