McDonald's Offers Free Egg McMuffins Monday Amid Wendy's New Breakfast Launch

In a probably non-coincidental coincidence, McDonald's is offering customers free Egg McMuffins on Monday, March 2, the same day fast-food competitor Wendy's re-launched its breakfast menu nationwide. McDonald's declared March 2 "National Egg McMuffin Day" and offered customers a free Egg McMuffin from 6 to 10:30 a.m. Monday if they ordered through the mobile app. The Egg McMuffin is one of McDonald's breakfast staples and originally launched in 1971.

Monday's launch puts Wendy's in the breakfast game as the fast food giant hopes to compete with McDonald's in the breakfast market, which is a time slot seeing growing sales for fast food chains.

Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy told CNN Business that increasing the McDonald's app's user base is "key” and that Monday’s promotion could be an important tool to build customer loyalty. Hottovy added that the free McMuffins will keep McDonald’s "top of mind."

"It's more of a defensive move rather than an offensive move," he said.

Wendy's new breakfast menu features several items including the Breakfast Baconator, Frosty-ccino and Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit. The chain has been heavily promoting the launch, including several posts poking fun at McDonald's and the Egg McMuffin.

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Serving W’s for breakfast.

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Wendy's CFO Gunther Plosch told analysts on Wednesday that the chain plans to spend between $70 million to $80 million this year on advertising for breakfast. Wendy's also expects rivals to discount their own offerings amid the increased competition.

"We fully expect our competitors to start discounting," Wendy’s U.S. President and Chief Commercial Officer Kurt Kane said in an interview, via CNBC. "The good thing for us is that every discount they offer takes profitability out of their franchisees’ pockets and out of their own restaurants."

McDonald's recently promoted its breakfast offerings by offering 2 for $4 breakfast sandwiches for a limited time. It also added two chicken breakfast sandwiches to national menus to better stand against other competitors including Popeye's and Chick-fil-A. Other breakfast competitors include Dunkin', Panera and Taco Bell.

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"We have to win at breakfast," McDonald’s CEO Chris Kempczinski told analysts in late January. "There’s obviously a lot of focus and attention that we’re going to be putting on that in 2020."

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