Taco Bell is jumping into the fast food breakfast arena. The low-cost Mexican food chain is traditionally known for its late night menu and afternoon specials (e.g. $1 loaded grillers and drinks). However, it is now challenging breakfast stalwart McDonald’s for a share of the morning meal market.

Taco Bell has released a number of commercials showing real-life people named Ronald McDonald who ostensibly enjoy its new morning menu; which, of course, includes a waffle taco. The ubiquitous clown that was McDonalds’ front man for decades is not seen very often anymore, but the intent in Taco Bell’s commercials is directed at swaying customers who enjoy the golden arches.

In response, McDonald’s is offering free coffee to its customers. An announcement released today indicated that free small cups of McCafe coffee will be given during breakfast hours from March 31 through April 13. It is the first time that McDonald’s has offered free drinks from its McCafe line. It hopes that while people are getting their coffee, they will purchase other items, such as an oatmeal bowl or a breakfast sandwich.

McDonald’s first started serving breakfast meals in 1975, with the introduction of the Egg McMuffin. Since then, many other players have entered the marketplace, including Burger King and Starbucks. McDonald’s is still a market leader in breakfast meals with 31 percent. With more people appearing to purchase breakfast on the go, McDonald’s appears ready to keep its market share intact.

This latest competition is another example of how businesses can excel. It remains to be seen whether legal action will be taken over the use of the name “Ronald McDonald.

Source: ABC News.com “McDonalds offers free coffee for breakfasters,” AP News, Mar. 28, 2014