McDonald’s is pushing its operational limits by adding another breakfast favorite to its all-day breakfast menu: the McGriddle. But, there is a catch.
This delicious fluffy-on-the-outside, heaven-on-the-inside sandwich is only available to customers in Tulsa, Oklahoma, beginning Feb. 1. According to CNBC, the McGriddle will be available in 72 restaurants in Tulsa.
“This is a customer-led initiative,” said McDonald’s spokeswoman Lisa McComb. “Once we launched all-day breakfast, we’ve heard from our customers that they would love McGriddles.”
Despite McDonald’s recent claims of wanting to “simplify” operations, McDonald’s restaurants in Tulsa will also be offering breakfast sandwiches made with biscuits. This new expanded all-day breakfast menu could prove to be too much of a strain on kitchen operations, especially during the afternoon shift.
The syrupy pancake buns for McGriddles and biscuits would need to be warmed up in ovens, which are also used to heat up apple pies, cookies, and mozzarella sticks during lunch hours, LeAnn Richards, a McDonald’s franchisee who led a task force on all-day breakfast, told CNBC.
According to the Chicago Tribune, the Oak Brooke company is attempting to walk the line between giving customers what they want – the expanded all-day breakfast menu – and making sure its franchisees and their employees can meet the demand.
“It’s too premature to talk about next steps,” Deborah Wahl, chief marketing officer for McDonald’s U.S. told CNBC.
According to the Chicago Tribune, 132 restaurants in the Kansas City market have been serving Sausage McGriddle sandwiches since last month.
Despite the company’s recent jump in sales, it is still unclear how the all-day breakfast menu is benefiting the chain and whether or not the effects will last.
“We begin 2016 in a much better place than we were 12 months ago,” Steve Easterbrook, chief executive of McDonald’s, said during a conference call with investment analysts.
The company’s profits in the fourth quarter improved 10 percent to $1.2 billion, or $1.31 a share, from $1.1 billion, or $1.13 a share, in the same quarter in 2014, reported the New York Times. The company also reaped benefits from cutting costs and raising prices.
The impact of higher wages that the company is paying employees in the restaurants it operates was offset by lower commodity prices, Chief Financial Officer Kevin Ozan told the New York Times.
Customer traffic in the United States continued to decline and “guest counts” dropped 3 percent in 2015 after falling 4.1 percent the year before.
“We need to do more to increase loyalty in our existing customers and win back customers,” Easterbrook said.
According to Mark Kalinowski, an investment analyst at Nomura, McDonald’s all-day breakfast menu was the biggest driver of the company’s sales at the end of the year.
“Clearly, all-day breakfast is helping bring back lapsed customers and may even be bringing in new customers who wouldn’t normally be going to McDonald’s,” Kalinowski said in an interview. “I’m hearing that from franchisees – and from friends, too.”
Easterbrook says the bump from all-day breakfast gave the company room to work on other things like improving food quality, developing new promotional programs, and improving the experience customers have in the drive-through lanes.
[Photo by Tonya Wise/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images]