McDonald’s looks to sell muffin tops
IN A bid to claw back customers who are going elsewhere for their breakfast fix, McDonald's is looking at a ploy lifted straight from a 1997 episode of American sitcom, Seinfeld.
The fast food chain in the US, according to Bloomberg News, is considering selling "just the muffin top" during the morning rush - which has had plummeting sales in the American market since introducing its all-day breakfast menu.
McDonald's has tried offering coffee and a 160-calorie blueberry muffin top to customers in Baltimore - an idea that may seem all too familiar.
Selling only the upper part of the muffin was an idea hatched by Elaine Benes, the Seinfeld character played by Julia Louis-Dreyfus in 1997.
The problem on the episode was what to do with the remainder of the muffins (known as the stump). In the episode, Elaine tried donating them to a soup kitchen, which rejected them because they too just wanted the best bit - the tops.
Social media users were quick to jump on the concept, with some suggesting the writers of the '90s hit TV show should be entitled to some form of compensation.
Why only get the muffin top when you can just buy a muffin and get the top PLUS the rest of the muffin? https://t.co/k3V4D9V162— jenn (@jenncelona) June 26, 2018
Elaine's gonna sue McDonald's for stealing her muffin top idea— holy molet (@oheyjxlie) June 26, 2018
Others, however, saw the ploy as only expanding a customer's waistline, suggesting the fast food chain had already given out enough muffin tops over the years.
But while the menu item is welcome, there is confusion about what will happen to the discarded stumps.
Around the world, McDonald's is losing money, and it's the drop at breakfast that's leaving bosses scrambling for a solution.
In the US, the fast-food chain has identified lost breakfast customers as the main culprit to dwindling sales and lost market share.
"We took our eye off the ball on breakfast," chief financial officer Kevin Ozan said at a May investor conference, as published on The Financial Post.
"With everything else going on, we just lost a little focus on that breakfast day part."
According to Linda VanGosen, vice president of menu innovation for the US, breakfast is the most profitable part of the day for the chain. After reaching an all-time high in January, McDonald's shares in the US are down more than 10 per cent.
But in the Australian market, the golden arches are flush with cash.
Global profits at the burger giant jumped 13 per cent to almost $2 billion, earlier this year - with Macca's making a motza from a fast food innovation - premium burgers - pioneered in Australia.
McDonald's president and chief executive officer Steve Easterbrook said on Monday that revenue was up 5.5 per cent to $US5.1 billion ($A6.9 billion) in the first quarter of 2018 with profits increasing 13 per cent to $US1.4 billion ($A1.9 billion).
According to Vice, the answer could be within our online digital strategy.
"McDonald's is on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. They've got their own app with a GPS telling you where the nearest store is. This all makes them seem fun but more importantly, accessible," according to Dr Melissa Stoneham, deputy director of the WA Public Health Advocacy Institute.
McDonald's has long seen Australia as the place to test international promotions, beginning in 1993 when the first McCafe was rolled out in Melbourne. And in November last year, Australia was the first to receive McDonald's new global app, which offers customers a loyalty rewards program and custom-made burgers. Along with the app, McDonald's revamped its social media presence and introduced the "Create your Taste" menu, months before it appeared in the US.
News.com.au has contacted McDonald's Australia to see if the #MuffinTops will be appearing Down Under.