Since McDonald’s announced it would start making popular items on its breakfast menu available all day, it’s become quite the popular kid on the fast-food block. According to a new survey by YouGov BrandIndex, consumer sentiment about McDonald’s hit a two-year high — a reversal of more than a year’s worth of below-average consumer perception among its fast-food peers. The survey also showed that perceptions of the brand’s value and quality, as well as customer satisfaction, are all trending up after a yearlong slide.
So might business: The survey found that among people who eat breakfast at restaurants at least once a month, nearly half said they’d consider McDonald’s the next time they grabbed the meal on the go. That’s up several percentage points since the last time YouGov asked this question, and it’s far beyond the 15% average for the fast food sector overall. Among this crowd, McDonald’s “Buzz score”—a -100 to +100 metric that tracks positive impressions (0 is neutral) rebounded from negative territory over the summer to a positive 16, compared with only 6 for the fast food sector as a whole.
That is sure to be welcomed by McDonald’s, whose president Michael Andres even went so far as to suggest all-day breakfast could be the “catalyst for our turnaround” in an interview with the Wall Street Journal. The move has been labeled a crowd pleaser, which is something that’s been in short supply lately.
McDonald’s has a lot on its plate these days besides McMuffins (or biscuits, if you’re in the Southeast). It’s contending with soft sales, bad press about its compensation practices in spite of a promise to raise worker pay at company-owned restaurants (a pledge critics quickly pointed out would only affect about 12% of employees), and increasing discontent from franchise owners. This last challenge could spell more serious trouble ahead, because McDonald’s is going to depend on those franchisees to deliver an all-day breakfast experience that lives up to the early buzz.
Business Insider suggests this could be an uphill battle. A recent article says franchisees are blasting the rollout, saying that it’s slowing down their operation, dragging down average receipts (fast food diners typically spend less on breakfast than lunch or dinner purchases) and creating “chaos in the kitchens,” according to one analyst’s research cited by the publication. “All-day breakfast is a non-starter,” said one franchisee.
In other words, if you’re a McD’s fan who wants to get your Egg McMuffin on at all hours, it might not be a bad idea to hustle over to a drive-thru while this menu change is still as popular with McDonald’s executives as it is with their customers.