Breakfast: the next frontier for the chicken sandwich wars

McDonald’s recently added two new limited-time chicken sandwiches, a McChicken Biscuit and a Chicken McGriddles Sandwich, to their breakfast menu. The move is the quick service chain’s latest bid to compete with rival brand Chick-fil-A, experts say.

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Quick service chain McDonald’s has added two chicken sandwiches to its breakfast lineup (McDonald’s).
Quick service chain McDonald’s has added two chicken sandwiches to its breakfast lineup (McDonald’s).

McDonald’s recently added two new limited-time chicken sandwiches, a McChicken Biscuit and a Chicken McGriddles Sandwich, to their breakfast menu. The move is the quick service chain’s latest bid to compete with rival brand Chick-fil-A, experts say.

Earlier this year, McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski called breakfast a priority for the brand, stating that “It starts with breakfast. Breakfast is the only daypart in the industry that’s seeing traffic growth. We have to win at breakfast.”

The McChicken Biscuit is made with a crispy chicken fillet and a biscuit, while the Chicken McGriddles features the chicken fillet between two maple griddle cakes.

The items are being offered nationwide after successful tests in several markets across the U.S.

“With the nationwide launch of the Chicken McGriddles and McChicken Biscuit sandwiches, we’re giving our customers more of what they crave: mouthwatering chicken and breakfast options,” McDonald’s Vice President of Menu Innovation Linda VanGosen said in a statement. “McDonald’s is committed to remaining a leader in the quick-service breakfast category through our delicious offerings, consistent menu innovation, and a faster drive-thru experience.”

Under pressure

McDonald’s has long dominated the breakfast category among quick service chains, with a market share of more than 25%. However, the brand is facing a lot of pressure from rivals, Chick-fil-A and Wendy’s.

In a recent survey by Kalinowski Equity Media, 90% of McDonald’s U.S. franchisees surveyed said Chick-fil-A is the chain’s biggest threat. Last July, a group of McDonald’s franchise owners called chicken sandwiches a top priority for the brand in order to better compete with rival quick service chains.

In addition, Wendy’s recently announced that they would start serving breakfast nationwide on March 2. Menu items include croissant and biscuit sandwiches made with fried chicken, bacon, eggs and sausage. The Wendy’s Twitter account has even taken aim at McDonald’s breakfast, stating that there would soon “be something worth waking up for.”

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