McDonald’s is suspending its all-day breakfast menu to limit the pressure on its stores during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“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 temporarily removing some items from the menu over the next few weeks,” Bill Garrett, the senior vice president of McDonald’s U.S. operations, said in a statement. “We will regularly evaluate the situation and look to move back to our regular menu as soon as possible.”
The all-day menu was introduced in 2015 and provided a significant boost for the company. In April 2016, profits surged 35 percent to $1.1 billion. U.S. comps increased 5.4 percent. The company attributed the positive results in part to the all-day breakfast menu. It expanded in September 2016 to include McGriddle sandwiches, and the brand made both McMuffin and biscuit sandwiches available at all restaurants. Breakfast drives about 25 percent of sales for the major chain.
Last year, McDonald’s gave ground-level operators the flexibility to select the breakfast items they serve, and when. The company said at the time that it would allow restaurants to provide a faster, better experience for customers and reduce complexity.
Nearly all U.S. locations are operating via drive-thru, takeout, or delivery. Some locations have limited hours. McDonald’s is offering free delivery on orders of $15 or more through April 6 on Uber Eats and DoorDash.
The fast-food chain closed all 1,270 units in the U.K. because of the virus. The company said people directly employed by the company would receive full pay for their scheduled hours until April 5, according to the BBC. Restaurants are also closed in France, Italy, and Spain.
McDonald’s said in an SEC filing Wednesday that COVID-19’s impact on sales cannot be reasonably estimated yet. The brand is working with franchisees to provide financial relief such as rent deferrals.
Taco Bell said last week some locations would halt breakfast starting March 18. Those units began operation at 10 a.m.
According to insights platform Sense360, which gathers data from millions of customers, breakfast has seen a 25 percent drop in quick service, year-over-year (from March 9 to March 22). While all dayparts are dropping, as the below graph charts, breakfast is seeing the steepest decline.