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//Taco Bell to take on McDonald's breakfast with eggs in waffles//
By Leslie Patton
(c) 2014, Bloomberg News.
Americans will soon be able to get their morning eggs wrapped in a waffle taco.
Yum Brands' Taco Bell chain will introduce breakfast foods such as waffle tacos, egg burritos and the bacon A.M. Crunchwrap nationwide on March 27. The move expands on a trial run that began in some locations in 2012, bringing a breakfast menu to 5,500 of Taco Bell's more than 5,700 U.S. restaurants.
In pursuing morning diners, the chain is going up against McDonald's, the maker of the Egg McMuffin and the industry's top breakfast seller, said Bob Goldin, an executive vice president at Chicago-based industry research firm Technomic. McDonald's accounts for 31 percent of all fast-food sales in the morning, according to Technomic data.
"No one has come up with an Egg McMuffin killer," Goldin said in an interview. "It's an iconic product; it's hard to compete against."
For Taco Bell and other chains, breakfast represents a bright spot in an industry battered by competition and slumping consumer confidence. At fast-food and fast-casual restaurants, revenue from breakfast items grew 4.8 percent annually on average from 2007 to 2012, climbing to $31.7 billion, according to Technomic. That outpaced total sales growth of about 2.5 percent a year during that time.
As chains struggle to attract diners and boost same-stores sales, McDonald's and Burger King Worldwide have said they're focused on improving and advertising their morning menus. Starbucks also plans to revamp its breakfast sandwiches next month.
Taco Bell began testing breakfast foods in some locations about two years ago, offering items such as scrambled egg- stuffed waffles. Taco Bell's test items, which will now be offered nationally, include the $2.49 bacon A.M. Crunchwrap, which packs 650 calories, and a $1.79 coffee. That's pricier than the fare at McDonald's, which sells sausage burritos, sausage biscuits and cups of coffee for $1 each in its 14,100 U.S. restaurants.
Most Americans aren't willing to spend more than $3 on a fast-food breakfast, Goldin said. It's hard to challenge McDonald's, where "you can get breakfast really cheap."
Past attempts at selling breakfast food haven't gone well. Wendy's tested morning foods such as home-style potatoes and chicken biscuits in certain U.S. markets from 2010 to 2012. The company said last year that it was discontinuing breakfast because it wasn't satisfied with its financial performance.
Shares of Louisville, Ky.-based Yum, which also owns KFC and Pizza Hut, have decreased 3.7 percent this year through the close of trading last week. McDonald's, based in Oak Brook, Ill., is little changed this year, while Burger King has gained 14 percent.
Like Taco Bell, Burger King is trying to boost sales by appealing to consumers in the morning. In January, the Miami- based company gave away free cups of Seattle's Best coffee when customers bought one of their 18 different breakfast sandwiches. They also sell French toast sticks, sausage burritos and fruit smoothies.
"Breakfast is an opportunity," Alexandre Macedo, president of Burger King's North American unit, said during an earnings call earlier this month. "We started to work in breakfast in January, and we expect to continue to do that by the end of the year."
Burger King posted a 0.2 percent fourth-quarter gain in same-store sales in the U.S. and Canada, a better performance than McDonald's and Yum, which both reported declines.
"Doing breakfast right is very difficult," said Gary Stibel, founder and chief executive officer of the Norwalk, Conn.-based New England Consulting Group, which has advised restaurants such as McDonald's and Taco Bell in the past. It's not just about the menu, he said. Speed is critical.
"You've got to be able to get people in and out," he said.
Edmond, Norman plan teacher job fairs
Edmond and Norman public schools have teacher job fairs planned beginning March 25.
Prospective teachers for the Edmond Public Schools should make plans to attend the district’s Teacher Job Fair from 3:30-5:30 p.m. March 25-26 at the administrative headquarters, 1001 W. Danforth in Edmond.
Saxum awards $155K in service grants
Saxum, an integrated marketing communications agency offering public relations, advertising and digital services, recently selected five nonprofit organizations in Oklahoma to receive grants totaling $155,000 in pro-bono services. These grants are a part of Saxum’s Step Up program, which is in its fifth year.
Panera guests have opportunity to help feed children
This Friday, Panera Bread is once again partnering with the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma.
Through Panera Bread’s monthly fundraiser, 2nd Friday, Panera will make a donation to the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma’s Food for Kids Backpack Program. Since 2012, Panera Bread has raised more than $30,200 through promotions, which sponsored 151 children in the Food for Kids Backpack program.
New YMCA celebrated
The Edmond YMCA at Mitch Park, at 2901 Marilyn Williams Drive, recently had a ribbon cutting in conjunction with Edmond Public Schools and the City of Edmond to celebrate the grand opening of the new facility. Featuring state-of-the-art equipment, leisure pools and a variety of classes, the new structure also houses a competition pool that is owned by Edmond Public Schools and dedicated to their use by high school swim teams. For more information, call 330-4016 or visit www.ymcaokc.org.
Kimray announces relocation of Oklahoma City headquarters
Kimray Inc., a manufacturer of oil and gas control equipment, recently announced its intentions to relocate its Oklahoma City headquarters. The company plans to move to a 136-acre property on the northwest corner of Eastern Avenue and Britton Road. The company initially plans to develop about 30-35 acres of the property. The relocation will allow for decades of future growth and will improve the efficiency of Kimray’s operations.
Coolgreens to temporarily close downtown location
Coolgreens, a healthy alternative to casual dining offering fresh salads, wraps, flatbread pizzas and homemade soups, recently announced the temporary closing of its downtown City Place location at 204 N. Robinson March 1. The downtown store is slated to reopen in January 2015 with new morning hours and menu options, including breakfast items and a juice bar.
Local state representative wins technology award
Oklahoma state Rep. Jason Murphey, R-Guthrie, has been designated as one of Government Technology magazine’s top 25 Doers, Dreamers and Drivers for his work to apply innovation and technology in Oklahoma state government. Since 2002, Government Technology has honored those individuals who have transformed the public sector through the smart use of technology.
Heartland Payment Systems breaks new ground in city
Heartland Payment Systems executives were joined by Edmond City Council members for a groundbreaking ceremony Friday at the site of the new Heartland Payment Systems’ 22,000-square-foot facility.
Heartland Payment Systems, one of the nation’s largest payment processors and a leading provider of merchant business solutions, celebrated the start of construction at the site in Edmond on South Boulevard.
Flourish delivers care from new state-of-the-art facility
In business since 2004, as part of its ongoing efforts to offer Oklahomans a premier healthcare experience in a caring environment, Flourish Pharmacy & Nutrition has opened the doors on a new, state-of-the-art facility on North Pennsylvania Avenue, just north of Memorial Road.
Flourish president and CEO Jerrod Roberts says the new facility is part of alleviating pain and suffering with unique pharmacy care practice on the cutting edge of technology.
One of the new facility’s hallmarks is the state-of-the-art compounding lab for preparing custom prescriptions. Flourish is the first and only Oklahoma compounding pharmacy to achieve accreditation by PCAB (Pharmacy Compounding Accreditation Board), a certification that ensures best practices for the quality and safety of compounded prescriptions.
Patton moves east for new corrections gig
In Robert C. Patton, Oklahoma is getting a new corrections director from Arizona who is more than willing to use private prisons as a means to deal with inmate overcrowding.
“I’m a (prison) bed manager. I’ll tell the policy makers I need beds, and if I can convince them that I need beds, then it’s their jobs on whether it’s public or private,” said Patton, whose first day as Oklahoma Corrections Department director began Tuesday.
Patton’s position on private prisons is far different than that of Jones, the former director who resigned in October following clashes with elected officials who wanted to put more inmates in private facilities.
The Oklahoma Board of Corrections last month approved a measure that allows the state to seek proposals from private prison companies to provide an additional 350 to 2,000 medium-security beds for state inmates.
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