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The coronavirus pandemic demolished breakfast sales at fast-food giants like McDonald's and Taco Bell

Mcdonalds breakfast
  • Breakfast sales at fast-food chains like McDonald's, Tim Hortons, and Taco Bell plummeted in the coronavirus pandemic, as customers stay home and morning routines are thrown out of wack. 
  • McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski said the company will be "aggressive" in growing breakfast sales, but that rebuilding the breakfast business will be a timely process. 
  • Meanwhile, PepsiCo said its breakfast business was booming as more people purchased Quaker products to eat at home, instead of getting breakfast on the go. 
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The coronavirus pandemic demolished breakfast sales for McDonald's and other fast-food chains, as customers' routines were disrupted and people around the world stayed home.
On Thursday, McDonald's reported that its breakfast sales fell more than business during other parts of the day during the pandemic. In March, McDonald's same-store sales dropped 13.4%, with executives saying sales were down 25% in the second half of the quarter as states put shelter-in-place orders into effect. 
Executives said that they expected breakfast sales to recover more slowly than the rest of McDonald's business, as the chain reopens international stores that shuttered and considers how to reopen dining rooms in the US.
CEO Chris Kempczinski said the company plans to be "aggressive" to rebuild breakfast sales.
"As we start to really get into the recovery phase, getting back that breakfast business is going to be critical for us," Kempczinski said on a call with investors on Thursday.
"It takes time," Kempczinski added. "It's a disruption to routines. Reestablishing those routines takes time"

Coronavirus decimated the breakfast battleground 

Wendy's chicken biscuit
Taco Bell's parent company Yum Brands also cited breakfast as a major loss during the coronavirus pandemic. Some Taco Bell locations across the US have stopped serving breakfast entirely, instead limiting hours to cut costs.
"The breakfast business is impacted when people aren't on the roads going to work," Yum CEO David Gibbs said on Wednesday. "They are not going through a drive-thru for breakfast as much."
On Friday, Restaurant Brands International said its chains' breakfast and snacks businesses had seen a "disproportionate decrease," contributing to Tim Hortons same-store sales decline of 10.3%.
Meanwhile, PepsiCo said its breakfast business was booming as more people purchased Quaker products to eat at home, instead of getting breakfast on the go.
"The number of families that have bought Quaker in the last six weeks has gone up a lot. ... There's one clear reason, right?" PepsiCo CEO Ramon Laguarta said on Tuesday. "People are cooking at home and therefore they're using the product more."
Before the coronavirus pandemic, breakfast was set to be the biggest battleground in fast food for 2020. Wendy's relaunched breakfast in February, after previous failed attempts. The menu was a massive hit, despite heavy competition, with sales increasing by 15% in the first week of March.
However, the coronavirus pandemic quickly erased the gains. In the week ending March 22, the most recent period that Wendy's has released information about, same-store sales were down 22%.
Wendy's said in a release in late March that it would "remove its incremental breakfast marketing spend investment in 2020 and support our franchise system in other ways."
"The Company and its franchisees remain fully committed to breakfast and as part of this plan we will continue to apply media pressure to this day part as we believe it will be beneficial to both breakfast and rest of day sales," the release said.
SEE ALSO: 'Traumatized' McDonald's franchisees face coronavirus sales slump, as some slam the company over 'anemic' response
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