The burger giant is hoping smaller menus will speed up service.
Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

By their very nature, fast food restaurants face an internal struggle: How do you give customers everything they want while also staying, you know, fast? Along those lines, though all-day breakfast may have been a boon for McDonald’s when it was first introduced back in 2015, the company now admits that, as some of the initial benefits have worn off, all those extra menu items throughout the day might be more than some franchises can handle. As a result, all-day breakfast menus may go the way of the late-night menu and start to look smaller at some McDonald’s locations.

McDonald’s has announced plans to let individual franchises determine which breakfast menu items they will continue offering throughout the day once the typical breakfast service wraps at 10:30 a.m., according to the Wall Street Journal. The report specifies that locations can’t choose to ax all-day breakfast altogether. However, the burger giant is hoping that this additional flexibility will let its restaurants hone in on the breakfast items that are most popular in their own area which in turn can streamline operations and speed up service. Of course, this also means your once-reliable 4 p.m. Sausage McGriddle fix could now vary region by region or even location by location.

Slower service has been a growing concern for McDonald’s recently. Back in January, MarketWatch reported that analysts cited slower drive-thru times caused by more complex menus as one of the reasons why same-store sales growth has been lacking as of late. Interestingly, these analysts were also concerned that the ability to get breakfast all day has reduced the number of customers who show up during actual breakfast hours. Following that logic, taking some items off the all-day breakfast menu could potentially have the additional benefit of driving customers back to the morning hours if those are the only times these items are available.

Regardless, McDonald’s told the WSJ that it hopes smaller all-day breakfast menus will actually make customers happier. “This refresh follows a series of tests to improve kitchen execution and the overall experience for customers,” the company was quoted as saying. Or to put it another way, you can’t have your all-day McMuffins and eat them fast, too.