Chick-fil-A: It’s what’s for breakfast

Chick-fil-A this summer decided to start promoting its breakfast. And why not? It’s the restaurant industry’s hottest daypart, after all, with big competitors like McDonald’s Corp., Taco Bell and Subway all pushing that business hard.

So in late July the chain started a new ad campaign, “Chicken for Breakfast — It’s not as crazy as you think.” And then in September the company gave away breakfast nationwide.

The campaign worked.

According to the research firm Sense360, Chick-fil-A’s breakfast promotions over the summer helped the chain take market share. Between June and October, the chain’s share of the breakfast market jumped 16 percent.

Consumers went more frequently, from 1.59 times per month to 1.71 times per month.

In theory, this has to be bad news for McDonald’s. Chick-fil-A is often compared with the Golden Arches in that they target families, offer all dayparts and have a traditional focus on small operators.

Yet since Chick-fil-A started its marketing strategy, McDonald’s share actually grew. So who lost?