KANSAS CITY — On the heels of a high-profile breakfast launch from Taco Bell comes a flurry of fast-food chains upping their a.m. game.

On March 27, Taco Bell unveiled a national breakfast platform starring the well-publicized Waffle Taco, which contains scrambled eggs, melted cheese and a sausage patty or bacon packed in a folded taco with a side of syrup. Items also include the A.M. Crunchwrap, featuring scrambled eggs, cheese, a hash brown and creamy jalapeño sauce with the choice of sausage, bacon or steak, wrapped in a flour tortilla and grilled flat. A.M. grilled tacos, a sausage flatbread melt, breakfast burritos and Cinnabon cinnamon roll bites round out the selections.

Taco Bell on March 27 rolled out its national breakfast platform, featuring the Waffle Taco.


Since Taco Bell’s breakfast debut, several chains have announced new or improved morning menus, including two taco chains.

Taco John’s is adding Boyer’s brand coffee in its more than 400 restaurants starting this spring. With a breakfast menu that includes an egg and potato scramble and four breakfast burritos, the chain said the day part has become its fastest growing, with nearly 20% sales growth at some locations, and hopes a premium coffee program helps hook more consumers.

“Coffee is an important factor when customers decide where they’re eating in the morning,” said Jeff Linville, chief executive officer of Taco John’s. “I think the addition of Boyer’s Coffee to our menu will bring new guests to Taco John’s for breakfast.”

Del Taco is adding value breakfast tacos.


Another taco chain, Del Taco, is expanding its morning menu with the addition of value tacos. Priced at 75c to $1.75, the tacos are made with grilled eggs, grated cheddar cheese and bacon, sausage or carne asada steak in a flour tortilla. Del Taco, which has 547 restaurants, has offered breakfast for more than 30 years with such items as breakfast quesadillas, 1/2-lb burritos, egg and cheese sandwiches and hash brown sticks. The chain also serves hot and iced coffee.

A trio of Belgian waffle sandwiches debuts from White Castle.


From White Castle, a trio of Belgian waffle sandwiches is set to debut. Varieties include sausage, egg and cheese; bacon, egg and cheese; and chicken and waffles, each sandwiched between a pair of Belgium-imported waffles. The Chicken and Waffles sandwich includes a crispy chicken breast and country-style gravy, while the other two sandwiches feature a cooked egg and American cheese with either sausage or bacon. The burger chain’s breakfast menu also has breakfast sliders, egg and cheese sandwiches on toast, hash brown bites and french toast sticks.

Manhattan Bagel has announced new premium breakfast items.


Manhattan Bagel, an Einstein Noah Restaurant Group brand, also recently announced new breakfast options, including the Scrambled Classic Croissant, which has scrambled eggs and thick-cut applewood-smoked bacon with American cheese on a croissant, and two wraps. The Omelet Wrap has scrambled eggs, ham and American cheese in a whole wheat tortilla, and the Ranchero Wrap contains scrambled eggs, applewood-smoked bacon, spicy salsa, Monterey Jack cheese and spicy cream cheese in a whole wheat tortilla.

Restaurant breakfast sales have increased 5% from 2012 and are projected to rise more than 5% in 2014 and 2015, said Packaged Facts, Rockville, Md. But fast food isn’t the only segment taking a bigger crack at breakfast. More retail options have rolled out recently, too.

Hormel Foods Corp. this week announced the addition of breakfast varieties to its Compleats line of microwave meals: bacon breakfast scramble, sausage breakfast scramble, roasted potatoes and sausage gravy, and apple cinnamon oatmeal. Hormel said it used special technology to include real eggs in the shelf-stable products.

“It took five years to innovate the technology necessary to have a great-tasting shelf-stable egg,” said Luis Marconi, vice-president of grocery products marketing at Hormel. “The process dramatically shortens the cooking time to make it possible to produce items with eggs and dairy that taste great.”