It used to be a chicken sandwich. Now, it’s the French toast stick.
The French toast stick is one weapon in fast food’s breakfast arsenal.
The French Toast Stick War
Burger King first offered us French toast sticks in 1985 while Wendy’s had its stick launch during August 2022. Other fast-food places for French toast sticks include Jack in the box and Sonic. Also, we can include Dunkin’, McDonald’s, and Roy Rogers.
Whereas (below) the Visual Capitalist divided fast food establishments by what they mostly sell, French toast sticks sometimes cross those lines. In addition, size illustrates U.S. sales and rank:
Like the Washington Post food reporter told us, a Wendy’s French toast stick lacks sufficient taste and crunch. Still, after its introduction, it accelerated the chain’s breakfast sales:
Axios tells us that, post pandemic, we are trying to spend less money on meals and picking up “portable handhelds.” They reported that 77 percent of Gen Z adults and 66 percent of millennials pick up fast food breakfasts one to three times a month. As a cheap indulgence, the French toast stick is an attractive alternative.
In a monopolistically competitive market, it all makes sense. Telling us what is special about their breakfast menu is precisely what Burger King, Wendy’s, and other fast-food establishments have to do.
Our Bottom Line: Monopolistic Competition
Monopolistic competition is composed of two halves. The monopoly part indicates the company is producing something unique that you associate solely with it. But the competition half says that lots of others have something that could be identical or very similar. A beauty salon is the perfect example. You can get a haircut at many hundreds of shops. But the one person who does your hair is what makes the place unique.
Because we can say the same thing for breakfast on the way to work, you can see why there is a war among the big chains. Each is trying to offer us the same and yet different items that range from the French toast stick to breakfast burritos, and English muffin sandwiches to breakfast tots.
In the four basic market structures, monopolistic competition is located to the left on the scale. Its position indicates less price and non-price power than those firms located to right.
Fighting breakfast wars in monopolistically competitive markets, fast food establishments try to lure us with unique items.
My sources and more: Somehow, I stumbled upon Foodservice and learned about the growing popularity of French toast sticks. From there, reading that BK and Wendy’s were at war, I checked out the reviews and the results. Then, for the bigger fast food picture, Statista and Zippia had more as did Mashed.
Our featured image is from The Washington Post. Also please note that several sentences in “Our Bottom Line” was in a previous econlife post.