fast food breakfast

Fast-food breakfasts are getting a sweet makeover

Two of Canada’s biggest fast-food restaurants are finding their sweet spot, adding some new and exciting items to the most important meal of the day. With the $27 billion fast-food industry ranking second in the Canadian market, and up to 40 per cent of Canadians eating on the go, this trend could prove to be the key to boosting breakfast sales. 

Tim Hortons, Canada’s largest restaurant chain, has seen several menu changes over the years, with maple bacon breakfast sandwiches newly added to their roster. The retailer describes them as “two classic Canadian flavours come together,” noting that the maple-flavoured bacon can be added to any sandwich on their menu. They also offer a roasted hazelnut cold brew with espresso-infused foam, for the cold coffee drinkers in the crowd – another sweet addition to their breakfast menu.

Not traditionally known as a breakfast destination, Wendy’s launched its first breakfast menu about three years ago and only launched it nationwide across Canada in May of this year. Recognizing that there was a hole in their menu, Wendy’s wanted to add something sweet and hand-held to their offering. According to CEO Todd Penegor, the process took them a year. They went through 18 iterations until they settled on the homestyle French toast sticks, along with a new dipping syrup, now available to morning commuters.

Others are joining the rush, too.

Since March, for example, Taco Bell has been offering a limited-time $5 Breakfast Box combo meal in the U.S. that includes Cinnabon cream-filled pastries.

Breakfast sales on the rise?

The industry has seen a drop in weekday breakfast sandwich sales from 28 per cent in 2020 to 16 per cent in 2022, so this menu makeover may be a move to market this item more aggressively and attract more weekday visitors.

However, while breakfast sales may still be down since pre-pandemic, there are signs of recovery. New NPD Group data found the breakfast daypart ended Q2 with flat traffic counts, compared to declines for lunch and dinner.

A wider variety of menu items is already available and growing, affording more options for discerning consumers. With more traffic heading back to the office and fast-food chains broadening their menu appeal, breakfast sales are surely on the rise for 2022.

Photo courtesy of CNW/Tim Hortons