Fast food powerhouse McDonald’s began testing all-day breakfast on April 20 in the San Diego market and the chain has high hopes that it will be a huge success with the key customer that the flailing chain strives to service most – Millennials.
The test is comprised of 94 restaurants in the bustling San Diego market. If it becomes a hit with consumers, there’s a good probability McDonald’s will continue expanding it.
“It’s too premature to speculate — but we have lots of options if it’s a big hit,” says Pam Williams, U.S. marketing manager, in a phone interview with USA Today, moments after she arrived in San Diego to observe the test. “It all comes back to what our customers tell us.”
For McDonald’s, this could be one of the most significant tests ran in years. It’s balancing the growing demands of consumers – particularly younger customers – for all-day breakfast with the reality of severely limiting grill and prep space in most of its restaurants which could prove to be a challenge. New CEO Steve Easterbrook, who is eager to be a change agent, doesn’t want to upset franchisees with a failed program at a time sales are already struggling.
“I think they can pull it off,” says Scott Hume, editor of the BurgerBusiness blog. Ultimately, he says, all-day breakfast could attract incremental business by luring some Millennial customers who wouldn’t normally go to McDonald’s, USA Today reported. “McDonald’s executives believe they can do it,” he adds.
This is due in part to the all-day breakfast actually being a limited version of breakfast – emulating the McDonald’s After Midnight breakfast menu. Consumers are able to get items like the iconic McMuffin and Hot Cakes all day long, but after 10:30 a.m., they won’t be able to get other favorites such as McGriddles or Biscuit sandwiches, Williams said.
“We wanted to start with what customers tell us are their favorites,” says Williams. “For this test, we’re starting small.”
A national spread could take place before the year’s end “presuming it does well and the San Diego restaurants don’t encounter unforeseen problems,” Hume predicts. “I just don’t know if I’d bet the house on it.”