Taco Bell serves up breakfast

The home of the "Fourthmeal" tries to reinvent the first meal.
Written by Amy Kraft, Weekend Editor

Breakfast has become the most important meal of the day for the nation’s fast food chains. Since the decades-long success of McDonald’s Egg McMuffin, Burger King and Wendy’s have muscled their way into the morning market. Now, Taco Bell is trying to compete in the fast-food breakfast business.

The late-night Mexican-style food joint introduced a breakfast menu at nearly 800 restaurants in 10 Western states including California, Arizona and Colorado. FirstMeal, as it is called, has a selection of 11 menu items from brands such as Seattle’s Best Coffee, Cinnabon, Tropicana and Johnsonville.

Taco Bell, which has been known for staying open late (in some cases as early as 4 a.m.) will now be opening at 8 or 9 a.m. to serve up breakfast until 11 a.m. The signature item is a Sausage and Egg Wrap, with a variety of other items ranging in price from 99 cents to $2.79.

A majority of the fast food industry’s growth in recent years comes from the sale of breakfast items. So while there is a market for this kind of food, some wonder if other establishments have already cornered it.

Jeff Reeves reports for MSN Money:

"In 2010, Burger King completely revamped its menu to get into the a.m. action, with the new BK breakfast menu boasting an upscale cibatta sandwich. And Subway has been doing its darnedest to establish a breakfast following.

"Taco Bell's push may spark curiosity, but its very late entry makes it questionable whether sales will find traction. It's harder to lose money on breakfast, since eggs are much cheaper than beef and veggies these days, but that doesn't mean Taco Bell has found a cash cow."

Along with the move into morning meals, Taco Bell plans on expanding its regular menu to include more health-conscious options.

The fast-food restaurant is thinking outside of the bun to grow its customer base. We'll see if the new menu keeps sales strong.

Taco Bell to cook up breakfast burritos [MSN Money]

Photo: Taco Bell

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

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