Well, McDonald’s finally gave its customers the thing they’d been begging for, and the move is doing wonders for business. The chain announced Monday that its sales spiked during the fourth quarter of 2015, rising 5.7 percent at locations open more than a year (that’s the all-important metric known as “comparable sales”). The cause? The company says it benefited “from the October launch of All Day Breakfast and, to a lesser extent, unseasonably mild weather.”
Yes, all-day McMuffins seem to be saving McDonald’s hide. For almost two years, pretty much nothing went right for the company. It suffered seven straight quarters of comparable sales declines in the U.S. from the end of 2013 to the middle of 2015, as it struggled with competition from upmarket chains like Chipotle and Five Guys. Its international business also stumbled thanks to a health scare in China. But under the leadership of a new CEO, McDonald’s has been pushing hard on a plan to modernize its brand a bit, and in October, it finally stopped resisting demands to offer breakfast after 10:30 a.m. A survey by market researchers NDP found that the move was “luring in new and lapsed customers,” as the Wall Street Journal put it. For the past two quarters, comparable sales have been rising.
Now, might some of this also have to do with Chipotle’s recent travails over food safety? Perhaps. But really, the lesson here is that you should always listen to the O’Jays.