Why So Many Fast Food Chains Are Suddenly Offering Breakfast Deals

If you like fast food and breakfast is your go-to indulgence — whether your treat of choice is an Egg McMuffin, a Croissan'wich, or a Breakfast Crunchwrap — those are some of the sales that fast food corporations value the most. According to NBC News, the morning is when chains can rake in a significant amount of cash: As Lauren Silberman, a restaurant analyst with Credit Suisse, told the outlet, "Breakfast is the most profitable part of the day." In addition, Credit Suisse found that diners who eat fast food breakfasts often make it a part of their everyday routine, meaning repeat business for the chains — and a reliable source of sales.

Since fast food chains value their breakfast clientele, it makes sense that those companies would want to hold on to them. But morning routines, as we all know, were turned upside down by the COVID-19 pandemic, when, at its outset, many office workers and others who work outside the home — and might be tempted to grab a quick bite on the way into work — started to stay home. According to a 2020 CNN Business article, this rocked the fast food industry, causing breakfast sales at chains such as Starbucks, Taco Bell, and Burger King to plummet.

But now, according to NBC News, more and more office workers are finally returning to work — and fast food chains are hoping to rope them in by offering some deep-discount deals on breakfast meals.

Fast food breakfast sales are recovering from 2020's slump

In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, staying home became a reality for many workers who previously commuted to their offices. This shift affected morning routines in so many ways — with one of them being that those who typically ate breakfast out were now making it at home. According to a CNN Business report from fall 2020, these changes hit fast food restaurants — and hard. Chains such as Taco Bell, Tim Hortons, and Starbucks suffered huge sales drops, with the latter seeing a 9% decrease in the third quarter of that year.

Over time, as more and more workers have returned to their offices, those sales have picked up once again, according to NBC News. In fact, the outlet reports, breakfast sales at fast food restaurants have actually recovered faster than at other hours of the day, with Lauren Silberman, a restaurant analyst with Credit Suisse, telling NBC News, "It's actually surprising how strong the breakfast performance has been."

Chains are doubling down on deals to keep breakfast customers

With breakfast items representing an important source of profit for fast food chains, several have been offering enticing discounts in the morning hours in order to keep those customers coming back. Taco Bell, 7-Eleven, and Wawa, for example, have placed emphasis on economic breakfast sandwiches, two-for-one deals, and sales on coffee drinks, NBC News reported on May 20.

Meanwhile, larger chains are focusing on technology in order to make the dining experience more streamlined for their customers, moving a lot of exclusive deals over to their branded apps. Fast food giant McDonald's, for example, offers a breakfast coffee, hot or iced, of any size for 99 cents — but the java has to be ordered through their app to get the special price. Offering deals through their apps is a win-win for the chains, as they use all the user preference data that's generated in order to come up with even more targeted and enticing deals to offer their customers.

So if you love fast food breakfasts, check out your local chains — and their apps — to see where you can save some dough.