Some of the food behind McDonald's falling sales

McDonald's was struck a heavy blow Thursday as it announced sales at stores fell for the first time since 2003.

So what is happening to Mickey D's? Sure, it’s a tough economy.  But competition is getting stiff amid a more crowded market.

Here's a look at some of the new items its competitors have recently been rolling out:

Burger King

Burger King, whose executives declined to say whether additional business is coming from McDonald's, has focused on value-priced foods like its Barbecued Chicken and Pulled Pork sandwiches. Recently, it reintroduced its Chicken Parmesan sandwich with its upgraded chicken patty. It also is serving limited-time food specials like its Gingerbread Cookie Sundae, Gingerbread Cookie Shake and Cinnabon Minibon Rolls.


Wendy's is also showing  positive growth because of some of its premium food offerings - such as the Son of Baconator and the Asiago Ranch chicken sandwich - which helped lift revenue by 2.7 percent.  Wendy’s released a new Bacon Portabella Melt cheeseburger and is considering different bread options such as wheat or focaccia buns for its burgers and sandwiches.

Taco Bell

Taco Bell, which is owned by Yum Brands Inc., has had a great year thanks to new offerings such as it Doritos Locos Tacos and higher-end Cantina Bell bowls and burritos.  Toco Bell on Thursday also announced an entirely new dessert menu  -- which all cost less a dollar.  It includes a Caramel Apple Empanada, a Churro, which is Taco Bell’s version of the Mexican donut, and a Cookie Sandwich filled with vanilla ice cream. In addition, it rolled out the XXL Steak Nachos, which feature a triple portion of thick cut steak piled with melted cheese, guacamole, pico de gallo and tortilla chips. There's also a chicken option.

Panera Bread

More people are moving away from McDonald's and opting for restaurants such as Panera Bread Co., which offer better-quality food for a little more money. Luring customers in are new menu items which include Steel Cut Oatmeal topped with Dried Cherries, Apple Chips & Almonds, Roasted Turkey & Cranberry Paninis, Pumpkin Pie Bagels and Sausage & Gouda Baked Egg Soufflés.


McDonald's recently launched McCafe selling premium specialty coffee drinks in an attempt to rival Starbucks' coffee dominance. But Starbucks has recently released a groupon (collecting more than 1.5 million customers within 24 hours) to keep its customers away from McDonald's cheaper drinks.  It's also tried to lure customers in with premium bakeries products that are healthier