OAK BROOK, Ill. -- The new CEO of McDonald's is making big changes to try to boost the chain's stagnant sales. His boldest move yet starts Tuesday: all-day breakfast.
It's harder than it sounds.
McDonald's started testing all-day breakfast in a few places in March. To go nationwide, more than 14,300 restaurants in the U.S. needed to install separate griddles and train staff on how to handle breakfast orders simultaneously with lunch and dinner.
The rollout is further complicated by the fact franchisees have been urging the company to cull the number of items they serve. The operators say the bloated menu makes it hard to run the restaurants and leads to longer wait times.
Still, McDonald's insists that franchisees supported the decision to serve pancakes and egg sandwiches all day long. U.S. stores account for about 40 percent of global profits at McDonald's. And profits are suffering -- down 9 percent last year.
The fine print reveals all-day breakfast might not mean exactly what you think, according to WGN.
According to the McDonald’s website, “Depending on the local market, All Day Breakfast will have a limited menu that focuses on either McMuffin or Biscuit items.”
The two menu options offer a very limited number of breakfast items — and there will only be one or the other available “based on customer preference.”
If your local McDonald’s is serving the McMuffin option, it appears the only sandwiches available will be the Egg McMuffin, Sausage McMuffin with Egg and Sausage McMuffin.
If it’s the Biscuit option: Bacon, Egg and Cheese Biscuit; Sausage Biscuit with Egg; and Sausage Biscuit.
There will also be a handful of sides and hot cakes available with each menu.
McDonald's hopes it can stem the losses by getting new customers into its restaurants, while ensuring that loyal lunch and dinner customers don't opt for breakfast instead because those items generally cost less.
All-day breakfast is just one piece of CEO Steve Easterbrook plan for McDonald's. Since he took over in March, the company has taken steps to improve food quality. It now requires chicken suppliers to reduce the use of antibiotics and started using real butter instead of liquid margarine.
McDonald's has also been advertising the "Premium Buttermilk Crispy Chicken Deluxe Sandwich," made with 100 percent chicken breast meat and real buttermilk and no artificial flavors.
But the biggest boost for sales will likely be all-day breakfast. RBC analyst David Palmer believes it will boost sales by 4 percent.
"McDonald's U.S. business wants and needs a win," said Palmer. "All-day breakfast is a start but the company needs to build on it."