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Breakfast Will Be Bigger Than You Think for McDonald's

By Rick Munarriz - Oct 6, 2015 at 3:06PM

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The fast food giant is doing the right thing today by expanding breakfast availability. It's OK to sleep in now.

Source: McDonald's. 

The day has finally arrived when you don't have to worry about what time the breakfast menu morphs into lunch standards at McDonald's (MCD -1.70%). The burger giant's ballyhooed move to offer breakfast all day rolled out nationwide on Tuesday.

You would think the market would embrace the move, but not everybody's happy. From CNBC to Business Insider, many of the articles detailing the move this morning have taken Mickey D's to task for not making the entire breakfast menu available.

We've become pretty spoiled, that's for sure. McDonald's is offering just half of its regular breakfast menu all day, but it's not because the chain is trying to trick or tease you. It has to make sure that folks strolling in for a Big Mac or salad later in the day aren't held up because employees need to toast a bagel or warm up a McGriddle. Those are just two of the items that aren't available all day.

Hash browns are making the cut, but only at 90% of the chain's locations. There is a regional split when it comes to English muffins and biscuit sandwiches. The Egg McMuffin and most of the other muffin-based eats are on the all-day menu at 80% of the stateside units with biscuit-based options in lieu of the English muffin at the other 20% of the stores. 

It doesn't matter. As long as it doesn't slow up the drive-thru lane -- and it shouldn't -- it will be incremental. It's not just about folks adding pancakes or a sausage burrito to a dinnertime order. There will also be a greater incentive to go with pricier McCafe beverages later in the day.

The market seems to get it. Shares of McDonald's hit a new 52-week high earlier today, even though the chain is still in a bit of a funk. Stateside comps have been consistently negative since late 2013, and the McDonald's brand has taken a beating in terms of quality and the public perception of how it treats its employees.

Wall Street is saying that it gets it. Credit Suisse analyst Jason West upgraded the stock late last month, feeling that fundamentals and foot traffic were turning the corner. We'll have a clearer snapshot when McDonald's reports quarterly results in a few weeks. It stopped providing monthly updates earlier this year, and while that has been a way to suppress negative news in the past it could now help build up a positive surprise if comps do finally turn positive.

It's time to wake up and smell the coffee at McDonald's -- and if you wake up late you can still pair that up with a sausage and hotcakes platter.

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