All-day breakfast was a major hit for fans of McDonald’s and a major headache for franchisees.
As the fast-food giant weighs whether to bring it back from its pandemic hiatus, one fact has recently become apparent: The company doesn’t need to offer round-the-clock McGriddles and Egg McMuffins to grow sales.
Chicago-based McDonald’s on Thursday said sales in U.S. restaurants open at least 13 months grew 4.6 percent during the three months that ended in September, exceeding Wall Street’s expectations and a sharp reversal from the 8.7 percent decline that occurred during the previous quarter.
Large group orders and a busier dinner business drove the boost, while overall guest counts remain down.
The company, which stopped offering items like salads and grilled chicken sandwiches, will be “very thoughtful and judicious” in deciding what is worth reintroducing to the menu, Joe Ehrlinger, president of McDonald’s USA, said.
If all-day breakfast does come back, it may not offer as many items or be served at all times like before.
“Compelling facts indicate it doesn’t actually need to be 24 hours and it can cut off at some point in the afternoon,” Ehrlinger said.
“And that would make more sense from a consumer and franchisee perspective.”
The company is working with franchisees to weigh whether the revenue benefits of all-day breakfast made it worth the complexity it added to their operations.
“You can see by the improvements that we had this quarter that we can really grow this business and we don’t need all-day breakfast to do that,” he said.
Meanwhile, the company is still fighting for morning breakfast customers, a contingent that dwindled with the loss of commutes just as Wendy’s launched its own breakfast menu. McDonald’s this week announced it is introducing apple fritters, blueberry muffins and cinnamon rolls to its bakery menu, the first bakery additions in eight years, which will be available any time of day.