Market Overview

Taco Bell Introduces New Breakfast Menu, Takes Aim At McDonald's

Taco Bell Introduces New Breakfast Menu, Takes Aim At McDonald's
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Breakfast may be a person's most important meal of the day, but it's also a hugely competitive market for fast-food restaurants.

According to the food industry web site Technomic, about 28 percent of the top fast-casual chain restaurants currently offer breakfast, up 8.8 percent from the third quarter of 2012 compared to the same time period last year.

That fast-food breakfast sector is reportedly worth about $50 billion, so it's probably not surprising that fast-food giant McDonalds (NYSE: MCD) walks away with about 25 percent of the market share each morning.

But that may be changing, at least if Yum Brands (NYSE: YUM) subsidiary Taco Bell has anything to say about it. On Thursday morning, Taco Bell unveiled a new breakfast menu at more than 5,500 of its outlets nationwide.

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The breakfast menu features 14 new items, including the widely-hyped Waffle Taco.

"Breakfast is the fastest growing day part in QSR (the Quick Service Restaurant industry), and until now, consumers have been stuck with the same, old breakfast sandwich choices everywhere they turn," company president Brian Niccol, said in a press statement. "We intend to break the boring breakfast routine by making mornings fun again."

Taco Bell says its marketing campaign for the new breakfast menu is its largest ad push ever. And its new television ads, produced by Deutsch LA, take direct aim at its rivals over at the Golden Arches.

In those new TV ads, Taco Bell rounded up several dozen men nationwide, all named Ronald McDonald, who profess their love for the new Taco Bell breakfast.

Taco Bell is also extending its breakfast hours to 11:00 am, a half-hour later than McDonald's. And unlike Mickey-D's, Taco Bell appears to be, if you'll pardon the pun, on a roll when it comes to successful product innovations. Sales of its Doritos Locos Tacos, launched in March of 2012, passed the $1 billion mark in about 18 month's time.

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