It may soon be hit-or-miss for customers craving a late-night Sausage McGriddle or hotcakes at McDonald's.
In an effort to simplify its menu and speed up service, McDonald's is letting individual U.S. franchisees choose which menu items to offer after regular breakfast hours end at 10:30 a.m.
"Giving local restaurants the ability to select the items they serve for their All Day Breakfast menus means an even better, faster experience for customers, day and night," the Chicago-based restaurant chain said in a statement Tuesday.
Launched in 2015, the all-day breakfast offering has been a big hit for McDonald's, bolstering sales and luring more customers to the hamburger giant for Egg McMuffins and sausage burritos throughout the day. But whipping up the full morning menu - with some items more popular than others - may be slowing down and complicating operations for franchisees.
The revamped all-day breakfast will allow local restaurants to simplify their menu and offer only the most popular items after normal breakfast hours.
The change is slated to begin "as early as July," with local franchisees having the option to scale back their breakfast offerings at 10:30 a.m. or 2 p.m. each day.
Darren Tristano, CEO of Foodservice Results, a Chicago-area research and consulting firm, said less may be more in the restaurant industry as more chains trim their menus and move toward specialization.
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"Restaurants are starting to say we can't just do everything and be everything to everyone; we have to be something to someone," Tristano said Wednesday. "Doing one thing and doing it really well is working."
At the same time, Tristano said all-day breakfast has been a winning strategy for McDonald's, tapping into a broader trend that has seen an increase in restaurant chains featuring eggs in their name and on their menu.
McDonald's has 14,000 locations in the U.S., and 95% are independently owned and operated. Operators cannot opt out of all-day breakfast completely, but all can reduce their menu to a select number of items after 10:30 a.m. each day, the company said.
But it may be problematic for McDonald's customers accustomed to ordering the Big Breakfast with Hotcakes for dinner, who will soon face a varying all-day breakfast menu from restaurant to restaurant.
"The good news is, you're already in the drive-thru, so you're probably going to order something else," Tristano said. "The bad news is, you might leave McDonald's with a bad taste in your mouth but quite frankly, consumers already do that."
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