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The Pandemic Drove McDonald's All-Day Breakfast From the Menu, Maybe for Good

By Rich Duprey – Sep 24, 2020 at 9:42AM

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Franchisees believe kitchen simplicity is the key to success.

McDonald's (MCD) popular all-day breakfast options were taken off the menu back in March to help simplify and speed up the ordering times amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Fast-forward six months and McDonald's still has not brought all-day breakfast back to the menu, even though some other items that were also removed at the time are now available again. 

Yet if employees and franchisees have their way, all-day breakfast might be gone for good.

Customer reaching out of car to receive McDonald's order from employee offering it out of the drive-thru window

Image source: McDonald's.

Keeping business moving

After years of consumers clamoring for the ability to order a McGriddle at 4 p.m., McDonald's launched the all-day breakfast menu in 2015 to great fanfare and it snapped a two-year slide in same-store sales.

Yet the program was never popular with employees and franchisees because it slowed down the meal-making process and caused more congestion in already crowded kitchens. Since all-day breakfast was eliminated in March, President and CEO Chris Kempczinski says drive-thru window speed has improved by 15 to 20 seconds on average, which is significant for a business where most of its dining rooms remain closed.

McDonald's National Owner's Association, which represents about 80% of the fast-food chain's U.S. franchisees, voted in June to keep all-day breakfast off the menu for good. Business Insider reports franchisees believe faster service and simplicity in the kitchen are much more important to McDonald's long-term success than all-day breakfast.

The breakfast menu is cheaper than the one for the rest of the day, which means franchisees are not making as much money off the same customers. As Kempczinski told analysts in July, while a number of items will return, "It's also equally a safe bet that we're not going to go all the way back to where we were."

All-day breakfast looks like it may be one of the casualties.

Rich Duprey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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