This week, I reached out for a Breakfast Baconator, one of the greatest names in drive-thru history, and headline-grabber on the new breakfast lineup at Wendy's, the square burger folks, with 6,500 restaurants across the U.S., and Guam — but not America Samoa.
Fun fact: there are 419 Wendy's in Texas, second only to 520 Wendy's in Florida.
Wendy's entered the fast food breakfast wars earlier this month, billing its morning fare as "America's Favorite Breakfast." I guess you can say anything — it's a free country (for now). Back in reality, McDonald's leads the breakfast bunch by a wide, wide margin. We love us some Egg McMuffins.
If you think McDonald's is going to sit back and let Wendy's waltz onto the breakfast scene, you don't know Ronald. McDonald's is offering two morning sandwiches for $4, which happens to be the price of one Breakfast Baconator. It's not a coincidence.
Here's the Breakfast Baconator breakdown: a grilled sausage patty, two slices of American cheese, six strips of Applewood-smoked bacon, a freshly cooked egg, and Swiss cheese sauce on a soft breakfast bun.
Total calories: 730. Fat grams: 50. Sodium: 1,750 mg. Carbs: 36 g. Dietary fiber: 1 g. Protein: 34 g. Manufacturer's suggested retail price: $3.99. Not cheap, but this is a massive sandwich on your way to work. It may hold you all the way to dinner.
Wendy's went whole hog with its new breakfast lineup, with a dozen options, including a Maple Bacon Chicken Croissant, Classic Bacon, Egg & Cheese Sandwich, Honey Butter Biscuit Biscuit, Sausage, Egg & Cheese Burrito, Oatmeal Bar, Breakfast Potatoes, and Frosty-ccino.
But clearly the spotlight falls on the Breakfast Baconator, even if it's just because it's fun to say, especially in your best outdated Arnold Schwarzenegger voice. It's more fun to eat, however.
Big points to Wendy's for using freshly cracked Grade A eggs in the morning, none of that yellow, pasteurized glub-glub poured from a wax carton like at some fast food joints. Wendy's bacon is tops in the drive-thru, thicker and smokier than the other guys' see-through strips. You get a lot of bacon, too, six strong pieces.
Everything else pulls the Breakfast Baconator across the finish line. All together, this is an altogether different kind of breakfast sandwich, bigger, bolder, meatier … and more expensive. We're worth it.
Here's something weird about Wendy's entry into the breakfast segment. Wendy's serves breakfast only it its drive-thrus from 6:30 am to 9 am, when Wendy's opens its dining rooms. Breakfast will continue to be served both in its drive-thrus and dining rooms until 10:30 am. Meanwhile, most McDonald's open their dining rooms at 5 am, and Chick-fil-A opens theirs at 6 am.
Let me see if I have this straight. Newcomer Wendy's is competing for customers at breakfast by offering less service than its more established and highly successful rivals down the street. It's a novel concept. Good luck with that, Wendy's.
Ken Hoffman reviews a new fast food restaurant item every Wednesday. Have a suggestion or a drive-thru favorite? Let Ken know on Twitter.