I pulled into Wendy's
"To Our Breakfast Customers," began the note that accompanied my meal. It continued:
This Wendy's restaurant has been serving Breakfast as part of a test program. We appreciate your visits and hope you have enjoyed our Breakfast menu. However, effective September 8, 2009 we will discontinue participation in the breakfast test in order to focus on our lunch, dinner, snack and late night business.
A burger coupon was attached to the note.
I realize that this is just one location, but there are probably others following suit. Either way, it's not the scope of the retreat that matters as much as the point that this is a retreat. If a company wants to roll out a nationwide breakfast menu, it needs to get everyone involved. The moment uncertainty creeps in and folks begin driving through dormant pickup windows, participating restaurants -- and the brand itself -- take a hit.
The breakfast war seemed like it was going to heat up two years ago. Starbucks
The industry responded. Fast-food giant Burger King
The newcomers have proved to be feeble. Wendy's has yet to complete the national rollout of its breakfast menu, at least in terms of complete franchisee participation. Starbucks has tackled complaints on its breakfast sandwiches after the scent of warmed meats, eggs, and cheeses clashed with the aromatic splendor of java.
Starbucks isn't giving in, though. It's just enhancing its morning menu with less scent-altering options, such as oatmeal, fruits, hardboiled eggs, and fruit pastries.
Either way, this wakey-wakey free-for-all has been much ado about muffins. Is that the battle we were promised? Could the timing of drive-through morning convenience come at a worse time, when gas prices are at a premium?
This isn't a war. It's barely a skirmish. Wake me up when the real battle begins.
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Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz enjoyed his grande burrito. He owns no shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story, save for Jamba. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.