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But can global breakfast domination save the company?

Maxine Builder
January 13, 2017

2016 might have been the year that all-day breakfast saved McDonald's, but as Jordan G. Teicher noted on this site in October, the company needs another big success to keep on thriving. So rather than try to reinvent the wheel, McDonald's is doubling down on the all-day breakfast thing. McDonald's seems to be hoping to replicate the breakaway success of all-day breakfast in the United States by expanding McDonald's breakfast around the world. That includes the introduction of all-day breakfast in Canada and new McDonald's breakfast items in India that are takes on classic Indian breakfast dishes.

Yes, McDonald's has finally started offering all-day breakfast in Canada, serving Egg McMuffins, hash browns, and whatever else is on the Canadian breakfast menu. It's still just a test, though—and only available in 17 restaurants in Ontario, British Columbia, and Quebec. But, according to The Canadian Press, if all goes well, the program will expand across the country.

McDonald's in India, meanwhile, is launching a new South Indian-inspired Masala Dosa Brioche, which is the McDonald's take on a traditional masala dosa patty—made with fermented rice, potatoes, and lentils—served up on a brioche bun. They'll also be making Masala Scrambled Eggs, along with other McDonald's breakfast classics. (I'm looking at you, hash browns.) This too, however, is limited to the company's stores in Mumbai.

There are plenty of folks in both Canada and India who are excited about the new breakfast additions at McDonald's. As one Canadian Twitter user happily exclaimed:

And there are definitely some people in India who've already become fans of the Masala Dosa Brioche:

These are the precisely the customers McDonald's is trying to woo—which is good news for the fast food company that's looking for overseas success. According to Forbes, "Foundational markets (Japan, India and other South East Asian countries) account for slightly more than 10 percent of McDonald’s franchised revenues. These markets are critical for the company’s future growth." But those so-called foundational markets are in trouble. McDonald's has been, very publicly, selling most of its stores in China and Hong Kong, and earlier this month, there were reports from the Wall Street Journal that McDonald's is also trying to sell its stores in Japan. Given these financial difficulties, it makes sense that McDonald's would be interested in trying out the biggest financial success as of late—expanded and all-day breakfast—in markets that need a lift.

But these new breakfast menus are not without their issues from consumers. Although there are plenty of folks who are into the idea of all-day breakfast in the Great White North, the brand still struggles with shedding "its junk food image," according to a report from Canada's Financial Post.

The feedback on social media from Indian customers on social media about the new Masala Dosa Brioche, however, has been overwhelmingly negative, despite a few upbeat shout-outs on Twitter. Many people have been essentially accusing McDonald's of trying to pander to an Indian audience with a take on a traditional dish that’s really nothing like the original but uses the same name. (Dosas are usually super-light and airy, the exact opposite of a bun.)

Among the sales of McDonald's restaurants in major overseas markets, poor feedback on India's new breakfast items, and limited offerings of all-day breakfast in Canada, it's starting to look like McDonald's attempts to make breakfast happen worldwide might backfire—and breakfast alone might not be enough to make McDonald's great again. So maybe it is true that someday soon, Starbucks could upend McDonald's as the leading sign of American fast food. But, hey. At least we've finally got the Chicken McGriddle here in the United States.

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