It's a war of inexpensive coffee and breakfast meals at the drive-through window. And neither side is letting up — the meal you have to start the day might matter even more to the people making it for you than it does to your own tastebuds. After years of coexisting, some McDonald's and Taco Bell franchises are feuding over whose breakfast is best. To counter Taco Bell's breakfast initiative, which includes the invention of the Waffle and Biscuit Tacos, a few Pennsylvania branches of McDonald's are offering a free Egg McMuffin to customers who walk in with a Taco Bell receipt.
That's right — you can be compensated for your purchase with a second meal, while being reminded where you might want to be getting your breakfast to go. The promotion is limited to Northern Pennsylvania and only runs through April 17, but the message is clear: McDonald's will not be outdone. It's even considering making breakfast an all-day event with extended breakfast hours starting in April.
You might wonder what has motivated this change all of a sudden. As sales are down, the company is looking to make more competitive strides against fellow fast food chains. Breakfast is the key, especially for millennials. McDonald's is looking to pique the interest of young consumers, the demographic that polls show is particularly interested in maximizing breakfast.
Taco Bell's advertising campaign against McDonald's seems to have done the trick and roused pushback in some areas. Watching Taco Bell's ad, which paints their fast food rival as a fascist, Orwellian breakfast dictator, I thought it was actually a new teen dystopia movie.
Taco Bell CEO David Novak told Quick Service Restaurant News:
It killed me for years driving by all those McDonald’s that are full before we even opened our doors.
The rivalry between franchises of these two chains is particularly lively. But this conflict, while it has spurred the creation of some great marketing strategies, isn't helping the big picture. In the long run, we all love breakfast. Workers and customers from both companies know it's the most important meal of the day, and they go out of their way to get the best (and fastest). So why don't these two super-giants combine forces to create a quick breakfast that can't be beat? Here are five suggestions for new and improved McTaco recipes that will satisfy anyone's early morning cravings.
I usually find it productive to follow Homer Simpson's creative impulses, especially when it comes to breakfast innovations — moon waffles, anyone? The way he bends the rules to create a more satisfying and unique product is inspiring, and Taco Bell and McDonald's would do well to take note of his go-getter attitude. The first step? Reconciling their differences through a mutual appreciation of bacon. Even if bacon isn't very traditionally Mexican, Taco Bell is all about mixing tastes for the best possible outcome, so they should pair with McD's to make breakfast more bacon-y for everyone.
The number one menu item lacking from both of these usually-forward-thinking establishments has to be the best breakfast food of all time: pancakes. How can one even claim to serve breakfast if there are no flapjacks involved?
Bacon Pancakes and Tacos
Since this idea was shown on TV, that means it's a good idea. If you really need rationale to understand that bacon pancakes a revolutionary concept that should be taken seriously by breakfast-makers everywhere, think about this: They combine the two best things about breakfast in one easy and portable snack. How can Mickey D's and Taco Bell harness this genius for their own corporate profit and their customers' satisfaction? One idea: Morph the bacon pancake into a bacon taco, and voila — breakfast is served.
As anyone who has ever eaten a waffle or seen a single episode of Parks and Recreation knows, nothing beats a good waffle when you really need one. They go with everything: peanut butter and jelly, ice cream, fruit, classic butter and maple syrup, and — as Taco Bell recently taught us — eggs and sausage. Heck, they're probably even good with Sriracha. So here's an idea for McTaco's breakfast merger: Why doesn't Taco Bell pair their waffle technology with the Egg McMuffin's classically handy-dandy format and create a waffle sandwich? A McWaffle, perhaps. Who wouldn't want that?
I can't believe no one has capitalized on this opportunity yet. Sure, Burger King just brought back their chicken fries, but wouldn't it be wise for two of BK's rivals to team up and create a fry variety — a va-fryety, if you will — that no one can resist for breakfast, lunch, or dinner? I'm thinking a more portable, finger-food-friendly version of McDonald's hash browns, which can be hard to scarf down if you're trying to eat fried potatoes in a rush. Then there's always the pesky fact of the fry container once you've finished your snack. Now you have to go look for a trash can, and you'll be late for your meeting. What's the perfect natural vessel for fries? Why, a taco, of course! If Taco Bell and McDonald's teamed up to make a selection of breakfast fries — perhaps with different spices, flavors, and sauces — with corresponding taco fry carriers, who knows what could happen?
Images: Getty Images (1); Giphy (8)