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The Surprising Breakfast Trend Literally No One Saw Coming

Early AM drive-thru sales are down. But delivery? Way up!
Plates of food at Deaners Diner in North Dakota

Fast-food breakfast sales, once a rock-solid industry strength, have declined sharply since the coronavirus pandemic began, forcing chains to rethink their menus entirely and even the mighty McDonald's to retire its once-beloved all-day breakfast menu for good. But as morning drive-thru breakfast service at fast-food restaurants has declined, one curious trend has emerged: more and more customers are ordering fast-food breakfasts online—for delivery.

That's right: More and more Americans are ordering Egg McMuffins and Cheesy Toasted Breakfast Burritos directly to their homes without even getting into their cars.

According to data from market research company Edison Trends, consumer online spending for fast-food breakfast items at major chains has nearly doubled between the weeks of March 16 and April 13. The orders are being carried by the delivery services DoorDash and Uber Eats.

McDonald's has seen the biggest relative gain in online breakfast spending, as Edison Trends found that people are spending far more on breakfast orders from the Golden Arches than any of its fast-food rivals.

But it's not just McDonald's taking advantage of this trend. Dunkin' Donuts, Taco Bell, Burger King, and Starbucks in mid-April saw upticks in their online breakfast businesses that continued growing through May.

Fast-food chains have long seen their breakfast menus as an invaluable and incremental revenue stream that can make an enormous difference in the bottom line. Wendy's recently launched a new menu of breakfast items, which was required significant investment in purchasing new foodstuffs, staff training, and keeping locations open longer. Since they launched their breakfast menu, Wendy's also saw a massive increase in online orders. McDonald's reacted to the breakfast food turf war that they welcomed Wendy's breakfast foray be doling out free Egg McMuffins.

But if you're the type who would prefer to still visit a restaurant right now—and you're planning on it soon—make sure you're aware of the Horrifying Mistakes Servers Have Seen at Reopened Restaurants.

 

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