NEW YORK (TheStreet) — It's no secret that fast-food restaurants have struggled, throughout the Great Recession, to cope with declining demands and increasingly budget-conscious consumers. And, in response, many have turned to the morning meal as a means of capturing market share.
But which have truly succeeded?
Ahead of a slew of restaurant earnings reports out this week, the Shopping Spy took the streets to see just which eatery ranks highest on the following criteria: menu options, service, quality, price and nutritional value at breakfast time.
Our first — and, these days, arguably most crucial — comparison was price: To that end, McDonald's has been making a push to become the go-to destination for a cup of Joe with its mass roll-out of its McCafe initiative — touting a bevy of beverage options at cheaper prices than Starbucks' "luxury" drinks.
But what we found didn't exactly jibe with that: A small cup of McDonald's mocha latte (12 ounces) was $3.48 at an undisclosed location in New York. The same hot beverage at Starbucks was virtually identical at $3.50 — and the quality at Starbucks was, to be sure, worth the two cents more. In our taste test, McDonald's version was overly syrupy sweet.
It was only with the higher-end drinks that we started to see a price savings at McDonald's, over Starbucks, of about $1 on average.