Breakfast has long been a crowded space among fast-food chain competitors. As restaurants continue to duke it out, a new opponent is finally entering the ring with some tantalizing offerings that may just unseat the McMuffin.
On Monday, Wendy's announced that by 2020, it will be launching breakfast nationwide. New menu items include the Breakfast Baconator, the Frosty-ccino (a Frosty cappuccino) and the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit.
"Launching breakfast in our U.S. restaurants nationwide provides incredible growth opportunities," said Todd Penegor, Wendy's president and CEO, in a statement to media. "We are well-positioned to pursue it. We believe we have the right team and structure in place, and we put Wendy's fan favorites on our breakfast menu to set us apart from the competition."
The Breakfast Baconator, a spin on Wendy's Baconator burger, is made with an egg, six strips of Applewood smoked bacon, one breakfast sausage patty (it will be square, of course) and two slices of American cheese, all topped with a Swiss cheese hollandaise.
The chain's Frosty-ccino combines cold brew coffee with either chocolate or vanilla Frosty cream.
Wendy's Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit features a buttermilk biscuit base, topped with a fried chicken breast that's been slathered with whipped honey butter.
Other menu items will include Seasoned Potatoes and croissant sandwiches, but Wendy's isn't planning to release more details until early October.
This isn't the first time Wendy's has attempted breakfast.
In the 1980s, the chain rolled out a breakfast menu that included items such as made-to-order omelets, French toast and toasted sandwiches. But the dishes were too time consuming for workers to make and the menu was ultimately discontinued.
Still, breakfast remains a popular front in the fast food wars, and has been tested in some capacity at various Wendy’s locations for years. In 2013, the chain tried again, briefly rolling out a breakfast value menu featuring dishes like sausage biscuits and breakfast burritos.
Wendy’s breakfast is currently served at about 300 restaurants, including those in airports, but the new plan will see that expand to 6,000 U.S. locations in 2020. Since many locations currently don’t open until late morning, the chain plans to hire as many as 20,000 new crew members over the next year.
McDonald’s, which has around 13,000 locations nationwide, will still have access to the lion’s share of fast-food breakfast seekers, but Wendy’s is looking to take a big bite out of that market with a $20 million investment that will allow its stores to open earlier when the new menu launches.