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Nick Solares

Fast food companies are banking on breakfast being the most important meal of the day. According to the Wall Street Journal, Taco Bell is the latest chain putting all of its eggs in the breakfast basket. Upping the ante on McDonald's all-day breakfast menu that left many fast food competitors in the dust, Taco Bell's breakfast menu is offering $1 options. Called the $1 Morning Value Menu, it will be made up of 10 menu items, including new dishes such as a mini skillet bowl, breakfast soft taco, and sausage flatbread quesadilla. See how they rank, here.

Although the new breakfast value menu was announced just days after rumors began circulating that McDonald's was looking to expand its version, Taco Bell chief marketing officer Marisa Thalberg insists Taco Bell's launch is not related. Thalberg stated in an interview with the Journal, "Our decisions are not based on reacting to what others are doing. This whole menu was borne out of deeply understanding what people wanted in the morning and developing an attractive price point." Thalberg also mentioned that Taco Bell has no plans to extend breakfast hours beyond its current window of 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Thalberg might not admit it, but it seems Taco Bell's cheaper breakfast menu is an attempt to capitalize on budget-minded diners and take a bite out of McDonald's success in the market. A recent report determined visits to quick-service restaurants has increased by 1 percent while patronage at full-service restaurants has declined, providing chains even more evidence that cheaper is better. As the affordable, fast-casual boom continues, traditional fast food restaurants are in a battle over who can offer the biggest bang for a buck.

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