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COVID-19

With commuting down, fast-food breakfast sales have slowed

Justin Ho Jun 11, 2020
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The largest share of Starbucks sales happen during the morning commute, but competition over breakfast sales has all but evaporated. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
COVID-19

With commuting down, fast-food breakfast sales have slowed

Justin Ho Jun 11, 2020
Heard on:
The largest share of Starbucks sales happen during the morning commute, but competition over breakfast sales has all but evaporated. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
HTML EMBED:
COPY

This week, Starbucks said the coronavirus pandemic will take an estimated $3 billion toll on its sales this quarter. Fewer people are walking into a Starbucks to get coffee, with the safety concerns and stay-at-home orders.

But Starbucks also makes a lot of money selling people breakfast along with their coffee. And with fewer people commuting these days, that revenue is drying up.

Up until the crisis, breakfast had been a battleground for chains like Starbucks, McDonald’s and Wendy’s.

Darren Tristano, CEO of Foodservice Results, said Starbucks’ strategy has been to offer more breakfast items, like sandwiches and baked goods, “in order to raise the check average and to give their customers more reasons to come in.”

Tristano said the largest share of Starbucks sales happen during the morning commute.

But as restaurants have adapted to the pandemic by offering more takeout and delivery, people have been mostly ordering like that for lunch and dinner, said David Henkes at Technomic.

“Breakfast has really been one of the casualties of this whole pandemic,” Henkes said.

He said the competition for breakfast dollars has all but evaporated. The new battleground is convenience.

“Any restaurant chain that’s had a drive-through or delivery system in place has held up better than others,” Henkes said.

He said that’s why Starbucks is investing more in pick-up-only locations.

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