4/29/2013 7:13 PM ET|
McDonald's puts all-day breakfast on the table
CEO Don Thompson says the company may offer Egg McMuffins at any hour and could consider delivery as it combats slumping sales.
In a long-winded interview with CNBC's Squawk on the Street on Friday, in which he discussed the fast-food giant's future, Thompson eventually let slip that his chain might be open to slinging Egg McMuffins, Hotcakes and McGriddles from opening until close. For disgruntled diners who view the chain's 10:30 a.m. breakfast cutoff time as provocation for a rage-fueled outburst on par with Michael Douglas' gun-brandishing rant from the 1993 film "Falling Down," that's welcome news indeed.
The Huffington Post noted earlier this year that McDonald's had been toying with an expanded Breakfast After Midnight menu at its Ohio locations, but it stuck to its rigid 4 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. breakfast schedule elsewhere to save grill space. However, as stagnant to slumping sales prompt Ronald & Co. to toy with new menu offerings like popcorn chicken and suggest that employees be kinder to customers, all options are on the table.
Breakfast has been the weapon of choice for McDonald's lately, with its popular Egg McMuffin serving as the chain's favorite tool for bludgeoning enemies both in the U.S. and abroad. McDonald's chipped away at the Egg McMuffin's 300 calories by offering the new Egg White Delight version that tones down the yolk and swaps in a whole-wheat muffin.
And in China, to avoid the wrath of a TV news show that was critical of the company in 2012, McDonald's unleashed 1 million free McMuffins on Chinese consumers in a pre-emptive strike earlier this year, Reuters reported.
McDonald's first-quarter same-store sales, a key restaurant metric of sales at locations open for at least one year, were off 1% worldwide. While the chain cites the loss of an extra sales day from 2012's leap year, the spit-take reaction to its new Fish McBites here in the States and competition from fast-casual chains like Panera Bread (PNRA) and Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) certainly haven't helped.
While making breakfast an all-day affair would bring in a rush of new business, Thompson says, it's going to take more than that to bolster the sagging Golden Arches.
The chief exec also mentioned that McDonald's is mulling delivery at some of its sites in the U.S., "particularly in areas that don't have drive-thrus," he said. If that urban-minded plan sounds oddly familiar, it's because rival Burger King (BKW) launched delivery in test markets including New York, Miami, Houston and Washington, D.C.
Instead of cribbing other companies' innovations, maybe McDonald's should just listen to Douglas and many of its other loyal eaters, free up some grill space and keep those sausages, eggs and cheese biscuits coming.
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