It's apparently never too early to have a hamburger. While most chains wait until 10 or 11 a.m. to begin offering their signature burgers, early risers will be able to skip straight to lunch at thousands of participating Burger King (BKW) locations. The fast food giant's betting that some morning commuters want more than just a breakfast burrito or a ham and egg sandwich for breakfast. Later this month Burger King is rolling out a "burgers for breakfast" campaign across 5,000 of its restaurants, offering its signature Whopper as well as a few other burgers and chicken sandwiches in the morning. Assuming that you don't want hash browns on the side, fries will also be made available. So will apple pie.
Whopper, BK King and Original Fried Chicken sandwiches will be part of the chain's breakfast offerings. Will it confuse diners? Will the move complicate matters for employees manning the prep tables and fryers? Will the great variety stall patrons as they ponder the menu when it's time to order, creating longer wait times for food?
The questions won't be answered right away, but Burger King doesn't have much of a choice. Breakfast is big business, and chains have to stand out one way or another.
Another Shot in the Battle for Breakfast
It isn't easy to make a difference in the morning. Just ask Wendy's (WEN), which has already retreated twice from the national breakfast market over the past decade. The first time it thought that it could set itself apart by offering sausage gravy-soaked biscuits and breakfast versions of its then-popular Frescata sandwiches. More recently it tried to stick closer to the McDonald's (MCD) playbook with oatmeal, breakfast burritos and biscuit sandwiches. That didn't pan out either, and last year it discontinued breakfast at all but less than 10 percent of its restaurants.
It's not just the burger flippers hoping to woo diners with caffeinated mornings. Subway -- the world's largest restaurant chain based on the number of locations -- got into the game four years ago with by offering eggy sandwiches for breakfast.
McDonald's owns breakfast, and that's a challenge for any quick-service chain hoping to extend its operating day by opening in the morning. Burger King has been taking notes in the past, ripping off many of the chain's most popular items down to a near replica of McDonald's flagship Egg McMuffin sandwich. Smoothies, oatmeal and caramel frappes were all introduced at McDonald's before Burger King got in on the fun.
Burger King could've gone the Taco Bell route. The Waffle Taco and A.M. Crunchwrap are unique items that one can only get at the country's largest burrito roller. Instead we're seeing Burger King trying to stand out by serving some of its lunch options a couple of hours earlier in the day.
%VIRTUAL-article-sponsoredlinks%Will it be enough? Selling parents driving their kids to school or commuters heading out to work on the merits of a Whopper at 9 a.m. won't be easy. Some of these items can get messy for distracted drivers. It will be incremental, and that's the point. As long as it doesn't slow up the drive-thru queue, this will help grow Burger King's business. But it may come at the expense of losing its breakfast identity.
The ideal solution is to follow Taco Bell into unique items that sound more outrageous than they actually taste. Burger King's breakfast menu isn't a photocopy of what McDonald's is doing. It does have a few items -- including croissant sandwiches and French toast sticks -- that were popularized there.
That's probably where the chain's emphasis should remain. Make breakfast better. Don't just make lunch earlier. Hungry morning drivers will have the final say in this breakfast battle. They always do.
Motley Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Burger King Worldwide and McDonald's.
12 Ways to Save Money on Food
A Whopper at 8 A.M. Isn't the Answer, Burger King
This advice applies to adults and kids alike. Plan out your shopping list before you head to the grocery store so you’re not tempted by impulse buys, and let any children along for the ride know that you plan on sticking with that list. Small expenditures add up to big money, so try to avoid giving in to any last-minute requests.
If your children continue to insist that you purchase their requested items, then ask them to bring their own piggy bank money. Remind your children they are only allowed to pick something they can afford. It's good practice for grown-up budgeting.
You might not have 20 hours a week to scour multiple publications for the best deals, but if you focus on searching for online coupons, you'll end up saving just as much. Search online for products with the word "coupon" afterward. For instance, if you're looking for Cascade dish soap, search for "Cascade dish soap coupons."
To make sure that you don't waste money on impulse buys, schedule your shopping around paydays. The day or day after you get paid should be your shopping day. Before you go shopping, make a list and make sure it has everything you'll need until the next shopping day on it. Now make a commitment to yourself that you will make what you're going to purchase last until the next shopping day.
Stocking your freezer with frozen meals can help you save money on lunch, since they cost just about $5 each. It can even be a healthier option because they help you practice portion control. Just make sure you're purchasing meals that have no preservatives, and watch out for sodium levels.
Don't waste your time making a sack lunch every day. Instead, prepare a week's worth of lunches on Sunday, and your body will thank you for the extra 10 to 30 minutes of sleep you'll gain each night. If you cook one big meal on Sunday, make sure it's easy to change up throughout the week. Chicken, rice and vegetables all cook quickly and taste great with different sauces and cheeses.
Most families throw away so much food on a weekly basis. A better idea is to turn your dinner leftovers into a lunchtime feast. Apps like BigOven help you use your leftovers to make yummy, new dishes. All you have to do is enter the ingredients you have, and the app will show you different recipe options for your leftovers. You'll save money using food that would have been thrown out.
If you know you have $400 to spend per month on your food budget, that's roughly $100 a week. Whether you shop once or twice per week or use cash or credit doesn't matter as long as you stay within your spending limits. Just be sure to only spend the amount you allotted per week.
Keep your shopping list in a set location so all members of the household can access it. Write estimated prices of the items you are going to buy next to each item on the checklist. It can serve a dual purpose as a price book you can use to guess how much you will spend.
If you've ordered from the kids menu at a restaurant recently, then you know how big the meals are – they're almost as big as meals for adults, and they can cost up to $10 each. If you have multiple children, an easy way to cut down on this expense is to have them share a meal. Not only does this lower the cost of feeding everyone, but it also cuts down on food waste.
Most stores are open late, and without the distraction of announcements, people and maybe even your kids, you can have your own Zen moment. When you are clearheaded, you're more likely to zone in on what you really need and leave out what you really don't. Plus, it's easier to give the cashier coupons without causing any delays for the people in line behind you.
We are a society consumed by all sorts of apps, but if you want to grocery shop, save money and still be lazy, let Favado, an app created by Savings.com, do the work for you. The app will tell you about items on sale from different stores, and if there is a store coupon or manufacturer coupon, it will also let you know that too. (Of course, you can just use it to scan the weekly ads to keep things simple.) And if you're already glued to your smartphone, it's easy to incorporate into your shopping routine.