- McDonald's is planning to sell doughnut sticks for a limited time during breakfast hours, according to a Business Insider report.
- The deep-fried sticks resemble Dunkin's limited-time Donut Fries, which were released in July and were one of the company's most popular limited menu items.
- While Dunkin' used the churro-like snack to lure customers to stores after lunch, McDonald's is reportedly targeting breakfast customers.
The fast food chain's interpretation of the doughnut sticks will be offered for a limited time and only at breakfast, Business Insider reported. The churro-like snack will be made from deep-fried sweetened dough, with cinnamon sugar sprinkling the outside.
McDonald's declined to confirm the report, but spokesperson Andrea Abate said to expect more product news in 2019.
In the years since McDonald's extended its breakfast menu all day, the early meal competition between fast food chains has heated up. The company has been relying on limited-offering breakfast items to boost slowing U.S. sales. In October, it rolled out Triple Breakfast Stacks as one example.
That strategy could work if McDonald's manages to replicate Dunkin's success with the menu item. CEO David Hoffman said on the company's third-quarter earnings call that its Donut Fries, which were released in July, were one of the top performing limited-offerings ever for the brand.
The biggest difference so far between the two products appears to be their marketing. Dunkin' targeted customers looking for an afternoon snack to help drive diners to stores after lunchtime, while McDonald's will reportedly only offer the menu item for breakfast.
McDonald's will also offer a deal of six Donut Sticks and a small coffee for $1.99, according to Business Insider. If customers want to skip the coffee, they can buy six of the deep-fried sticks for $1.29 or a dozen for $2.39.
That's a better deal than the $2 it cost to buy one serving — or five pieces — of Dunkin's doughnut fries, although the size of McDonald's take on the snack is unknown.
"We're not surprised to see competitors imitate our success with Donut Fries given their popularity with customers, " Dunkin' spokesperson Michelle King said in a statement to CNBC.
Dunkin' sold the Donut Fries through the end of last year, but could bring the popular item back in the future, King said.