McDonald’s Feasts on All-Day Breakfast, But Causes Indigestion for Some Franchisees

James T. Berger headshot

James T. Berger
Senior Marketing Writer

Published April 4, 2016

After stagnant sales and earnings during a long non-growth period, McDonald’s Corporation hit things into high gear with its decision to offer breakfast all day. However, there may be a dark cloud behind the silver lining.

The 4th Quarter 2015 numbers showed a 5.7% jump in some store sales — a major increase especially in the light of a prolonged period of sales and profit stagnation prior to the all-day breakfast decision. The price of McDonald’s stock also has surged 13.6% over the three-month period.

In announcing the 4th Quarter 2015 earnings, McDonald’s CEO Steve Esterbrook also attributed mild weather as a factor.

McDonald’s stores started serving all-day breakfast on Oct. 6, 2015. In making the announcement for the new menu Esterbrook said, “For years, customers told us they want to breakfast all day. All-day breakfast is bringing customers into restaurants, lifting guest counts and creating a more positive mood around the brand.”

According to CBS Marketwatch, “…the changing nature of Americans’ schedules has also created an environment in which there are fewer rules about what to eat and when. Diners now expect bigger menus for longer hours, according to Denny’s Chief Marketing Officer John Dillon. And seven of ten people said they would like the restaurants to serve all-day breakfast, according to a 2014 National Restaurant Association survey.”

The company pioneered breakfast fast food with the introduction of the Egg McMuffin in 1972, when market research indicated that consumers would welcome a quick breakfast. Five years later McDonald’s added a full breakfast line to the menu and by 1987 one-fourth of all breakfasts eaten out in the United States came from McDonald’s restaurants.

But all is not so rosy in McDonaldland. According to Bloomberg Business, the all-day breakfast has created some meaningful initial problems for franchisees. Soon after the all-day breakfast policy was initiated, Bloomberg Business pointed out “Four Reasons McDonald’s All-Day Breakfast is a Headache for Franchisees.”

  1. “It’s hard to make hash browns and fries at the same time with the same  number of vats.” Some stores have to invest $5,000 in new vats; others   must choose between fries and hash browns in the afternoon and evening.
  1. “After years of waiting, all-day breakfast arrived very fast.” The decision    caught some franchisees unprepared. “Egg sandwiches sell for less than burgers.” The breakfast foods carry  lower prices than the hamburger sandwiches and fries.
  1. “Hello breakfast, goodbye to some McWraps.” The addition of breakfast means the trimming of other items such as McWraps, which take longer to make than eggs and pancakes. Sales, profit and stock value growth can all serve as a tonic for these early ailments.
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About The Author

James T. Berger headshot
James T. Berger, Senior Marketing Writer of The Wiglaf Journal, through his Northbrook-based firm, James T. Berger/Market Strategies, offers a broad range of marketing communications, research and strategic planning consulting services. In addition, he provides expert services to intellectual property attorneys in the area of trademark infringement litigation. An adjunct professor of marketing at Roosevelt University, he previously has taught at Northwestern University, DePaul University, University of Illinois at Chicago and The Lake Forest Graduate School of Management. He holds degrees from the University of Michigan (BA), Northwestern University (MS) and the University of Chicago (MBA). Berger is an often-published free lance business writer who has developed more than 100 published articles in the last eight years. For more information, visit or telephone him at (847) 328-9633.