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McDonald’s tests all-day breakfast

March 31, 2015

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McDonald’s announced on Monday that it’s going to experiment with offering breakfast all day. At first glance, you might wonder, “Who would want a McMuffin at 4 pm?”

Apparently, McDonald’s thinks enough people in San Diego are interested in trying it. So, it will make its breakfast specialties throughout the day in a handful of restaurants there during April, according to MarketWatch.

Normally, McDonald’s cuts off breakfast orders at 10:30 am. The company will decide whether to keep breakfast on the menu throughout the day, and whether to expand breakfast to other cities, after the month-long test is over.

As we’ve reported, McDonald’s is struggling to boost its sales. McDonald’s reported year-over-year declines in domestic same-store sales the past five quarters, and missed expectations for total sales the last seven quarters, according to FactSet.

In January, its CEO resigned. Earlier this month, McDonald’s said it will stop sourcing chickens raised with antibiotics, and serve low-fat milk from cows that haven’t been treated with an artificial growth hormone.

This isn’t the first time McDonald’s has pondered all-day breakfast. In 2006, its then-CEO told analysts that his friends kept asking him why the burger chain didn’t allow people to buy breakfast later in the day.

In fact, so many people have asked McDonald’s the same thing that it made breakfast queries one of its frequently asked questions, according to Quartz. On its website, McDonald’s explains the problem is basically the set up of its kitchens.

Here’s the thing: it comes down to the sheer size of kitchen grills. They simply don’t have the room for all of our menu options at one time — especially considering we use our grill to prepare many items on our breakfast menu.

But, McDonald’s has stood like a house by the side of the road and watched as other chains have picked up business from breakfast diners. Although lunch and dinner sales are stagnant, people are eating out more at the start of the day.

It remains to be seen whether Egg McMuffins beyond breakfast really serve more than their rumored purpose as a hangover cure, and whether hotcakes and hash browns will be handed out the drive through windows in the evening.

But with 36,000 restaurants worldwide, and 1.9 million employees, anything McDonald’s does gets plenty of attention.

For story ideas, well, you probably have a McDonald’s somewhere near you. Go talk to some customers, and check out the breakfast traffic at other places, too. It might be interesting to see if diners and coffee shops feel threatened by the McDonald’s move.


McDonald’s breakfast menu

Food hacks with McDonald’s breakfast food

Make your own McMuffin


  • Micheline Maynard

    Micheline is a contributing columnist at the Washington Post concentrating on business and culture. She has written about flooding in Detroit, tainted water in Benton Harbor, nationwide shortages of restaurant staff, and vaccine hesitancy.

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