Commentary

Brunch At McDonald's? Maybe Later

Scott Hume’s BurgerBusiness.combrokethe story yesterday that McDonald’s had filed a federal trademark registration application for the word “McBrunch” in July, and he offered up a bunch of suggestions culled from franchisees’ menus around the world as to what it might serve and when it might do so.

In Germany, for instance, “breakfast hours are extended beyond 10:30 a.m. on weekends and major holidays,” Hume points out. 

And forget about those Eggs Benedict, which are so 1894. How about Veg Pizza McPuff out of India, Hume suggests. Or Hong Kong’s own Sausage N’ Egg Twisty Pasta? And just ask a Swede about the Frukostmackan if you want to know what really makes for a hearty start for the day (smoked ham, Wästgöta Abbey cheese, crispy lettuce, butter and sun-ripened tomato on freshly baked bread.)

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McDonald’s is, however, mum about any plans it may have — at least for now.

“We routinely file intent to use trademark applications as a regular course of business,” a company spokesperson told Hume. “We can’t share details at this time as to how the trademarks may or may not be used.”

Those who spotted Hume’s latest newsbreak — “BurgerBusiness.com likes to be first,” he avers, citing the “the demise of the Angus Third Pounders from McDonald’s menu” among other prior scoops — were thankfully loquacious and analytical.

“This may not go over well with McDonald’s franchisees, who have complained in recent years about being forced to offer new menu items that don’t always sell well (we’re looking at you, Mighty Wings),” writes Chris Morran on Consumerist. “But with Taco Bell recently making a splash in the breakfast business, the chain might need to try something new to keep customers interested.”

As you know, Taco Bell is engaged in a good, old-fashioned “breakfast war” with McDonald’s, with MediaPost’s Molly Fessenden reporting from the front in Online Video Insider.

And now it’s testing a biscuit taco with egg, cheese and a choice of sausage or bacon layered with a jalapeno honey sauce, as USA Today’s Bruce Horovitz reported the other day. (No doubt that’s an automatic entry on the “Foods That Should Not Exist” list compiled by Jezebel’s C.A. Pinkham, which already includes everything else on Taco Bell’s menu for that daypart.)

Taco Bell is not the only bull pawing in the breakfast pasture, however.

“Breakfast is the quickest-growing time of day for fast-food sales, and McDonald’s has been fighting to keep its lead against an increasingly crowded field of morning competitors,” points outBloomberg Businessweek’s Venessa Wong. “More robust food offerings from Starbucks now vie with a new morning menu at Taco Bell and better coffee from Chick-fil-A on the breakfast battlefield.”

Four years ago Burger King tested a menu in select markets “that included both breakfast and lunch options as well as a bastardized, non-alcoholic Mimosa that was actually just Sprite mixed with orange juice,” reports Fortune’s Tom Huddleston, Jr. “Here’s hoping McDonald’s at least has the sense not to offer up nonalcoholic Bloody Marys.”

But with McDonald’s in a skid, “just about any action may be better than no action,” suggestsUSA Today’s Horovitz. “On Tuesday, the fast-food giant reported its worst global monthly same-store sales in a decade — down 3.7% for the month of August. Even CEO Don Thompson has said that the company needs to create new offerings that bring more excitement to the market.”

The company is “trying to adapt on multiple fronts,” reportsCrain’s Chicago Business, “including a ‘Build-Your-Own-Burger’ test in Southern California and a new Bacon Clubhouse burger positioned as a premium offering at $5 or $6.”

As Marketing Daily’s Karlene Lukovitz wrote last month, the elusive Millennials are prime targets for those who would proffer “adventurous” breakfasts and, one might guess, brunches. In a recent survey of 1,280 consumers by Datassential, Millennials showed more interest in all of the breakfast trends tested.

“Nearly 65% were interested in elevated comfort foods (premium versions of traditional breakfast comfort foods like waffles and biscuits and gravy), Lukovitz wrote, “and 63% were interested in ‘monster’ or mini breakfast sandwiches.”

BloombergBusinessweek’s Wong suggests that “a fast-food restaurant is not an obvious fit for a brunch gathering — often thought of as a leisurely, possibly hungover meal, perhaps accompanied by Bloody Marys unlikely to appear on a McDonald’s menu.”

May we suggest a Martinelli’s Sparkling Cider, 2014?

1 comment about "Brunch At McDonald's? Maybe Later".
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  1. Robert Passikoff from Brand Keys, Inc., September 11, 2014 at 8:58 a.m.

    Thom,
    Take a look at this and tell me whether Baby Boomers or Millennials rage going to storm anyone's fast food castle for brunch? With or without a "Mc."
    http://brandkeys.blogspot.com/

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