Hey, McDonald's: Where's that all-day breakfast?

Diners might like the option, but for the company, it could mean bigger logistical challenges and smaller profit margins.

By Benzinga May 13, 2013 3:16PM
A sign outside the fast-food chain McDonaldBy Jim Probasco

Standup comedians joke about it.

The 1993 film "Falling Down" turned it into part of the reason Michael Douglas went berserk. "It," of course, is the McDonald's (MCD) Breakfast Rule.

It says that no matter how hungry you are for an Egg McMuffin, you can't have one after 10:30 a.m. local time weekdays or 11 a.m. on weekends.

All that changed in April when McDonald's boss Don Thompson said on CNBC that the company was considering serving breakfast all day.

"Hallelujah," screamed millions of "pancakes-at-noon" addicts the world over! "Praise Ronald McDonald," exclaimed throngs of "Bacon-egg-and-cheese-bagels for dinner" fans! Except it didn't happen. At least not yet.

So what's the holdup? It could be logistics, according to restaurant-franchisee consultant and former McDonald's restaurant owner, Richard Adams. In a Bloomberg Businessweek report, Adams said "It's been tried and failed repeatedly. It just makes the operation too complicated."

Don Boodel, who owns two McDonald's restaurants in the Denver area, cited a lack of grill capacity as a major obstacle to all-day breakfast. Boodel says burgers and meat in general need to be cooked at a higher temperature than eggs. For the breakfast shift, the crew makes bacon and sausage ahead of time -- something that Boodel says might not be possible during the busy lunch shift.

Adams added that scrambled eggs are another problem since they are labor intensive. He doesn't see a practical way to dedicate crew to stirring eggs at the same time they are needed for serving in-restaurant and drive-thru customers.

There's also an issue with profit margins. Breakfast costs less and generates lower profits than lunch or dinner items. On the other hand, McDonald's owns 48% of the fast food breakfast market, according to a 2012 study by Scarborough and reported by Bloomberg Businessweek.

Barry Klein, a former McDonald's franchisee who is now a marketing consultant in Chicago, believes the solution might lie in a limited all-day breakfast menu, consisting primarily of the breakfast sandwich line. Eliminating pancakes and scrambled eggs, Klein says, eliminates a large part of the problem. Another suggested option would be to serve breakfast a short while longer -- say until noon.

At any rate, Forbes said, the whole notion of all-day breakfast does't just serve a marketing purpose for McDonald's. Given the popularity of Egg McMuffins and all their morning griddle cousins, the move could help boost the company's bottom line -- especially following lower-than-expected first-quarter earnings and a decline in same-store sales.

McDonald's shares were up slightly at $100.41 in afternoon trading, after opening at $99.97 Monday.

More from Benzinga 

As of this writing, Jim Probasco had no position in McDonald’s.

May 13, 2013 5:03PM
If Jack in the Box can do it, so can McDonald's.
May 13, 2013 5:03PM
The only thing I care to eat at McD's is the breakfast. They might increase business if even a limited breakfast offering was made. I have noticed the local McD's are offering breakfast late night which makes sense to me.
May 13, 2013 5:46PM

McDonalds is getting a littile to big for themselves.

The other day I ordered a salad and asked for one exta packet of dressing.

They charged me an additional 89 cents, unbelieveable. No thanks, i will go to Wendy'd where they don't nickel and dime you for every little item. You just lost my buissness Mickey D's !

May 13, 2013 5:56PM
The breakfast sandwiches are they're best meals.  They should tone down the lunch menu to make room for the breakfast all day menu.  I personally would buy the breakfast sandwiches versus the rest of the menu no matter what time of day it happened to be.
May 13, 2013 5:11PM
OK, then why can everybody else do it!?!? Jack in the Box, Carl's, What-A-Burger and I think Burger King too; all seem to manage 24 hour breakfast just fine. Maybe they should install larger grills and get harder working people! I guess they've kinda thrown "the customer is always right" right out the window. Oh and speaking of that, McRib should be a regular menu item! They keep trying to invent all these magnificent failure sandwiches, while one of their most popular is only available 2 months out of the year! Get with it McD!
May 13, 2013 5:34PM
Jack In The Box doesn't have any problems pulling this off! 
May 13, 2013 5:09PM
May 13, 2013 6:06PM
I was in line at 10:26AM and the manager said that is it we are changing to lunch menu.  I was waited on at 10:27am and showed the attendant my time on the iphone and the wall clock.  Said it was too bad for me.  There are NO signs posted that say breakfast  ends at 10:30 or ends at anytime period.
May 13, 2013 6:33PM
My daughter and I talked about this the other day. We really wanted Micky D's breakfast but no go 10 minutes too late - went to Jack n Box for breakfast.
May 13, 2013 5:24PM
They own 48% of the market because they own the "kids" menu.  McDonalds profit margins will continue to shrink if they can't meet the growing market for the rest of us that want real choices.  If breakfast is too hard to make after 10:30 then what's next?  Come on McDonalds, put some of your employees on this issue and solve this simple problem. 
May 13, 2013 6:00PM
At the very least Micky D should serve breakfast until noon every day. I get tired of the BO.
May 13, 2013 5:05PM
Just another reason why I no longer go to McDonalds, besides having hamburgers that are too greasy and tasteless.
May 13, 2013 5:55PM
It's a right wing conspiracy !!   What about us? The oppressed minority that would prefer a Big Mac at 7:00a.m.  Where's the ACLU when you need it?
May 13, 2013 5:17PM
Any of our recently renovated Arches in Northern Delaware and southern NJ offer a limited 24hr breakfast menu.
May 13, 2013 7:03PM
im waiting for everyone to stop being lazy and being fattys and just make your own damn egg sandwich for half the damn price and it will actually have a taste to it
May 13, 2013 5:12PM
Limited breakfast items would help the customers thru lunch.  McD's may also try a machine I saw in a hotel that makes pancakes without anyone being there to run it.  Just push a button and the pancake mix drops into the machine and in 1-2 minutes, you have a pancake.  It might be an answer for the pancake lovers. McD's needs to look at changing their system to satisfy more people.
May 13, 2013 5:19PM
Processed carbs and artificial preservatives. Yummmm!!!!
May 13, 2013 6:29PM
Mc Donalds are starting to get real cheap. They don't even offer free water anymore at a lot of the locations now. Another reason I will not go to Mc Donalds, their food tastes weird.
May 13, 2013 5:47PM
I don't care about all day breakfast. If I want eggs and grits at noon I can go to Waffle House. But I really, really, really want the McRib as a regular menu item. Man, I love those sandwiches.
May 14, 2013 10:20AM

Hey McD's,


Quit McComplaining, spend a few more McDollars to buy some bigger McFreezers, more McGrills and hire more McWorkers and get this all day McBreakfast MgGoing...McDammit!

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