McDonalds has released an internal memo to its franchises saying that they should prepare for the possibility of an October rollout of a limited-breakfast all-day menu. It is no secret that McDonalds has been struggling the last few years as consumers move to other options in a never-ending sea of fast food and quick service options (as well as healthier options). McDonalds has, at least in my estimation, also done a poor job in marketing (anyone need more lovin?) and positioning its brand as both relevant and important.
This memo to its franchises, though not definite, just feels like McDonalds doing more of the same – grasping at anything with no sense of direction for its brand.
Based upon some success in San Diego and Nashville, the McDonalds all day breakfast menu will be offered, citing that “Our customers love it — they’ve been asking for it for years…”
McDonalds hopes this new menu will help its sagging sales but this kind of thinking is exactly why McDonald’s is failing to regain its lost traction. Think about what McDonald’s is saying when it rationalizes this step by saying, “Our customers love it — they’ve been asking for it for years…”
McDonalds is saying that people, its customers, have been asking for it for years – the people that already are choosing McDonalds. So I ask you, are those people who are asking for it going to a competitor for fast-food breakfast at lunch or dinner? Likely not.
Breakfast all day is a temporary fix.
Locally, Sonic is the only all-day full menu breakfast drive-thru restaurant and, while it has some success with breakfast items later in the night, its focus on lunch and dinner is certainly on traditional items with emphasis on shakes and beverages.
I guess McDonalds’ customers could go to a Denny’s, IHOP, Waffle House, Cracker Barrel or the like but that would mean no drive-thru. My hunch is that most of those asking for it are coming in at 11 am, trying to order an Egg McMuffin, or the late night crowd who want an order of fries and a breakfast burrito.
While a move like this will certainly give McDonalds a marginal boost in some markets, it will not rescue McDonalds from its sagging sales. When you throw in the operational complication, this is a recipe for failed expectations on the part of McDonalds management. The problems of McDonalds are deeper than offering breakfast at other day parts. The once vital McDonalds brand has failed to remain relevant, vital and important. Breakfast at lunch or dinner will not make the brand.