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McDonald's Expansion of Breakfast Hours a Step Toward Serving Long-Ignored Outcry of All-Day Egg McMuffins

LOS ANGELES, August 15, 2012 () – There’s a reason why a lot of casual-dining restaurants offer breakfast all day long: Because people like having the option of eating bacon and eggs whenever they want. Sometimes, a good cheese omelet for dinner really hits the spot.

For whatever reason, however, major fast-food chains have been slow—excruciatingly slow—to serve breakfast items at times other than breakfast. While Jack in the Box is an exception (they’ve been serving their breakfast food all day long since the mid-1990s, according to one company official), major quick-service establishments limit their morning fare to…well, the morning.

That’s why it’s nice to see McDonald’s Corp. begin expanding its breakfast hours. The burger chain recently announced that it was going to offer its line of breakfast items starting at midnight at select markets. Boston, Denver and most of central Ohio are among the markets either participating or exploring the option.

Frankly, I don’t know what took McDonald’s so long. For that matter, what’s taking Burger King and Carl’s Jr. so long to get on board? If there’s a market for breakfast food at all hours for casual-restaurant diners, why not for fast-food diners as well?

Know this: Most people who eat pancakes for dinner at IHOP are the same people who venture to fast-food establishments on a regular or semi-regular basis. So it stands to reason that if you like breakfast at odd times at one place, you’ll like breakfast at odd times at another place.

McDonald’s hasn’t gone all in like Jack in the Box and made Egg McMuffins available at any time. But the fact that they’re expanding breakfast hours in some markets might entice their peers to do the same. After all: McDonald’s is the biggest fast-food chain in the world, and you always follow the leader.

Nevin Barich is the Food & Beverage Analyst for Industry Intelligence Inc., a market intelligence and information management firm based in Los Angeles. Nevin is also excited to have a chance to satisfy his late-night Egg McMuffin cravings. He can be reached at n.barich@industryintel.com

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