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Hardee’s, Steak ’n Shake Expanding Breakfast Menus

Having already scored well with the Chicken Tender Wrappers it added in December 2010, Hardee’s this week begins wrapping up breakfast as well.

The chain’s new Breakfast Wraps are offered in two varieties: a Bacon Egg ‘N’ Cheddar Wrap (at left) with egg, two bacon strips and Cheddar cheese sauce; and a Sausage Egg ‘N’ Gravy Wrap (at right) with egg, two sausage patties and sausage gravy. Both bundle the goods in soft four tortillas. Introductory pricing is set at $1.59 each or two for $2.50. Combo prices are $3.29 for a single, $4.20 for a double (though prices may vary).

Hardee’s scratch-made buttermilk biscuits long have been the centerpieces for its strong breakfast business, which accounts for 45% of its $1.117 million average annual unit sales. But with Wendy’s, Taco Bell and likely others coming into the daypart, chains are moving quickly to protect their morning business. As outlined on this site last month, NPD Group data shows breakfast accounting for 92% of all quick-service traffic growth over the past five years. NPD says breakfast represents 21% of QSR customer transactions.

Steak ’n Shake is readying new menu items for introduction next week (May 2) that bolster not only breakfast but lunch/dinner as well. In the mornings, the chain will target the value-menu crowd with a new line of Breakfast Tacos for just 99¢ each. These include a traditional sausage, egg and cheese taco as well as one with egg and hash browns.

Steak ’n Shake introduced a broad, new breakfast menu a year ago. Offerings include $3.99 All-You-Can-Eat Pancakes and a $3.79 “Panwich” with eggs and sausage between two pancakes. Those are tough to enjoy while driving, however, as many breakfast eaters are doing. Breakfast Tacos give Steak ’n Shake an option that are budget-priced and portable to compete with the likes of Hardee’s new wraps, McDonald’s iconic McMuffins and all the other breakfast-to-go products.

Steak ‘n Shake expanded breakfast a year ago.

Other NPD data recently glossed on this site reveals that few (21% of breakfast paartakers) have a full meal such as pancakes in the mornings. For 24% of breakfast eaters it’s a small meal (like a wrap); for many (43%) breakfast is just coffee or another beverage and no food. Those folks who now just sip breakfast are the real sales opportunity for Steak ‘n Shake and others.

A sculptor signifies Steak 'n Shake prices "set in stone" for the year.

Steak ’n Shake isn’t forsaking burgers, bless its heart. Word is that a $4.99 Jalapeňo Crunch Steakburger and a $5.99 chicken version (prices include fries) also will join the menu, along with a new four-item line of Fresh Banana Shakes.

By the way, those breakfast prices won’t change this year. Steak ’n Shake has launched a new TV commercial (left) declaring its menu is “set in stone.” Sardar Biglari, the bold CEO of parent Biglari Holdings, announced intentions to freeze prices at Steak ’n Shake in January.

“Steak ’n Shake has an extremely strong value proposition that resonates with consumers,” Biglari said then. “During 2012, we have no intention of raising menu prices, especially because we are attempting to insulate our customers from inflation while continuing to provide the finest in burgers and shakes.” He’s not backing away from that stand, though no other major chain is confident enough to take the same pledge.

[Finally, well worth checking out is Hardee’s/Carl’s Jr.’s “Stars for Heroes” program that benefits military families and communities. Through May 13, customers who donate $1 get more than $10 in restaurant coupons. To learn more, visit the “Stars for Heroes” Facebook page.]

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