This morning, Americans are finally able to wake up and take their sweet time getting ready for the day ahead: McDonald’s has begun serving all-day breakfast nationwide. Egg McMuffins for everyone, not just those who can get there before 10:30am.
Restaurants have broadly shown more interest in breakfast. In July 2014, 63% of all restaurants in the US served breakfast, up from about 50% four years earlier, according to market research firm Datassential. The menu expansion appears to be working, as mornings have become the only restaurant daypart to see consistent growth in terms of visitors, according to NPD Group.
But for a chain like McDonald’s, the demand for all-day breakfast revolves around Americans’ love of the breakfast sandwich, by far the most popular breakfast item at restaurants, according to Bonnie Riggs of NPD Group.
Despite their affection for a good bacon, egg, and cheese, Americans are less inclined to make them at home than the individual ingredients.
The reason likely comes down to convenience (or laziness, depending on your perspective). The handheld, on-the-go nature of breakfast sandwiches makes them appealing to someone heading to work, says Annika Stensson of the National Restaurant Association. At home, they require multiple ingredients and clean up, which might diminish their appeal.
Our addiction has a downside: Breakfast sandwiches remain protein, carb and fat heavy. Adding vegetables to breakfast sandwiches ”would be an opportunity,” says Riggs, who notes that more and more Americans are cutting their meat consumption.
For now, though, the only vegetable in sight (most of the time) is the hash brown—which depending on who you ask, doesn’t even count.