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Burger King's Croissan'wich will not back down from incoming breakfast insurgent Wendy's

Brian Sozzi
Editor-at-Large

Restaurant Brands (QSR) CEO Jose Cil says his Burger King brand is ready to fight off the onslaught of inevitable breakfast promotions in early 2020 from new entrant Wendy’s (WEN).

And considering how important breakfast is to the home of The King, Cil is right to have plans in place.

Burger King has been a main player in the fast-food breakfast hours for years, leading with the always delicious Croissan’wich and more recently cheaply priced hot and iced coffee. Cil says Burger King’s breakfast business in the U.S. is one of its fastest growing, most profitable businesses and that it’s strong. Overall, the business represents about 15% of U.S. franchisee sales — in some instances, Burger King says the number could reach 20%.

“We have already established ourselves as really credible players in the breakfast business. We are excited about breakfast, we welcome others into the space because we feel confident in our offering being best in class and will be able to drive more people into Burger King over the long haul,” Cil tells Yahoo Finance.

Cil thinks the looming price discounts from Wendy’s and others (we see you, McDonald’s (MCD)) in breakfast should be expected as it’s often the case in the industry.

“I think price driven promotions are typical in our space, and we will see how that fluctuates,” Cill adds. “It goes up and down over time. Our focus has always been on quality product, good balance in terms of good and value and premium offerings.”

Burger King Western Omelet CROISSAN?WICH, photo

Cil didn’t rule out a stepped up pace of breakfast discounts of its own for Burger King.

That said, Wendy’s also thinks it could be credible in breakfast, at long last.

Wendy’s is smack in the middle of hiring 20,000 people to drive a nationwide rollout of breakfast in early 2020. The menu will feature two premium-priced sandwiches dubbed the Breakfast Baconator and the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuit. Wendy’s CEO Todd Penegor told Yahoo Finance recently he is prepared to pepper consumers with aggressive discounts to get people to try the company’s breakfast.

Restaurant industry experts think Wendy’s actions will spur a wave of profit-margin busting discounting by breakfast stalwarts Burger King, McDonald’s and Taco Bell.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow him on Twitter @BrianSozzi

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