MCMUFFIN MALAISE

Countless Egg McMuffins later, the all-day breakfast is no longer saving McDonald’s

For a brief moment, Americans were gaga about McDonald’s all-day breakfast. They had it for lunch, dinner, and even late at night. Hell, they were even ordering Egg McMuffins as side items for lunch.

The fast food chain’s CEO, Steve Easterbrook, was lauded for his decision to embrace an all-day breakfast menu in October 2015, which helped earn him a 368% increase in total compensation (including an 18% salary boost). That makes sense, as all-day breakfast heralded five straight quarters of same-store sales growth in its US locations.

But numbers reported today show the company now finds itself again staring at shrinking sales.

Sales at stores open for at least a year shrank by 1.3% in the fourth quarter of 2016 from the same period a year earlier, the first decline since all-day breakfast was introduced. Overall, quarterly revenue fell 5% to $6 billion. For the entire year, revenue in 2016 was $24.6 billion for the chain, 3% less than in 2015.

Shares in the company fell 0.9% in early trading.

Shrinking sales in the US is the same problem McDonald’s found itself grappling with for much of 2013, 2014, and 2015. The company hasn’t had great consumer reception to new menu items, yet still it’s rolling out new versions of classic products in an attempt to lure younger consumers to its menu when they have many, many alternative fast-casual options that use fresh ingredients.

Whether its latest plan of offering a suite of Big Macs will help boost sales remains to be seen—though it seems unlikely Big Macs will be the new breakfast.

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