McDonald’s, A+W roll out all-day breakfast for Canada

A+W, whose English Muffin Bacon + Egger is shown here, plans to go head to head against McDonald’s in offering all-day breakfast across Canada by the end of February. (CNW Group/A+W Food Services of Canada Inc.)

Burger chains McDonald’s and A+W expect to dial up their demand for Canadian eggs as they offer all-day breakfasts alongside their beef and chicken wares across the country, starting next month.

Toronto-based A+W announced Thursday it would be “the first national burger chain to offer all-day breakfast at its restaurants” coast-to-coast starting Feb. 27, after testing it at about 40 stores in 2016.

McDonald’s also announced Thursday it will offer an all-day breakfast menu across Canada starting Feb. 21. The Illinois-based company already made the move across its U.S. outlets in October 2015 and tested it earlier this month in Canada at 20 stores, mainly in Ontario.

A+W president Susan Senecal, in the company’s release Thursday, described the response in its test markets as “tremendous, particularly from millennials, and we know that breakfast is something Canadians don’t limit to just the morning.”

The company, which already offers all-day burgers, said its all-day breakfast menu will include its Bacon + Egger, Sausage + Egger and Cheese + Egger breakfast sandwiches and Breakfast Wrap.

McDonald’s said its menu expansion will make its McMuffins (Egg, Bacon ‘n Egg, Sausage, Sausage ‘n Egg), Hotcakes and Hashbrowns available after 11 a.m. seven days a week.

McDonald’s on Thursday described the move as “a nod to Canadian egg farmers who provide each Canada Grade A large, freshly cracked egg for the McMuffin breakfast sandwiches.”

McDonald’s said it sources more than 120 million eggs from Canadian farmers and expects that number to “increase dramatically” when all-day breakfast goes live.

A+W, in its release, also emphasized all its eggs, sausage and bacon are sourced from Canadian farmers.

The company, which since 2013 has overhauled its beef, chicken, pork and egg sourcing policies, also reiterated its eggs come from hens that are “fed a diet without animal byproducts and are raised without the use of antibiotics” and its bacon and sausage come from pork “raised without antibiotics.”

“Challenging comparison”

Quick-service chains have been aggressively expanding their breakfast trade in recent years, also including Burger King, Wendy’s and Starbucks.

Observers of the quick-service dining sector in recent months have cautioned, however, that sales growth from an all-day breakfast menu may have its limits, as breakfast items are often lower-priced and may draw traffic away from dinner items if offered at all hours.

McDonald’s in early 2016 reported a significant sales bump from its 2015 all-day breakfast rollout in the U.S., beating expectations.

On Monday, however, the company booked a 1.3 per cent decline in fourth-quarter comparable sales for its U.S. operations, which it said was a reflection of “the challenging comparison against the prior-year launch of the very successful All-Day Breakfast.”

Looking ahead to the first quarter for 2017, the U.S. company’s CEO, Steve Easterbrook, said the firm is “mindful of the comparison we face against first-quarter 2016 results, which benefited from leap year, favourable weather and continued momentum from All-Day Breakfast in the U.S.”

Comparable sales, McDonald’s noted, are driven by changes in guest counts and average check, which in turn are affected by changes in pricing and product mix. “Typically, pricing has a greater impact on average check than product mix,” the company said. — Network

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