Battle Breakfast

Fast-food companies are slavering over your a.m. bucks, says the Seattle Times in the story “Food-Industry Giants Compete Over Breakfast,” which starts with this interesting nugget:

When Starbucks customers began entering cafes clutching takeout bags stuffed with breakfast food, executives at the Seattle coffee giant took note.

‘When you have people walking in with a competitor’s bag, it tells you we have a need to fill,’ said Cheryl Garner, division food manager for the cafe chain’s regional headquarters in Huntington Beach, Calif.

McDonald’s thought the same thing a while back, and, in fact, that’s exactly why it improved its coffee, hoping to snag the folks who were stopping at both Starbucks and McD’s on the way to work. But turnabout is fair play, and Starbucks now has breakfast sandwiches on sale in 700 of its stores. Word is they’re actually kind of tasty, particularly the eggs Florentine. The baristas hate making them, because they stink up the stores and slow down service, but the sandwiches do contain actual food items such as eggs, spinach, and cheese, items that might not leave you with an acute attack of indigestion.

Speaking of indigestion, the Seattle Times article goes on to list some of the breakfasty items now being rolled out in fast-food stores. Most of the new offerings are just the same ol’ eggs/ham/bacon/cheese combos with different wrappers—biscuits, English muffins, tortilla shells, what have you—but Taco Bell, Burger King, and Wendy’s are trying out some more unusual items. Anyone up for a Guacamole Bacon Grilled Stuft Burrito? How’s about some of BK’s Cheesy Tots? Followed by two Tums and a seltzer, no doubt.

Why the sudden focus on breakfast? The chains are trying to eat McDonald’s lunch. Seems there are a lot of folks out there grabbing breakfast on the run. Putting two pieces of bread in a toaster at home is too much work in the morning? Really? Glass of milk and a banana slow you down too much? Somebody needs some advice from Timer!