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McDonald's eyes extending breakfast hours

McDonald's Sales

OAK BROOK, Ill. (AP) - McDonald's is in the early stages of looking at whether it can make breakfast available later in the day.

Fans of the Egg McMuffin and Sausage Biscuit have long wanted the option to get breakfast at McDonald's after 10:30 a.m. But offering both the breakfast and lunch menu was considered logistically impossible, given the tight kitchen spaces of the restaurants.

Still, it's an option the chain is eyeing more seriously at a time when people's eating habits are changing - particularly those coveted customers in their 20s and 30s known as Millennials.

"We know, as an example, that breakfast on the weekend cut off at 10:30 doesn't go very well," Jeff Stratton, head of McDonald's USA, said in an interview.

Stratton declined to provide any details on how McDonald's would adjust kitchen operations to make breakfast later in the day.

"Well, we're just beginning. ... We're just taking a look at it," he said.

A representative for McDonald's, Lisa McComb, said after the interview that there are no tests currently in place for the extended breakfast hours.

McDonald's has long entertained the idea of serving breakfast throughout the day. But the chain has been inching closer to making the idea a reality as it faces heightened competition and slumping sales. Last year, for example, the company began offering an "After Midnight" menu at select locations. The menu, available from midnight to 4 a.m., consisted of a limited mix of breakfast and lunch items so kitchen operations wouldn't be overwhelmed.

The push to make breakfast outside normal hours also reflects how McDonald's is working to keep pace with shifting habits. In particular, executives have noted that customers increasingly want foods personalized to their tastes and schedules.

To cater to evolving tastes, the chain is also offering newer items such as chicken McWraps and the option to substitute egg whites in any breakfast sandwich.

As for extending its breakfast hours, McDonald's is known for treading extremely carefully when discussing any tests or potential changes. Such matters are considered sensitive in large part because they would require the support of the company's network of franchisees.

In the U.S., about 90 percent of the company's more than 14,000 U.S. restaurants are run by franchisees, who bear the responsibility of training employees and buying new equipment to accommodate any changes.

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larry February 24 2014 at 12:13 PM

I usually end up going to another reasturant for breafest alot since mcdonalds closes breakfest at 10:30 at least do until noon.

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Tina February 24 2014 at 12:55 PM

All these new offerings...egg whites etc...but for 20 years i have to basically draw a map if I want a BEC Muffin. I don't like buscuits...never have. Try to order a bacon egg cheese on a muffin instead of a buscuit...they look at you like you got three heads! You can get a BEC on anything else...little pancakes, even a bagel...but holy mess...try to get in on a muffin! Good luck gettin an egg white!

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hayden.conner February 24 2014 at 8:50 PM

Our McDonald's offer 24-hour service. I passed by at 5 am and had a hankering for a sausage McMuffin but was told that before 6:30 am you can't get breakfast items. Who eats a Big Mac at 6 am?

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1 reply
Richie hayden.conner February 24 2014 at 9:01 PM

Stoners / drunkards? 18 wheels hopped up on pills?

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illfirsdonill February 24 2014 at 8:23 PM

I'd rather have breakfast for lunch

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dmcglynn0519 February 24 2014 at 3:46 PM

The only organization that seems to move slower in the marketplace than the Vatican is McDonald's. I worked for a franchise 33 years ago, and this was as big an issue back then as it is today (so stop blaming the millennials for this too). I used to manage a breakfast shift and I can tell you that nothing made me feel worse than telling a customer that I couldn't give them what they wanted... either breakfast after 10:30, or a hamburger before 10:30. At the time, logistically, it made sense... the cooking processes and facilities just couldn't handle it... it would have meant making kitchens larger, and the potential for waste greater. Today, all these years later, McDonald's still hasn't cracked the code for making this possible? Yes, it would take a little longer to get the product into the customer's hands, but McDonald's has long abandoned the "have it ready before they walk in" model (which greatly reduces waste), and most every customer that wanted an off-hour item was willing to wait a little longer. With their new style kitchens and processes you would think they could now deliver on this... it's a shame they can't (or won't). It's pretty simple... give the customer what they want. This will make them happy and keep them coming back. Don't deliver on this, and they WILL find someplace else.

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fafs10901 February 24 2014 at 1:09 PM

A few months ago, I went to McDonald's on a Saturday around 10:45 AM and was confronted by the lunch menu already on display behind the cashiers. My comment to them was, "Who eats lunch at 10:45 AM?" That is true especially on a Saturday, but really at any time. Yes, there might be a few people who have an early start to their day who would want lunch that early, but I am sure, as McDonald's is finding out, the people who want breakfast at mid-morning and even throughout the day far outnumber them.

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hirningbernell February 24 2014 at 1:22 PM

If "Jack in the Box" can offer breakfast all day long, not quite sure why McDonald's couldn't do the same.

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mche844064 February 24 2014 at 7:51 PM

I HOPE THEY CONTINUE THE BREAKFAST MENU ALL DAY

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abenzrite February 24 2014 at 1:28 PM

Always amazed at what makes the news,,,,,

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mebaise February 24 2014 at 7:47 PM

I SURE DO WISH THEY WOULD HAVE LONGER BREAKFAST HOURS I LOVE THIER BREAKFASTS BUT 11 IS TO SOON TO END IT . PLEASE GO LONGER.

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