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Burger King (QSR) Adds Another Layer of Impossible Foods

Posted on Monday, June 15th, 2020 by Steve Anderson

Burger King (QSR) Adds Another Layer of Impossible Foods

Impossible Foods has come a long way from its early days of people looking askance at its breed of artificial, plant-based meat products. Its rise in the field of food has been steady and given current conditions, downright remarkable in its own way. Now, the company has recently added a new feather to its cap by becoming part of Burger King (NYSE: QSR)'s breakfast lineup with the Impossible Croissan'wich.

One More Option for a Quick Breakfast

Burger King, part of the Restaurant Brands International banner, started testing the Impossible Foods breakfast option back in January. Apparently, despite a series of setbacks that pretty much all start with the word “coronavirus”, the tests went sufficiently well for Burger King to issue the royal proclamation and get the Impossible Foods sausage alternative into regular rotation.

This makes Burger King the first national chain to put an Impossible Foods item into a breakfast sandwich. However, Dunkin' (NASDAQ: DNKN) has been using the sausage-esque product for a while now, so there's a bit of an asterisk next to Burger King on this one. Those interested in trying out the Impossible Croissan'wich will be able to do so only at certain locations, and only for “a limited time”, so those who want to see plant-based sausage stick around at Burger King should probably get in and support their breakfast option of choice.

Fast-Food Breakfast in General On the Decline

There's one major problem being reported, however; customers aren't super enthusiastic about fast-food breakfast these days. With the coronavirus knocking out physical offices for a few months, employees started to get accustomed to the notion of making their own breakfasts. And by some reports, employees are liking the breakfasts they make themselves. Yum Brands (NYSE: YUM) mainstay Taco Bell has cut its breakfast hours in response, and reports suggest they're not the only one.

Yet if there's to be any recovery in the plant-based breakfast sandwich market, Burger King may well lead the way here. Not so much because of the “breakfast sandwich” part, but rather because of the “plant-based” part. Burger King had already been working with plant-based alternatives on its menu with the advent of the Impossible Whopper, and with good results. Not only was traffic up, reports noted, but so too were sales. Given the last few months, anything that boosts sales and gets people out of their coronavirus hidey-holes is worth considering.

Burger King even has plans to harness the previous popularity of the plant-based alternative, offering up 100,000 of them at no charge for anyone who hits the mobile app and buys at least $1 worth of anything else. Restaurant Brands International has been trading well below its Friday close of $55.76 all day, but has been trending upward from its lows hit earlier today.

But Does Anyone Really Want Burger King for Breakfast?

Right now, Burger King—and pretty much every other breakfast offering out there—is facing a serious problem. The need to grab a fast-food breakfast and sit in traffic is on the decline, thanks to the baptism under fire that telecommutinggot. While in the past, businesses fretted about employees not working quite as hard when no one is watching them constantly, the fact that anyone survived the last three months makes it pretty clear telecommuting can, and does, work, no matter what Marissa Mayer thought about it.

That sounds like trouble for Burger King and its newly-minted Impossible Croissan'wich, but there is some hope. While many formerly office-bound employees are enjoying their work-from-home status, there are still plenty who are required to return to physical offices as soon as permitted by state law.

That will drive some demand for any kind of breakfast option, and since Burger King managed to pull off a success with the Impossible Whopper by offering discounts and the like, they may well get a boost off the breakfast alternative. Meanwhile, Impossible Foods gets a little extra edge over its primary competitor, Beyond Meat (NASDAQ: BYND), who has made some impressive strides of its own in the last several months. What's shaping up is almost a balkanization of sorts, much like fast food itself in a microcosm, with some chains preferring one breed over the other. It's almost like Coke or Pepsi, but under the bun rather than in a cup. That's a decent outcome for both sides, with neither ever really taking a lead and both staying in business.

The fast-food breakfast option will likely never be as popular as the fast-food lunch or dinner, but these days, any extra sales are extra sales, and some extra sales may keep businesses alive.



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