A lot of people believe that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, since it feeds the body after an extended period of fasting (during sleep). That has led to a certain paradigm shift in breakfast meals, because many people are insisting that breakfast fare should be available for the whole day and not just in the morning hours. McDonald’s began this trend in a big way, and now there’s a very good chance that the Burger King breakfast hours will be extended for the whole day as well.
The truth of the matter is that initially, McDonald’s wasn’t all that keen in extending its breakfast hours past its usual time slot. The powers that be in the company knew that a growing number of its customers were asking why the Egg McMuffin wasn’t available for the whole day. And the company bigwigs kept dodging the issue because they didn’t want to spend money changing something that may not offer better results.
By 2006, even Jim Skinner who was the CEO of McDonald’s at the time was also besieged by inquiries from his own circle of friends. He then intimated at a Bank of America annual investment conference that the all-day breakfast was a definite possibility.
Still, the bigwigs maintained that the move to the all-day breakfast was too complicated, and so they didn’t step up to change.
Finally the Tide Turns
McDonald’s has long been serving its special breakfast fare since the early 1970s, and they’ve realized for some time that their morning business has always been consistently strong. The demand for breakfast fare was constant, and that was due to several possible reasons.
- Some people woke up early as a matter of course, and they wanted their breakfast as early as 5 AM. Many McDonald’s stores stretched their operating hours to accommodate this demand.
- Other stores were offering breakfast even much earlier, to cater to party goers who were looking for morning meals before they went home.
- And changing work schedules were also partly responsible for the changing dining dynamics. For some people who worked the night shift, breakfast may come as late as early evening to match their sleeping patterns.
Finally, McDonald’s has 2 years of bad business which forced them to make a drastic change in how they operated. Their sales declined precipitously, and their promotions didn’t strike a chord with consumers. A nasty labor dispute even drew some bad publicity for the company. The CEO stepped down, and the new one finally realized that the breakfast may also be the solution that may break the curse over the company.
And so by March of 2015, they tested out the concept of extended breakfast hours, an idea which they have resisted for so long. In fact, their resistance to the change may have led some of their customers to believe that McDonald’s didn’t really care much for the preferences of their customers. But finally, the company heeded the clamor, although it took many years.
The move to all day breakfast was as costly as McDonald’s feared, and supposedly they may have spent up to $5,000 to upgrade each kitchen. And yet it paid off. After making the move, the company posted its strongest quarter in almost 4 years.
The focus on breakfast has saved the company for now, and for the moment McDonald’s is riding the wave by focusing its marketing drives on breakfast. It even bought a costly 30-second spot to air just before the Super Bowl. The new “Good Morning” ad promotes the all-day breakfast menu.
Obviously, the fact that the McDonald’s US sales jumped by 5.7% during the last three months of 2015 didn’t escape the notice of McDonald’s competitors. That’s especially true for Burger King, which is involved in a price war with McDonald’s. Now with the media and consumers focusing on McDonald’s, Burger King is contemplating its own response.
Some are anticipating a similar response. After all, Burger King entered the breakfast wars in 2015 by offering breakfast burgers as part of its menu. All Burger King locations are also lowering their prices. That may not be enough, aside from offering all-day breakfast as well.
One franchise actually jumped the gun. A Burger King franchise in Garwood, New Jersey is located across a McDonald’s restaurant, and so it also matched the extended breakfast hours. Now for this franchise at least, the breakfast platter, croissants, muffins, French toast, and hash browns are available at any time of the day.