McDonald’s says it is giving both its customers and its franchisees what they want by rolling out all-day breakfast offerings nationally in 14,300 restaurants starting Oct. 6.
“McDonald's has been testing all-day breakfast in select markets for several months after hearing for years from customers that they wanted to be able to get an Egg McMuffin no matter what time of day,” writes Aamer Madhani for USA Today.
“It's been the number one requested thing from our customers,” McDonald's president Mike Andres tells Madhani. “The people have spoken and we are responding.”
Literally. It received 10,000 Twitter mentions within 90 minutes of the official announcement Tuesday, McDonald’s USA CMO Deborah Wahl tellsNation’s Restaurant News’ Jonathan Maze. “We’re engaging one-on-one with all the people who asked about it,” she says, adding that all-day breakfast “makes people happy.”
Indeed, “Who among us doesn't know the heartbreak that comes with arriving at McDonald's, belly aching for the flavor of a savory breakfast treat, only to have those egg-filled dreams shattered by the phrase ‘I'm sorry, we stop serving breakfast at 10:30?’” writes an appreciative Seth G. Macy for gaming site IGN.com.
For as many years as “adoring fans have pleaded with McDonald's to extend its breakfast menu beyond the current 10:30 a.m. cutoff,” writes Roberto A. Ferdman for the Washington Post. “… the fast food behemoth has shrugged off the ask, saying it doesn't have the capacity to make breakfast and everything else at the same time.”
Customers have been putting their money where their mouths are, too, if elsewhere after the dreaded deadline. “Between 2007 and 2012, breakfast was responsible for more than 90% of all growth in the industry,” Ferdman writes.
“The move, following a vote Tuesday by franchisee leadership, is the boldest one yet under McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook, who was hired in March and has vowed to transform the Oak Brook, Ill.-based fast-food giant into a modern burger chain,” according to the Chicago Tribune’s Greg Trotter. “Up to this point, the turnaround plan has involved less headline-grabbing decisions, like cost-cutting measures and selling company-owned restaurants to franchisees.”
This move is expected to put butts in the booths, however.
“Richard Adams, a former McDonald's franchisee turned consultant, said McDonald's has told franchisees that all-day breakfast will lure 200 customers a week per restaurant,” writes Reuters’ Lisa Baertlein. And McDonald's is already the favorite fast food chain among “so-called ‘Breakfastarians,’ according to a recent survey from YouGov BrandIndex,” she reports.
To make it all happen, franchisees will need to invest between $500 and $5,000 in new equipment, Julie Jargon reports for the Wall Street Journal. They will need a separate grill for the eggs — which have to date been cooked on the same surface as hamburgers are later in the day — as well as new toasters.
“To simplify all-day breakfast, the company is offering a limited number of core items, including sausage burritos, hot cakes and, depending on the region, Egg McMuffins or biscuit sandwiches” Jargon writes. “The chain also is further reducing menu items to smooth the change, after removing several sandwiches and snack wraps from the national menu early this year, and later simplifying drive-through menu boards by posting only the top-selling items.”
Over at Forbes, Will Burns amusingly parses every sentence of CEO “Steve”’s thanks-but-no-thanks response on Facebook to Burger King’s proposal to jointly produce a “McWhopper” to advance Peace One Day. Burns suggests that it chose “pride over peace.”
He also points out that McDonald’s is “at, or near, the bottom in every medium for advertising effectiveness” in the fast food category thus far this year, according to the ABX Advertising Benchmark Index.
Denny’s and Krystal, an Atlanta-based fast food restaurant, are among those who would be more than willing to take BK up on the offer, however, reportsFortune’s Michal Addady. Denny’s proposes such names The Whamper, The Slamopper, The WhopaSlam and The Slopper for a joint offering, USA Today’s Madhani reports, while Krystal offers The Kropper, The Wystal, or The Tiny King.
The King has gone mum for the nonce. But one gets the feeling he’ll squeeze every last bit of social media traction out of what might be most aptly called The Stunter. Meanwhile, McDonald’s apparently has a crowd-pleaser ready for the griddle.