McDonald’s Latest Morning Move: Happy Meals For Breakfast

Nevin Barich

Photo by McDonald's

Photo by McDonald’s

McDonald’s took the offensive last year in the fast-food breakfast wars when it introduced the concept of all-day breakfast items to its menu. And now it’s testing Breakfast Happy Meals that could lead to the fast food chain going in for the kill.

At 73 locations in Tulsa, Oklahoma, McDonald’s will be offering morning kids’ meals, the first major new food entrée to the Happy Meal line in more than three decades. If the test proves successful, the meals could be rolled out across the U.S. next year.

Happy Meal customers will choose between two McGriddles or the new Egg & Cheese McMuffin that comes without Canadian bacon. Kids can also pick two sides: apple slices or yogurt, or, at lunch and dinner, kids’ fries (yes, the meals will be added to the all-day breakfast menu). Hash browns will also be an option at certain restaurants.

The all-day breakfast feature has been a major part of McDonald’s attempts to turn around its lagging U.S. sales, which is responsible for 40% of the company’s business. According to Bonnie Riggs, the NPD Group’s restaurant industry analyst, from April-June 2016, there were 122 million servings of breakfast sandwiches outside of the morning meals. Among those orders, 61% occurred at lunch and 18% occurred at dinner.

So now with Breakfast Happy Meals on the radar, two questions have to be asked: first, will the test be successful?

There’s no reason to think these new Happy Meals won’t be successful. Not only has McDonald’s all-day breakfast menu been a boon for the Golden Arches, but the company has a long history of targeting kids with its menu items and already offers breakfast food with kids in mind such as oatmeal and yogurt. So the audience is already there.

And secondly, will other fast-food chains follow suit?

This question is a little trickier. McDonald’s competitors generally don’t put quite the same emphasis on the kids’ crowd, either in their menu items or their marketing. So even if McDonald’s is successful with its Breakfast Happy Meals and expands them nationwide, it’s not a given that a Burger King or a Taco Bell is going to follow suit with its own kids-based morning meal. Those companies just don’t have the same built-in audience for such products. McDonald’s may have the market cornered here.

Either way, Breakfast Happy Meals is another brilliant move by McDonald’s. It’s something new, it gets a lot of free media attention, and it’s something that competitors will find difficult to replicate.

"McDonald’s Latest Morning Move: Happy Meals For Breakfast" originally published on The Menuism Dining Blog.