DALLAS -- From chicken sausage to flatbreads, quick-serve restaurants (QSRs) are turning up the heat on breakfast as convenience stores vie for their bite of an increasingly competitive opportunity, according to a panelist at CSP's Convenience Retailing University (CRU) conference.
Innovation is one of the key strategies convenience-store operators need to employ when developing tactics for their breakfast programs, said Donna Hood Crecca, associate principal for Technomic, Chicago. Taste and convenience continue to be top issues for consumers, according to Technomic studies, and the need to differentiate from the myriad of breakfast alternatives puts pressure on retailers to constantly develop new offers.
"Innovation is crucial," Crecca told a workshop audience of about 40 conference attendees. "QSRs are doing it all the time and they are winning."
Recent developments include the following:
- Burger King offering hash brown burritos.
- Taco Bell with its "quesalupa" and breakfast bowls.
- Arby's using a broad sweep with its flatbread options, smoked brisket and ham-and-cheese sliders.
- Dunkin' Donuts and its chicken sausage and reduced-fat cheddar.
- McDonald's trying a chicken patty in its McGriddle sandwich.
- Tim Hortons and its lemon-blueberry Greek yogurt muffins.
That's not to say all convenience stores are keeping their eggs in one basket. Salt Lake City-based Maverik is doing a breakfast version of their "son of a beast" sandwich. Dallas-based 7-Eleven has its egg-white sandwich offer. Tulsa, Okla.-based QuikTrip has a breakfast kolache and Ankeny, Iowa-based Casey's General Stores is building on its pizza business with a breakfast pizza.
Follow CRU 2016 at #ConvenienceRetailing.