McDonald’s Corp. will temporarily suspend its all-day breakfast menu in the coming weeks as the chain simplifies its operations during the coronavirus shutdown.
The company also plans to cut some menu items temporarily while reducing some ingredients, all in a bid to help franchisees operate with fewer workers at a time of weaker sales while seating areas are closed.
“To simplify operations in our kitchens and for our crew, and ensure the best possible experience for our customers, we are working with our franchisees and local restaurants to focus on serving our most popular choices and will begin removing some items from the menu over the next several weeks,” Bill Garrett, senior vice president of operations for McDonald’s USA, said in an emailed statement. “We will regularly evaluate the situation and look to move back to our regular menu as soon as possible.”
McDonald’s introduced all-day breakfast in 2015 as it was trying to invigorate sales after years of weakness, and then expanded it the next year. More recently, the Chicago-based burger giant has been cutting some items from that all-day breakfast menu to improve operations and convince customers to come in during the mornings as traffic in the daypart declined.
The company is expected to suspend all-day breakfast when it simplifies the rest of its menu.
Items expected to be removed include salads and some grilled chicken sandwiches. Changes could also include minor menu item tweaks, such as replacing leaf lettuce with shredded to reduce the number of lettuce items the company carries.
Cutting menu items can help simplify operations, making them more efficient as franchisees deal with a sharp decline in sales. It’s also important, given that the bulk of sales are expected to go through the drive-thru, where speed is paramount.
While fast-food chains with drive-thrus are expected to perform better than other types of restaurants, many McDonald’s operators are still seeing steep declines as customers stay home and commuting has fallen off.
McDonald’s has vowed to help its operators weather the storm, offering rent deferrals, for instance. Now that assistance apparently includes shifting breakfast items back to the morning only.