McDonald's Intros Breakfast Burrito, Supporting Advertisements

Thirty years after introducing the Egg McMuffin--and the idea of a fast-food breakfast--to America, McDonald's is launching a new breakfast burrito product to maintain its position as a leader in an increasingly crowded morning daypart.

"The daypart represents over 24% of our sales and over 28% of our transactions, and we think we can grow this daypart even more," said Jan Fields, the company's U.S. COO, during a webcast roundtable on Tuesday. The segment has grown 42% since 2002, she said, although she would not provide specific numbers.

The burrito, which will be nationally available, is the first new breakfast menu item since the introduction of the McGriddle in 2003. Priced at $2.49, the new product combines eggs, potatoes, sausage, roasted peppers and salsa in a tortilla wrap.

"This is a high-quality burrito, and our creative in television, print, radio and in our restaurants is going to show that it's a great-tasting, convenient product," said Bill Lamar, U.S. CMO for McDonald's during the webcast.



Creative, which broke nationally Tuesday night, takes three different tacks. One television commercial showcases the product ingredients via stop-motion animation and jaunty music. The theme for that spot is: "What we're made of." A second spot shows people carrying packages with surprises inside (such as a backpack carrying a dog), with a voiceover saying: "There's always something good inside. You just have to know where to find it."

A third television commercial takes place in an apartment where a young man is about to head off for work. A roommate stops him, saying his girlfriend has made them all a big breakfast, featuring eggs, potatoes and sausage. The young worker, hesitant to stop, wraps all the ingredients into the tablecloth.

The restaurant chain will also offer product sampling during November and in February "right around the leap-year time," Lamar said.

Having been introduced 30 years ago, the breakfast segment has shown increasing competition in recent years. All of McDonald's major competitors, from Burger King to Wendy's to Sonic Drive-Ins, have breakfast menus. "A lot of fast-food companies are making a big push with breakfast. It's the fastest-growing day part," Morningstar equity analyst John Owens tells Marketing Daily. "[McDonald's] is trying to push new products out there to bring in more traffic."

Nevertheless, the segment continues to be the most profitable daypart for McDonald's, Fields said. She said it provided a greater percentage of the company's profits than the other dayparts--although, again, she would not provide specifics. However, the company is not intending to move to making its breakfast menu available all day.

"Right now, we're excited with the menu opportunities we have throughout the day," Fields said.

Moving forward, the company is looking to become a "beverage destination" after having introduced a reformulated coffee last year, and sweetened teas in some markets this year, Fields said. She said there were new beverage products on the way, encouraging interested observers to "stay tuned."

In other company news, McDonald's is inviting people from around the world to go online at until Dec. 10 and help choose the global finalists for the second Voice of McDonald's singing competition.

More than 3,600 McDonald's crew and managers from 53 countries stepped up to the microphone for the first round of competition, and the top 35 contestants have been selected as semifinalists who now appear for online voting.

Finalists will compete for a chance to win the $25,000 grand prize and be named the next Voice of McDonald's.

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