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Witness the Breakfast War (by Kyra Yong)

When it comes to breakfast fast-food, McDonald’s is usually the first company that comes to our minds.  From their signature Egg McMuffins, to their up and coming McCafe, the thought of having a warm golden arched, hash brown in the golden mornings of the day is an appeal that many of us can resonate with.  Currently, many companies are also considering taking a part in the breakfast market. Breakfast is slowly becoming a great part of the fast food lifeline – resulting to be a business contributing more than $50 billion dollars in revenue, as stated by USA Today.  With all this in mind, Mexican fast-food chain, Taco Bell is taking a step to participate for their fair share in the breakfast market as they will be launching a completely new breakfast menu.  By mid-March, consumers will be given the option to purchase drip coffee, Waffle Tacos or A.M. Crunchwraps.  To appeal to their target Millennial crowd, these items will be easy to hold and available a half hour later than many other chains such as McDonald’s. 
 
As the market shifts, companies also need to make changes accordingly.  Taco Bell is not the only business to make this company wide addition to their menu.  Companies such as Starbucks and Subway have also taken a big part in the game and compete directly with McDonald's.  Even though McDonald’s has always been the reigning champ in terms of being known for the "breakfast fast-food chain," the company has to step up their game in marketing to maintain a good market share and sales.   
 
As compared to McDonald’s position in the breakfast market, Taco Bell is definitely a new player. Since the early 90’s, Taco Bell has mainly been known for their Mexican inspired menu.  Now, the chain has decided to take a huge step into having a breakfast menu and hopefully, even a coffee option.  This greatly mimics McDonald’s strategy in the coffee business.  Though Taco Bell does have the strength of their brand, stepping into this new market may seem a bit far off their original company purpose.  The name Taco Bell caters towards the Hispanic flare of food, a group that doesn’t usually have American breakfast items such as syrup drizzled sausages wrapped in tortillas on their daily palate.  Therefore, Taco Bell has the disadvantage of not having a good reputation as a breakfast place, and it is playing a catching-up game. 
    
As we witness this race, it is interesting to note the many different tactics companies are using to market their new products.  McDonald’s has established a strong reputation for breakfast; however, they definitely will need to find new ways to adjust to the shifting market as more companies are starting to jump on the growth stage of the breakfast bandwagon.  Not only do companies have to develop new products/service that appeal to their target market (e.g., on-the-go consumers), they will also have to brainstorm different ideas to lure in their audience.  Let's hope Taco Bell will be able to survive by launching a new concept and/or new breakfast items.    

Do you believe Taco Bell is making a multi-billion dollar breakfast mistake?  How can the restaurant chain position itself differently from those big competitors such as McDonald’s?

About the author:
Kyra Yong is an undergraduate student attending the Collins College of Hospitality Management at Cal Poly Pomona.  She has an emphasis on Food & Beverage particularly within the restaurant world of the industry. With an entrepreneurial spirit, she is driven to gain the most from her peers, professors, and internship experiences.  Since she started at the Collins College, she has been greatly involved in campus clubs, honored in the Dean’s List, and awarded scholarships from food-service companies, such as Sodexo and Nestle of the Collins Scholarships. She enjoys the opportunity of giving back to the community and hopes to utilize her accumulated skills to benefit future hospitality companies and ultimately, a company of her own.  
 
Reference:
Horovitz, Bruce. "Taco Bell Thinking outside the Breakfast Bun." USA Today. Gannett, 24 Feb.  
            2014. Web. 26 Feb. 2014.
Choi, Candice. "Taco Bell Takes Aim at McDonald's With Breakfast." ABC News. ABC News
            Network, 24 Feb. 2014. Web. 24 Feb. 2014.

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