With competition fierce, McDonald’s looks to opening longer for breakfast

There’s some good news coming out of the recent fast food breakfast wars; McDonald’s is in the process of deciding whether or not  to offer their breakfast menu later in the day. For people who love their breakfast items, the news couldn’t have come sooner.

While many have groused over the years that they don’t understand why McDonald’s can’t simply offer their Egg McMuffin or Sausage Biscuit (and other breakfast items) after 10:30 AM, the fact is that the typical McDonald’s is actually quite small and, logistically, it’s just not possible to offer both breakfast items and lunch/dinner items at the same time.

Still, as the competition for consumers at breakfast time heats up (pun intended), and with other fast food restaurants including Subway and Taco Bell now offering breakfast items, McDonald’s feels that they might not have a choice. The point is even more pressing when you consider that millennial’s, customers in their 20s and 30s, are changing their habits drastically when it comes to eating.

“We know, as an example, that breakfast on the weekend cut off at 10:30 doesn’t go very well,” Jeff Stratton, head of McDonald’s USA, said in a recent interview.  He added that, when it comes to the switch to offering breakfast items later in the day, they’re not quite sure how it’s going to work just yet. “Well, we’re just beginning. … We’re just taking a look at it,” he said.

McDonald’s has in fact been entertaining the idea of serving breakfast throughout the day for a number of years and has been getting closer to that reality, especially as they face heightened competition and a recent sales slump. In some areas of the country, for example, they’ve been offering their “After Midnight” menu with a limited mix of breakfast and lunch items so that the people in the kitchen don’t become overwhelmed with different food orders.

Just the fact that McDonald’s is considering offering breakfast outside of the normal hours that they have had for quite a few years shows that only how much they’re trying to keep pace with shifting habits but also how much their competition is starting to push back at breakfast time. Executives at McDonald’s have noted that, in the last decade or so, customers increasingly want food that is personalized not only to their taste but also to their schedules.

One obstacle in the way of this time change is the thousands of franchisees that McDonald’s has across the country. In order to make the breakfasts switch they would need the support of these franchisees, including over 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants across the country who would need to retrain employees, accommodate any necessary changes and possibly purchase new equipment.

For that reason, and several others, McDonald’s is treading carefully right now and looking at all possibilities. Whatever the case may be however, it’s a good bet that for customers who would love a McGriddle sandwich at 2 o’clock in the afternoon, their wish may soon be a reality.


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