In what seems to be the biggest experiment so far in the history of the golden arches, McDonalds has decided to begin selling their breakfast items all day long.
Beginning with over 90 branches in the San Diego area, the fast-food giant aims to see if this step would prove to be a lucrative change to their procedures.
Usually, their breakfast menu would start around five or after midnight and end right before lunch, depending on the branch. Many items from this time-restricted menu include the fabled Sausage McMuffin and their ever-so-popular pancakes. And as of April 20, 2015, certain branches will now have these breakfast items available at any time. As for how long this experiment will last, there isn’t any announcement about it.
According to Pam Williams, U.S. marketing manager for McDonalds, they consider this as an experiment to see what would happen if they opened up the menu for the whole day. It would be too early to assume that this would be a good idea just because more people can get McMuffins when they want to. It’s a lot more complicated than that.
Most stores only have enough menu space for their regular items. When the morning comes, they take down their regular menus and replace them with the breakfast menu. To have both menus actively displayed to customers would mean that they would need to expand their menu boards. That will most certainly affect store expenses all across the world if this change were to be made permanent.
On top of that, it’s impossible to assume that it will lead to higher sales. Take note that if the breakfast menu were to be made available all day, regular customers might lean towards buying more affordable breakfast items instead of spending on the pricier meals from the regular menu.
Additionally, opening up more items for customers to choose from might not bode well for the staff who prepare the food. Grills and stoves may be used more or less depending on what’s sold the most. This could end up with the need to add more facilities to already-furnished stores. The demand for their chicken could go down in favour of more sausages and pancake batter. It’s generally a hit or miss kind of scenario. Exciting, but also dangerous.
And that’s not where the possibilities end. This could also mean their other items would start selling less. Since people can get pancakes any time that they want, why would they settle for the spaghetti instead? This could affect how the customers view their food choices which may cause them to adjust their marketing and advertising strategies.
It seems that the iconic franchise is looking to expand its market to those people who usually don’t eat at McDonalds. These are mostly younger generations who are now more inclined to eat at other places. McDonalds wants to provide a wider selection to entice more people to choose the arches over other brands. Should the plan work, they could be expanding the sales of their from their breakfast empire which already contributes more than 25% of McDonald’s total sales. Maximizing this avenue is most certainly not a bad idea.
Should their plan work and attract new customers, it could also lead to other breakfast items being added to the menu on top of the staple favourites. Who knows? We could be looking at McPoached Eggs or McSauerkraut in the near future.
In addition to getting more sales, former CEO Don Thompson also states that they’re at a point wherein the demand for this change was posing as an opportunity to grow instead of a few simple requests. They wanted to take advantage of this growing demand and see where it takes them. And although the possible effects it may have on the operations side of things, McDonalds is willing to give things a go and see what happens with this experiment.
Implications for Customers
With more items available, it will surely be a treat for patrons. They can now decide whether they want their usual Big Mac or a Sausage McMuffin with egg in the middle of the afternoon. They can also opt to have evening pancakes instead of cheeseburgers.
This could also mean longer lines at the stores because of the impending influx of morning people who can now enjoy their favourite breakfast items even during lunchtime. Or it could mean having to go somewhere else because the stores are already full on a limited lunch break. Anything could happen.
In the end, it will certainly mean big changes for the fast-food entity. But whether or not it’s a good change will ultimately depend on how the people of San Diego respond to this change. McDonalds says they will closely monitor the spending habits of their customers through this experiment and act accordingly.