Here at the Slate Moneybox we are unabashedly fond of the Egg McMuffin, which is why we are so excited to bring you this update: Starting Oct. 6, McDonald’s will debut all-day breakfast across America. That’s from the Wall Street Journal, which reports that the Golden Arches will offer “core” breakfast items such as hot cakes, sausage burritos, and—depending on the region—Egg McMuffins or biscuit sandwiches around the clock at its more than 14,300 U.S. locations.
In addition to fulfilling my, and maybe your, lifelong dream of being able to procure an Egg McMuffin for dinner, the all-day breakfast rollout could also help realize McDonald’s current dream of turning its faltering business around. To briefly recap, McDonald’s global same-store sales fell every month from June 2014 until June 2015, when it opted to stop reporting them altogether. Former chief executive Don Thompson stepped down this past January after a string of spectacular failures, which included a tainted meat scandal in China, disastrous handling of striking fast-food workers, a potentially business-shaking employment ruling from the National Labor Relations Board, the terrifying makeover of Ronald McDonald, and the tragic transformation of McDonald’s “I’m lovin’ it” slogan to “lovin’ beats hatin.’ ”
What else? There was the AP’s June report that McDonald’s this year would close more restaurants than it would open for the first time since at least 1970, and a July survey of franchisees that gave the company its dimmest outlook in 12 years. Let’s not even get into “Pay with lovin’. ”
Anyway, throughout this year or so of discontent, McDonald’s breakfast has been relatively consistent. In 2014, breakfast sales made up an estimated 25 percent of the company’s business; in 2015 they’ve stayed the same. Until now, though, McDonald’s breakfast sales have been constrained to pre-10:30 a.m. By opening up the entire day, breakfast could grow to 29 percent of sales, an analyst for RBC Capital Markets told the Journal. That would be a welcome boost for a company that is struggling to fend off the likes of Five Guys, Shake Shack, and other “better burger” fast-casual competitors.
Most importantly, though, people actually like McDonald’s breakfast. Yes, people beyond me. McDonald’s customers have long asked for all-day breakfast options, but the company has demurred, explaining that its kitchens aren’t constructed to handle breakfast and lunch or dinner orders simultaneously. To facilitate the October rollout, McDonald’s is reportedly investing $500 to $5,000 per restaurant to reconfigure toasters and various other pieces of equipment. Will it be worth it? The chain began testing all-day breakfast at select locations in March and McDonald’s USA President Mike Andres told the Journal he’s happy with the sales increases seen at those locations. What about sparking a chainwide turnaround? Eh, time shall tell. For now, rejoice in knowing that the best mass-produced breakfast sandwich on the market will soon be available for breakfast, for lunch, and for dinner. Dreams do come true.