Can this waffle save America?

Is this the latest fast-food innovation that could help create thousands jobs and help save the economy, much like the Doritos Locos Tacos have attempted to do? Or is it simply the latest step in a trend of using sweet dough as sandwich material? After all, McDonald’s has the McGriddle, and Dunkin’ Donuts recently busted out a donut-bacon sandwich.

To a large degree, it’s just sound industrial management. Fast food like Taco Bell is a highly industrialized manufactured and distribution process. (Disclosure: I love Taco Bell.) The stores function like factories. And every factory wants to run three shifts, around the clock. Companies are paying for the overhead, so they might as well make the most out of it. If you let productive capacity sit idle, it’s difficult to make a profit, especially in a climate where consumer demand isn’t growing much.

Breakfast also solves a second problem for fast food companies. Slow demand has been a persistent problem for the restaurant industry. “During the last decade, Americans have not used restaurants more, except at one time of the day—the morning,” said Harry Balzer, chief industry analyst for the NPD Group, a consumer marketing research firm. Pressed for time, and eager to grab food and go, Americans are increasingly having their first meal of the day outside the home—and on the road.

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