The Fast Food Breakfast Wars Explained In One Chart


The fast food breakfast wars are intensifying.


Within the last couple weeks, Taco Bell has introduced a Waffle Taco, Dunkin' Donuts has debuted an Eggs Benedict sandwich, and McDonald's started testing pastries. Starbucks, in an effort to defend its morning turf, also expanded its breakfast menu this month.

So why all the sudden hype around breakfast food?

This one chart from The NPD Group explains it all:

NPD Group chart on breakfast wars

The NPD Group


U.S. restaurant traffic during the breakfast hours increased 3% in 2013 compared to the prior year, according to a study by the research firm. Meanwhile, traffic declined by 1% during the lunch and dinner hours.

The spike in breakfast traffic comes following a 1% increase in 2012 and a 2% increase in 2011. Lunch and dinner traffic remained relatively flat over the same time period.

Fast food outlets are the major drivers behind the growth of the breakfast market, according to NPD's report. They account for about 80% of total restaurant morning meals and showed the strongest increase (roughly 4%) in breakfast visits compared to the previous year.

By comparison, morning meal visits to midscale/family dining restaurants declined by 3%.