McDonald’s Ramps Up Marketing of All-Day Breakfast

After posting its strongest quarter in nearly four years following the launch of all-day breakfast, McDonald’s has decided to focus its marketing might in the near term on promoting Egg McMuffins, hotcakes and other breakfast items in hopes of building a winning streak.

The company tells USA TODAY it has bought a 30-

After posting its strongest quarter in nearly four years following the launch of all-day breakfast, McDonald’s has decided to focus its marketing might in the near term on promoting Egg McMuffins, hotcakes and other breakfast items in hopes of building a winning streak.

The company tells USA TODAY it has bought a 30-second spot just before kickoff of Sunday’s Super Bowl to air a new advertisement called “Good Morning,” promoting the all-day breakfast menu.

The ad, which plays off the  popular children’s book Good Night Moon, shows young women laughing over breakfast after a night at the bars, a pregnant woman eating hotcakes in the evening as her partner puzzles over assembling a crib, and a young couple sharing a yogurt parfait on the roof of an iconic Los Angeles hotel before sunrise.

Deborah Wahl, the company’s chief marketing officer, points to demographics that show that all-day breakfast reflects a reality that traditional breakfast hours are increasingly out of sync with a wide swath of American workers.  About 15 million Americans work full time on an evening shift, night shift, rotating shifts or other employer arranged irregular schedules, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“From customers overall, there’s an increasing trend toward flexibility in terms of their schedule and what they want to eat and when they want to eat breakfast,” Wahl said in an interview. “We’re seeing that trend grow especially with a younger audience.”

McDonald’s says they will pay homage, while promoting their all-day breakfast, to those odd hour workers by delivering free breakfast on Friday to some 2,100 television meteorologists and weather reporters — careers that come with unusual work and eating schedules.

The company also plans a push of the breakfast anytime concept by giving away breakfast items from a food truck they call “McRig” this month to after-party revelers at the GRAMMY awards in Los Angeles and the Daytona 500.

The company also began testing the sale of McGriddles — a breakfast sandwich that features eggs, cheese and meat served between two sweetened pancakes — beyond traditional breakfast hours in the Tulsa market earlier this week.

McDonald’s had kept the popular item off the all-day breakfast menu when it was launched in October because of concerns that operators would not have enough grill space to cook breakfast and lunch items if the McGriddle was included. The test underscores that the company is looking to see how far it can push all-day breakfast and each restaurant’s operational capabilities.

CEO Steve Easterbrook counted the launch of all-day breakfast as one of several factors that increased sales by 5.7% at stores open at least a year for the quarter that ended on Dec. 31. Mild weather in much of the country, price increases and a renewed focus on efficiency — such as speeding up drive-thru times — was also credited with helping improve sales.

But some analysts say it may be too early to properly judge the long-term impact all-day breakfast will have on turnaround efforts at the nation’s biggest fast food chain, which broke out of a seven quarter losing streak at U.S. stores in October.

McDonald’s says that all-day breakfast has provided boosts to sale late in the afternoon and during dinner. But the most significant lift to sales at restaurants comes between 11 a.m. and 12 p.m., which may suggest that the breakfast push might be gaining traction with late risers but not necessarily changing customer behavior.

Still, McDonald’s executives in Oak Brook, Ill. express confidence that they have a winner with the launch of a limited breakfast menu throughout store hours. Restaurant operators, however, have offered mixed response to all-day breakfast, according to a survey conducted last month by Mark Kalinowski, an industry analyst for Nomura.

Some operators told Kalinowski that all-day breakfast has raised McDonald’s profile and brought back customers who had become tired of the Golden Arches. But some franchisees also complained in the survey that the breakfast push has put stress on workers and led to slower service at restaurants.

“Killing service and causing chaos in the kitchens during the non-breakfast times,” one franchisee said. “It has also caused management turnover, and crew turnover out of frustration. Employee morale is down because of it.”

Easterbrook, who was tapped last year to lead the company, has vowed to simplify McDonald’s menu.

One frustration for franchisees is that the push for all-day breakfast, which has added complexity to restaurant operations, hasn’t been coordinated with commensurate cuts to the menu, said Richard Adams, a former McDonald’s franchisee and founder of the Franchise Equity Group.

Adams suggested that the company cut the menu by 20% in some markets.

“The original concept of McDonald’s was a very limited menu and very fast service,” Adams noted. “Over the last 20 years, McDonald’s decided it had to be all things to all people and the menu has just grown and grown and grown.”

Written by Aamer Madhani of USA Today

(Source: USA Today)

 

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