The item tucks traditional breakfast foods—scrambled egg, ham, cheese and bacon; similar to what is in included in its current Meaty Breakfast Burrito—in pita bread. Menu price in test stores near the chain’s San Diego headquarters is $2.59. A company spokesman confirmed the test but declined to say when or if the chain intends to put the pitas on the menu systemwide.
Jack in the Box has had the Chicken Fajita Pita on its menu for years. It also called on pita bread in August 2008 when it added a line of Pita Snacks. These had grilled or crispy chicken, sirloin steak strips or a fish fillet with cheese and chipotle sauce in a whole-grain pita. Those snack items were priced at $1.99.
In November, Chairman-CEO Linda Lang told investors that Jack in the Box was experiencing “weakness in our breakfast daypart” due to high unemployment in key markets and the generally sluggish economy. She vowed that improving breakfast sales would be a 2010 marketing focus and that Jack would launch a “significant upgrade” for at least one breakfast item. Last month, Lang told analysts that the chain also is “looking at our coffee program” for improvement.
Breakfast has been the focus of attention for many of Jack’s competitors, including Burger King, which may introduce its BK Breakfast Bowls and $1 BK Breakfast Muffin Sandwich as early as next week. McDonald’s is adding new TV spots for its $1 Breakfast Menu. Even Taco Bell is testing the morning-meal waters more seriously.
Lang has mandated a new marketing strategy that calls for Jack in the Box to juggle multiple messages and promote more than one menu item simultaneously, and it has been doing that. The chain’s main focus has been its new Grilled Sandwiches line, introduced in February. But it also has added a new chicken salad, is promoting a “2 for $3” breakfast-biscuit deal and is rolling out new crispier french fries.