The pandemic is sinking one of the fast-food industry’s biggest bets: breakfast.

Once the best hope for increasing sales, mornings are now the slowest time of day at fast-food restaurants, as many Americans work and attend school from home. Even as fast-food sales have recovered in recent weeks from the early months of the coronavirus pandemic, breakfast has trailed behind.

Breakfast-dependent chains including Dine Brands Global Inc.’s DIN 2.88% IHOP and Dunkin’ Brands Group Inc. DNKN 0.15% are closing hundreds of restaurantsMcDonald’s Corp. MCD -0.89% and Restaurant Brands International Inc.’s Burger King have said sales of breakfast items remain weak. The operator of Friendly’s, an East Coast diner chain, has filed for bankruptcy protection.

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