While McDonald’s and Starbucks battle over fancy coffee drinks, Dunkin’ Donuts focuses on food with the introduction today of its first 99-cent breakfast wrap.

McDonald’s rolled out its McCafé “unsnobby” coffee drinks last month. Starbucks followed with ads that call McDonald’s coffee a “compromise” that leaves a “bad aftertaste.” Dunkin’ Donuts sees that as an opportunity to introduce the Wake-Up Wrap with the message “America Saves” at Dunkin’.

“It’s interesting to us that there’s a battle between McDonald’s and Starbucks,” says Frances Allen, Dunkin’ Donuts brand marketing officer. “Starbucks can’t do food, and McDonald’s can’t do coffee. Our coffee is better, and we sell it faster and at a more affordable price. Part of our value is that we provide the whole breakfast.”

The wrap rollout comes on the heels of a giveaway on national Doughnut Day on Friday — a free doughnut with beverage purchase — that highlighted a Dunkin’ hallmark neither McDonald’s nor Starbucks could match (Krispy Kreme, however, also gave away doughnuts for the day).

The egg-and-cheese wrap is 200 calories. Add bacon for 50 cents and more calories.

The under-a-dollar menu sandwich comes as breakfast sales, which are 8% to 10% of the fast-food industry’s $190 billion annual sales, are holding steady, according to Technomic.

“Breakfast is a luxury item people don’t want to give up,” says Technomic restaurant analyst Darren Tristano. “They love having the convenience, and it’s a cost-effective” part of the day.

He says the sandwich “is a great position for them. … When you go to a Dunkin’, most customers are used to paying less than 99 cents for something, and this very much fits the value model today, which is fueling guest traffic.”

Dunkin’s ads tap into the value mindset with the theme: “Breakfast NOT Brokefast.” A TV ad shows a man tightening his belt, but a colleague points out that won’t save him money.

Marketing also includes novel displays in public fountains in select cities. Legs sticking up make it look as if someone jumped in to steal the coins in the fountain. A sign in Dunkin’s signature pink and orange reads: “Please do not remove change for 99-cent items at Dunkin’ Donuts.”

The message is similar to recent Taco Bell ads in which a young man helps himself to pennies in “take a penny/leave a penny” dishes in various stores. He then goes into a Taco Bell restaurant to buy an 89-cent burrito.

In some cities Dunkin’ also is testing an expanded breakfast value menu with six items, including the wrap, priced at 99 cents with beverage purchase.

USA Today