McDonald's $1 breakfast menu banks on America's love of cheap meat

Sarah Gilbert

Breakfast for a dollar will become more varied than ever at McDonald's (MCD) restaurants early in January, a company spokesperson said Thursday. The choices, including the sausage McMuffin, sausage burrito, sausage biscuit, small coffee and a hash brown, will complement the eight lunch and dinner menu items currently available for $1 each in the U.S. It's a move that the company's management surely intends to combat a decline in U.S. sales that hit the burger maker hard in November.

The chain had been testing the dollar breakfast menu in Chicago, where Dunkin Donuts is also serving a variety of menu items for 99 cents each. In Kansas City, Mo., and Pittsburgh, Wendy's (WEN) will be testing its own revamped breakfast menu, which will surely include several items joining its 99 cent super value menu, with the intention of rolling it out nationwide in 2011. The chain's 2006 breakfast strategy was retooled due to slack demand. Analysts say these cheap breakfast offerings are a must for the chains in a period of unusually high unemployment. With "fewer people commuting to work, fewer people are coming in for breakfast," writes Paul Ziobro in The Wall Street Journal, logically.