Devesh Gupta

McDonald's offers free breakfast on National Breakfast Day

On March 18, McDonald's gave out free breakfasts across 34 markets of Asia in a bid to create awareness about its breakfast menu.

India was among the 34 countries of Asia where fast food giant McDonald's celebrated March 18 as National Breakfast Day and gave out five million free McMuffins to all customers who walked in between 8 am and 11 am.

McDonald's offers free breakfast on National Breakfast Day
McDonald's offers free breakfast on National Breakfast Day
The endeavour was taken up to promote the breakfast business in Asia, where breakfast out of home is a very small category (about 4 per cent of store sales in India) as most people consume breakfast at home. This is completely different from the developed world, where the corresponding figure is above 20 per cent in countries such as Japan, USA and Hong Kong.

McDonald's gave out both vegetarian and non-vegetarian McMuffins to customers at 5,000 outlets across these markets. This included in-store, take-away and drive-thru stores. The campaign was extended to all McDonald's outlets that serve breakfast. Each store gave away 1,000 McMuffins for free to the consumers who came in between 8 am and 11 am.

In India, the campaign was extended to 150 outlets that serve breakfast. The fast food giant has a total of 300 stores across the country.

Vikram Bakshi, JV partner and managing director, McDonald's India, says, "Through this campaign, we want to position McDonald's as a place where you can go at any time, right from the morning when you have your breakfast to late in the evening when you are coming from a movie, and have a quick bite and leave. The idea is to create awareness that we are available right from 8 in the morning to 1 am in the morning. We want to tell our customers that McDonald's is available and it is like a convenience store for you. We are penetrating the large metros and then moving to smaller markets."

McDonald's plans to scale its breakfast business by 30 per cent year on year, taking it to 35 per cent of the total business within a decade in India.

In the coming three years, it aims to extend its breakfast business to 90 per cent of the stores across the country. Today, only half of its stores offer breakfast as a large number of its outlets is in malls that have specific opening and closing times.

McDonald's offers free breakfast on National Breakfast Day
Bakshi says, "In the coming days, we need to ensure that most upfront stores have a direct entry so that we can deliver breakfast. Also, for all the new outlets that we open, we will serve in the mornings."

Breakfast Menu is a brand extension of McDonald's, apart from Delivery, Drive-thru's, Extended hours and kiosks. As of date, most outlets provide only one or two brand extensions; however, the fast food giant aims to bring up the number to three in the coming years.

About 50 per cent of the total spends on brand extensions will go to the breakfast business. It will also offer delivery on breakfast in a while, along with new products that it plans to launch soon.

McDonald's also plans to scale up the number of outlets in India, beginning with East India. It will adopt a cluster wise expansion strategy, concentrating and consolidating in one region before moving to another. The fast food giant plans to target Kolkata as the next cluster, before it heads to Chandigarh and Ludhiana.

According to McDonald's, National Breakfast Day is just the beginning of its campaign to promote the breakfast business. The campaign will cover all media channels except television.

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