Thursday, March 28, 2019

(Retail) Questions Americans Want Answered: "Will Subscription Coffee Carry The Breakfast Wars?"

Breakfast, we have been told since time immemorial, is the most important meal of the day. But it’s not because medical science has told us so. There have been dueling studies over the last several decades about whether breakfast is good, bad or indifferent for consumer health – and the jury is mostly still out.

A piece of fruit at the start of the day definitely won’t hurt anyone, and a three-course meal of bacon, Lucky Charms and donuts is definitely not a good way to start the day – but between those two extremes is a lot of grey area.

The reason breakfast is widely considered the most important meal of the day, however, is instructive to modern commerce. The phrase first appeared in a radio advertising campaign run in the 1940s by Grape Nuts cereal maker General Foods.

“Nutrition experts say breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” said the ad, and the mnemonic power of the phrase stuck in the American consciousness.

Stuck so hard, in fact, that these days the war for breakfast is among the bigger races in the food business. Americans are wired to eat at least something in the morning – every weekday, 135 million people in the U.S. get behind the wheel and drive 51 minutes, round trip, to and from work. Those commuters, according to the PYMNTS Digital Drive Report, spend about $230 billion a year in commuter-inspired purchases.

It’s a big market capture, and the rapid proliferation of ordering food online and picking it up at the drive thru/counter is a testament to how committed merchants – particularly QSR merchants – are to capturing that consumer spend as it drives by each morning.

But last week, Burger King upped the ante on the war of breakfast dominance, and added an additional sweetener. Instead of paying a dollar or two a day for coffee on the ride to work – netting out $20 a month – Burger King wants customers to get their morning Java on subscription for $5 a month. The consumer then has a reason to see everything else on the BK breakfast menu....MUCH MORE