There is a battle being waged at the moment in the US fast food industry over breakfast.
Which makes sense because the first meal of the day is a $50 billion a year business in the country where McDonald’s got its start.
Taco Bell became one of the more prominent, active entrants into the fray when it released a new range of breakfast products, including the infamous waffle taco, earlier this year.
McDonald’s, for so long the market leader in fast food breakfast, has previously expressed calm about the increasingly intense competition on its turf. It reiterated those sentiments today at a Sanford Bernstein conference, but provided a new argument for why it will continue to reign supreme: because its food is fresher and of higher quality than its rivals.
Here’s CEO Don Thompson:
We are a restaurant business, we cook. And I made this comment several times. It’s – we actually crack eggs in the restaurant and cook sausage and bacon and toast muffins and we place cheese on muffins. This is not a pre-prepared deal that comes in and gets microwaved. I think it’s very important. We haven’t spoken enough about it. So, we as McDonald’s, need to do more of telling that quality story. The produce and the products that we have at breakfast and across the menu are fresh.
It is not clear which rival chain’s pre-prepared, microwaved breakfasts Thompson was referring to. McDonald’s has been trying to talk up the health benefits of its food for a while now. But there is still something strange about hearing the company trying to play the health card after warning its own employees about the risks of fast food and after having inspired a film about the questionable nutritional value of its products.