McDonald's reigns supreme as the world's most successful fast-food chain, but there was one change that the company made in recent years that saved its spot atop the leader board: serving breakfast all day long.
For years, the number one customer request that McDonald's received was to offer the breakfast menu past 11 a.m., in most locations. The restaurant's patrons felt that their desires were being ignored, but this was not the case. McDonald's had good reasons for putting away the eggs and pancakes at a specific time, but that didn't stop diners from crying out for all-day breakfast.
Because of the company's reluctance to offer morning items throughout the day, rivals such as Sonic stepped in to fulfill that customer desire.
McDonald's strayed away from having all-day breakfast until 2015. After finally deciding to launch all-day breakfast, the chain experienced not only more financial success, but also a cultural change with the internal thought process in the company's decision-making.
During an appearance at the 2017 RBC Consumer & Retail Conference this month, Kevin Ozan, the McDonald's CFO, explained how the company's internal culture changed by adding breakfast to the all-day menu, according to The Motley Fool..
"The reality was something like All-Day Breakfast. It was the number one most requested thing here in the U.S. And our reason for not doing it always was it was going to be difficult operationally," he said. "So, I don't know if we could really say we were customer centric when [what] we were really being driven by was 'is that going to be hurting ... our ability to be efficient for operation?'"
Essentially, McDonald's learned that its definition of being a customer-focused company needed a new meaning.
"We changed our mindset to saying, all right, if this is a number one request by customers, how are we going to make this work?" Ozan said.
Ozan explained that the company didn't look to drastically change the culture in one fell swoop. However, there was a purpose behind slowly introducing the all-day breakfast menu and releasing more and more items that will be offered around the clock.
"We didn't do everything all at once. That was OK. It was just introducing the idea of having all-day breakfast to people," he said. "Historically, at McDonald's, it was we couldn't do anything until everything was perfected."