On the Margin
Here's why McDonald's is working on all-day breakfast

Here's why McDonald's is working on all-day breakfast

This post is part of the On the Margin blog.

A number of consumer surveys have indicated that diners want breakfast items available at lunch and dinner. Here’s another one:

According to Instantly, Inc., a Los Angeles-based audiences and insights platform, 72 percent of consumers believe fast-food chains should sell breakfast all day, based on a recent survey of 10,000 Americans.

That survey is similar to other consumer surveys that ask that question, notably one from the National Restaurant Association. Another survey indicates that people who like eating breakfast would prefer McDonald’s. The surveys show that there is a market for serving breakfast items at lunch and dinner, and burnishes the argument for the burger giant at least making an effort.

McDonald’s is headed toward a potential October rollout nationwide of all-day breakfast. At this point, it appears that it’s the centerpiece of the chain’s plan to boost sales that have struggled for three years. Early tests have apparently been strong — certainly strong enough to prompt the chain to consider a fall rollout — and reports indicate that the company expects a 2.5 percent sales lift.

Less certain at this point is whether all-day breakfast could come paired with cuts in the chain’s menu. Operators have long complained about the company’s massive menu, and with concerns about the chain’s speed, adding products like Egg McMuffins and Hotcakes would only make matters worse. But there are some indications the company is planning a reduced menu, perhaps on a regional basis.

Breakfast is currently McDonald’s strongest daypart, and continues to get stronger as its sales continue to grow while sales at lunch and dinner falter.

The Instantly survey also provided some insight into why McDonald’s is so popular at breakfast. The Golden Arches was consumers’ dominant choice as their go-to breakfast concept, and nobody else is even in the same league.

According to the survey, 44 percent of consumers consider McDonald’s their “go-to” fast food chain for breakfast. Next was “I don’t go to fast food restaurants” with 28 percent, “other” with 11 percent, and finally Burger King with 5 percent.

McDonald’s breakfast products are popular. But the chain’s success in the morning is also rooted in the chain’s amazing convenience. McDonald’s has arguably the best locations in the fast food business, making its drive-thrus a remarkably convenient place to get breakfast on your way to work.

And, indeed, the Instantly survey noted that more than half of Americans don’t eat breakfast consistently, and not enough time is a reason for doing so. And when time is a constraint, consumers get something on the go, and 45 percent go through a drive-thru.

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