Begun, the bacon wars have: Wendy's challenges McDonald's

America loves bacon and McDonald’s and Wendy’s are engaged in a full-on bacon war this week.

First, McDonald’s announced a first-of-its-kind “bacon bash” – one hour of free bacon with anything on the menu on Jan. 29 between 4 pm and 5 pm local time.

“When we said there’s no such thing as too much bacon, we weren’t kidding. January 29, we’ll be upping the bacon ante – the bac-ante, if you will – and celebrating this glorious food favorite like never before,” Chef Michael Haracz, McDonald’s Manager of Culinary Innovation, said in a statement.

As part of the offer, consumers can get two half pieces of bacon on the side with a Filet-O-Fish sandwich, burger, or even hot fudge sundae.

RELATED: A bit about bacon

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A Bit About Bacon

Click through to find delicious bacon recipes!

Grilled Glazed-Salmon Sandwiches with Bacon

Bacon adds robust flavor to this Salmon sandwich.

Get this recipe: Grilled Glazed-Salmon Sandwiches with Bacon

Bacon, Tomato and Cheddar Breakfast Bake with Eggs

This breakfast bake topped with runny eggs by F&W's Grace Parisi develops a terrific texture as it cooks slowly in a glass dish (which makes it easy to see when the bottom is perfectly browned).

Get this recipe: Bacon, Tomato and Cheddar Breakfast Bake with Eggs

Pimento Cheese & Bacon Crostini

The Neelys invented this irresistible crostini recipe.

Get this recipe: Pimento Cheese & Bacon Crostini

Bacon Burgers on Brioche Buns

The burger at Tyler Florence 's Wayfare Tavern in San Francisco is called Le Grand with good reason: It's a custom blend of ground prime rib, brisket, skirt steak and tenderloin, topped with Nueske's bacon and Cowgirl Creamery's triple-cream Mt. Tam cheese. The recipe is also delicious with a mix of chuck and sirloin.

Get this recipe: Bacon Burgers on Brioche Buns

Fried Green Tomato BLTs

This is a brilliant marriage of two classics: cornmeal-dusted green tomatoes and a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich. Danny Meyer: Wine Pairings for Sandwiches

Get this recipe: Fried Green Tomato BLTs

Bacon, Fennel and Apple Chutney

Chutney is a favorite British condiment for everything from cheese to roasts. This sweet-and-smoky version is perfect with crackers as a starter, spread on a grilled cheddar sandwich or served with roasted pork.

Get this recipe: Bacon, Fennel and Apple Chutney

Green Beans with Bacon & Hazelnuts

The toasted smoky flavors in this fast saute make it a warm addition to any winter meal.

Get this recipe: Green Beans with Bacon & Hazelnuts

Bacon Quinoa with Almonds and Herbs

Native to the Andes Mountains, the nutty, protein-rich grain is now also grown in the U.S. Toss it with smoky bacon and toasted almonds to make a substantial side dish that's delicious with poached eggs or roasted chicken.

Get this recipe: Bacon Quinoa with Almonds and Herbs

Maple - Bacon Marshmallows

This modern twist on marshmallows is a must try! Recipe courtesy of Marshmallow Madness!: Dozens of Puffalicious Recipes by Shauna Sever/Quirk Books, 2012.

Get this recipe: Maple - Bacon Marshmallows

Bacon and Cheddar Puff Pastry Crisps

Your guests are sure to enjoy these bite-sized appetizers with big-sized flavors like bacon, Cheddar cheese, and a creamy ranch dressing.

Get this recipe: Bacon and Cheddar Puff Pastry Crisps

Cobb Salad

Cobb salad is a delicious and efficient way to bring together ingredients you probably already have in your fridge. The flavors work flawlessly: the mild chicken and creamy avocado offer a welcome counterpoint to the sharp cheese and salty bacon.

Get this recipe: Cobb Salad

Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

In this version, the eggs are cooked into a custardlike sauce. An extra step, yes, but the technique ensures food safety. To vary the vegetables, try green beans, asparagus or frozen peas (cook peas separately from pasta).

Get this recipe: Spaghetti Alla Carbonara

Roasted Oysters with Shallots, Bacon & Chives

There is nothing more festive than serving oysters on the half shell for a party, but shucking them can be difficult. When they’re roasted in the oven on a bed of rock salt, their shells open on their own and you can then add an herbed cream sauce and finish baking them.

Get this recipe: Roasted Oysters with Shallots, Bacon & Chives

BLT Grilled Pizza

All the flavors of a BLT on a crispy grilled crust.

Recipe courtesy of Fleischmann's Yeast

Get this recipe: BLT Grilled Pizza

Bacon and Gorgonzola Cornbread Sliders with Chipotle May

Recipe courtesy of The Lodge Cast Iron Cookbook: A Treasury of Timeless, Delicious Recipes by The Lodge Company/Oxmoor House, 2012.

Get this recipe: Bacon and Gorgonzola Cornbread Sliders with Chipotle May

Bacon and Egg Breakfast Pizza

Bacon, cheese, and potatoes make for tasty toppings on this kid-approved pizza. Reheat leftovers on a griddle or in a skillet over medium heat to get a crisp crust without overcooking the filling.

Recipe from The Ultimate Kid-Approved Cookbook by Editors of Cooking Light Magazine/Oxmoor House, 2011.

Get this recipe: Bacon and Egg Breakfast Pizza


With the promotion, McDonald’s is trying to draw attention another big promotion: on Jan. 30 the food chain is adding three new bacon items to its menu – the Big Mac Bacon, Quarter Pounder Bacon, and Cheesy Bacon Fries.

“There’s no such thing as too much bacon,” McDonald’s says.

Not to be outdone by its rival, Wendy’s announced on Monday that it is the “Boss of Bacon and that there’s not a clown in town that can take this crown.” Hard to miss the subtle reference to the iconic Ronald McDonald.

Wendy’s took the bacon wars one step further by offering a free Baconator sandwich (half-pound burger, cheese, and six pieces of bacon) with a $10 purchase on DoorDash, the on-demand delivery service. And the restaurant chain is offering its bacon special is not for an hour, but for the whole week.

"We've always owned bacon and that's not changing because our competitors are throwing a happy hour to celebrate its importance," Wendy’s said in its release.

In such a competitive field, quick-service restaurants often try to outdo and out-promote each other to lure customers.

“The industry is so competitive, that they are trying to steal each other’s thunder as much as possible and not let you know any one promotion go without being matched at another competitor,” says BTIG analyst Peter Saleh.

Robert Derrington, research analyst at Telsey Advisory Group, says that the competition to offer menu items for free does hurt franchisees’ bottom line.

“Free gets the attention of consumers,” he says. However, “in the big scheme of things, free isn’t as helpful to the franchise bottom line as selling for a price, so in that regard, it’ll get some attention, it’ll get some customer traffic, it very well could potentially could blunt some of the big news of McDonald’s adding bacon,” he says.


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