Three years ago, the fast food giant thrilled customers by announcing its all-day breakfast, but since that big announcement, overall U.S. sales have weakened, with lost breakfast customers reportedly to blame.
To hopefully remedy that number, McDonald's is taking a page from Seinfeld's book and selling only the tops of muffins, no "stumps" included.
A search of McDonald's website finds three muffin toppers for sale — lemon poppy seed, blueberry and double chocolate — clocking in at 150, 160 and 170 calories, respectively.
The idea comes from an episode of the sitcom where Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) had an idea to only sell the tops of muffins, though a problem arose in regards to what to do with the rest of the pastry. Elaine tried donating them to a soup kitchen, only to be rejected because the "stumps" were missing their superior topper.
Linda VanGosen, vice president of menu innovation for the U.S., said that breakfast accounts for 25 percent of McDonald's' domestic sales, noting that it "had been a while" since the chain focused on "talking to customers" about breakfast.
"We took our eye off the ball on breakfast," Chief Financial Officer Kevin Ozan said at a May investor conference. "With everything else going on, we just lost a little focus on that breakfast day part."
The muffin toppers join other classic breakfast items like hot cakes, hash browns and the McMuffin, though only time will tell if the marketing ploy will do its job.
While McDonald's shares reached an all-time high in January, they are now down more than 10 percent, a number that could possibly be accounted for by the fact that a number of the restaurant's competitors have begun offering breakfast items of their own.
Taco Bell began offering breakfast in 2014 and now sells doughnut bites, hashbrowns and egg tacos, among other items. Jack in the Box Inc. currently offers an all-day breakfast menu and Canadian chain Tim Hortons is also considering moving to an all-day breakfast option as well.
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