• Rosemarie Bingham '18

Breakfast All Day at McDonald's: Beneficial or Problematic?

Pancakes, Egg McMuffins, cinnamon melts; all these items are now available at your convenience. All McDonald's franchise stores have officially launched their new Breakfast All Day Menu, and so far it’s as great as all McDonald's fans have hoped. In fact, many fans of the fast food chain believe this may be the best idea yet. However, while customers love the luxury of being able to buy their favorite breakfast items whenever they please, is this added bonus really that great for the owners, workers, and corporation?

Gina Wolfe, an owner of 6 McDonald's stores in Columbia, Tennessee, gave her input and knowledge on the subject. “One of the top feedbacks from our customers was a request for breakfast to be served past 10:30 AM,” Wolfe explained. Considering most fast food franchises like to improve their businesses based off customer satisfaction and experience, McDonald's decided to take this advice. The restaurant chain wants you to believe that this is the only reason they made the change, but declining sales in the market share must also factor in.

More customers are starting to realize that there are much healthier options around. Those trying to lose weight or diet will forgo most of the offerings at McDonald's. By substituting breakfast food for lunch or dinner, people are not consuming nearly as many calories as they would if they bought one of their fattening burgers. The nutritional value of an Egg McMuffin, for example, is much less than half the calories of a Big Mac, and its nutritional value is the not unhealthy.

Although Wolfe says she has seen “steady increases” in sales as time has gone on, the system is still far from perfect. “One of the biggest problems is the push to start delay.” This relates to how quickly the ovens used for the breakfast items are able to heat up. For example, because biscuits are not as popular as burgers in the afternoon-evening time frame, a customer that wants a biscuit may have to wait because chances are the biscuits already made will either be cold and hard, or there will not be any available at all. This has to do with the time limit for food that’s sitting out. After a certain amount of time, workers must throw away some foods and make a fresh batch. Another problem deals with the equipment used to make the breakfast options. A pancake cannot be put on the grill during the same time beef is on it. Since breakfast is now served all day, workers don’t have time to clean the grills and griddles between orders. Due to this, all McDonald's stores have to purchase new equipment. Not only is this costly, which cuts a store’s profit margin, but it also takes up a lot of space. “One problem is making sure that equipment fits and is placed in a good location,” Wolfe clarifies.

Furthermore, some customers have found the new menus confusing because the breakfast items available vary by region. One local store could be serving Egg McMuffins all day while another store located an hour away is only serving sausage biscuits.

Lastly, this addition requires more workers in general, which costs extra money and certainly doesn’t help with the crowded kitchen.

Considering the financial challenges of Breakfast All Day, it isn’t nonsensical to ask: how much is McDonald's really profiting? There’s no definite number as to how much each store is spending on this “upgrade,” but it isn't cheap. In regards to sales, the main issue is that McDonald's now has to downgrade their regular menu to add the lower-priced breakfast items. It’s true that a huge profit is being made, but how does that compare with the sales before breakfast was added? The most expensive combo for breakfast is the Steak, Egg, and Cheese Bagel Meal ($5.19).

Not including breakfast, the cheapest combo is the BBQ Pulled Pork Sandwich Meal ($4.99). There’s not a huge difference between these prices. This means that a regular customer who would normally buy a burger combo meal for dinner would pay (at a minimum) $4.99. However, if this customer wants a breakfast combo meal instead, he will be paying (at a maximum) only 20 cents more. McDonald's may actually be losing money from some of their reoccurring customers that have a preference towards the breakfast rather than the burgers.

Problems aside, Breakfast All Day has benefitted McDonald's, and most store owners would agree that it has proved to be a good idea. “We are seeing good results so far but I think it will be an even greater success once we get everything worked out and operational problems corrected,” Wolfe concludes. Just a couple of weeks of earlier a McDonald’s spokeswoman added, “since the launch, McDonald's has reached its highest brand score in two years according to YouGov BrandIndex.”

The President of McDonald's, Mike Andres, gave his opinion on the newfound achievement. “The successful launch of All Day Breakfast proves that when we listen to, and respond to, our customers and align around a great execution plan, we will grow our business and take share.” So far it looks like McDonald's has pulled off yet another great idea to advance their company. The final question is…how long can they keep this up? And what will be the next big thing?


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