Fast food companies from Taco Bell to McDonald's are adding new breakfast items.
The category is thriving even as overall fast food sales decline.
U.S. restaurant traffic during the breakfast hours increased 3% in 2013 compared to the prior year, according to a study by NPD group. Yet traffic declined by 1% during the lunch and dinner hours.
There's a simple reason why fast food breakfast is so popular, NPD analyst Bonnie Riggs tells QSR Magazine.
"It’s the cheapest meal you can get at a restaurant outside of a snack," Riggs said.
The cheap price of breakfast is extremely important to cash-strapped consumers. They're more likely to shell out $4 for an Egg McMuffin and coffee than $8 for a lunchtime meal.
Until now, McDonald's and Burger King have been the only major players at breakfast, Riggs told QSR.
The fight for market share will intensify this year. Taco Bell launches its breakfast menu later this month, while Dunkin' Donuts is expanding and adding new products.
Meanwhile, McDonald's has announced that it is working to offer cheaper items for lunch and dinner as well.
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