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.

By Jason Notte Apr 29, 2013 3:13PM
File photo of a McDonald’s breakfast menu at a McDonald's restaurant on Sept. 12, 2012 in New York (© Mark Lennihan/AP)Hey, McDonald's (MCD) chief executive Don Thompson: If you give an interview and hint at all-day breakfast anywhere but in your opening statement, you're committing the sin journalists call "burying the lede."

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.

More on moneyNOW

Apr 29, 2013 4:07PM
if McDonalds would have breakfast all day I would eat there a lot more, I get tiered of the same old stuff.
Apr 29, 2013 3:52PM
If I could get a McGriddle and Fries for lunch/dinner I would never eat at another fast food restuarant
Apr 29, 2013 4:29PM
McD's breakfest anytime would be great!
Apr 29, 2013 4:08PM
They would get my business more often.
The other night I tried to order breakfast at a McDonald's at 11:30pm and was told no way Jose until 12midnight. I went right down the street to Whataburger and got a great breakfast sandwich just like I like it.

Apr 29, 2013 4:36PM
Mc D's needs to do this. They would get more of my $$$$.
Apr 29, 2013 4:41PM
people just don't eat breakfast from 4am to 10:30am. especially on the weekends.
Apr 29, 2013 4:36PM
if mickey d does have suasage egg mc muffin all day. i'm in i love those things and i have been telling my local store to do this for years. they are not just for breakfast anymore, ya know.
Apr 29, 2013 6:07PM
The breakfast menu is much better than the burgers...maybe they would do better just to have breakfast all day and nothing else.
Apr 29, 2013 4:41PM
FINALLY!!  I've been enjoying this option with Jack-in-the-Box for years, and now I could possible have a deluxe big breakfast for dinner?!!  YUM!!    The best part is the breakfasts cost less, so you can now save money on dinner!  As for the delivery option.... not sure I would do that and trust it to be in my hands while it was still hot!  lol
Apr 29, 2013 6:05PM
Apr 29, 2013 6:32PM
I've been saying that McDonald's should offer breakfast 24 hours a day for years. It really is a no brainer. The drive-thru lines are down the street at 3am on Fri and Sat nights at JNTB. That is a huge portion of revenue that they are missing out on. 
Apr 29, 2013 5:10PM
great idea.  breakfast and fries are the only food at mcdonalds that is any good.
Apr 29, 2013 5:03PM
I think the breakfast all day is a great idea! But I dunno, I think I'd be kinda embarrassed to have my junk food delivered. Seems EXTRA slovenly to me.
Apr 29, 2013 6:36PM
Apr 29, 2013 4:43PM
Thumbs up to tell all the McD's haters: "bite me."
Apr 29, 2013 4:50PM
I'm happy if I can get breakfast there later sometimes, but delivery isn't something I'd necessarily go for. They had it where I live back in the 90s. It was okay, but sometimes, you just need to go out and get your food.
Apr 29, 2013 4:51PM

Breakfast served all day might be a good idea, but delivery? Imagine getting the wrong items with a side of incompetence, rudeness and that famous I don't care attitude at your door without ever having to leave the comfort of your home.


I wonder if they will use any of this in their advertising if they go ahead with it? 

Apr 29, 2013 7:44PM
Fantastic idea - now all they need to do is fix those speaker boxes at the drive thru windows and ensure that the people at the McD end of the speaker are english literate!
Apr 29, 2013 6:11PM
McDonald's has the ability to offer Coke Zero by eliminating one of the two fountain heads it has for Diet Coke. Many of McDonald's competitors already offer it.
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