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McDonald’s Gets Serious About 24/7

Filed under Advertising, Branding, breakfast, Marketing, Operations

If it sometimes seems that McDonald’s has grown so large that it owns the sun, the moon and the stars, well, it’s so. Last month, McDonald’s Corp. filed separate federal trademark applications for the moon/stars and sun depictions that, back to back, form the logo for its 24-hour operations. The chain is beginning to incorporate this day/night logo into TV advertising, floating it above the Golden Arches at the close of some new spots.

The move to protect that late-night logo isn’t surprising, but it indicates how important in the long-term those hours are to McDonald’s and others. During its Q3 earnings call in January, outgoing CEO Jim Skinner credited the chain’s strong sales gains in part to its strategy of “broadening accessibility through extended hours.”

McDonald’s has increased the number of U.S. stores open around the clock to 40% (up from 36% a year ago), with 89% open by 5 a.m. The midnight-to-5-a.m. period is McDonald’s fastest-growing daypart, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this year. Burger King, Jack in the Box and others are expanding late-night hours as well. Dunkin’ Donuts has about 2,300 24/7 locations.

McDonald’s knows that the moves into breakfast by Wendy’s and Taco Bell set them up for 24/7 operations in the future. Wendy’s CEO Emil Brolick told analysts last month that breakfast “creates the incremental opportunity for considering 24-hour drive-through operations.”


This Wednesday (April 18), McDonald’s introduces the much anticipated McBaguette for a six-week run at about 1,230 stores in France. This isn’t really news: the Wall Street Journal told us it was coming back in February. That won’t keep memory-challenged media from wide-eyed rediscovery of it, of course.

The burger-on-a-baguette (with Emmental cheese and mustard, shown at right) is part of the trend to localized European menus that this site in October 2010 called “burger nationalism.” Localizing menus is a companion to localizing sourcing, such as serving only UK-raised beef in McDonald’s UK units.

What will be interesting to watch is how well the McBaguette sells if it is, as expected, put on the menu at €4.50. That’s about $5.88 U.S. and at the high end even for Europe’s more-expensive McDonald’s menus.


◙ Also this week: Wendy’s today (April 16) will launch its full “Now That’s Better” ad campaign in full. We got a taste of it earlier with the new Spicy Guacamole Chicken Club TV spot, but now multiple channels (online, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) get put into play this week.  The idea of a “defining moment” also is expected to be part of the new pitch as Wendy’s tries to show just why its fresh-never-frozen beef is better than competitors’.

8 Responses to McDonald’s Gets Serious About 24/7

  1. Not 24 Hours

    Mc Donalds is definitely NOT open 24 hours a day like it claims. This is very false & misleading false advertisement.

    So. I went to my local mc donalds at 1am hungry to find that the door was locked. I went to the other such luck. Then, I had to go through the drive thru..and they told me that they close their doors at 12am, and also don’t accept pedestrians through the drive thru either.

    Something tells me that they should change their misleading false advertisement ’24/7 mcdonalds’ sign, and change it to ’12/7 mcdonalds for pedestrians’ and ’24/7 mcdonalds drive thru’ or something like that..How contradictory. They shouldn’t have a 24/7 sign if it isn’t 24/7 for all. They need a sign saying ’12/7′ too because that’s what it is.

    ..How annoying. Why say something, even buy rights for a logo, yet do another. I don’t understand this bad company practice, and they should really change something about it..

  2. Really? If your McDonald’s is selling food through the drive-thru, it’s open just like it claims. If you don’t have a car, that’s not McDonald’s problem.

  3. Dave

    The local McDonald’s by me is NOT open 24 hours like advertised….when you go through the drive-thru window from 3am-5am you will get a short msg. stating that they will be closed for 30mins. cleaning! I know for a fact that they are closed for at least 2hours…..I have learned to get my coffee from the diner next to them which IS open 24hours!

  4. Tim

    This is true for a bunch of McDonald’s across Chicagoland.. I’ve been mislead so many times by these signs and talked to very rudely by the employees.. The sign says 24 hrs that means 24 hrs not a minute less.. I’ve heard every lie and excuse from these people.. Get it together McDonald’s.. You have the money change the sign to what is accurate.. Nobody respects a liar..

  5. Tim

    And to the guy walking thru the drive thru.. I don’t know where you’re from but no drive thru in the Chicagoland area would ever take an order from a pedestrian walking thru the drive thru.. For any place at that McDonald’s or anywhere..

  6. haedan

    I’ve had the same problem: I went to 3 different mcdonalds and they all said they were closed when they had the 24 hours signs.

  7. Betty Glosson

    This is not in reply to 24/7……that doesn’t effect me one way or the other….however, I do have a question….

    Why are some of the new McDonalds being built without playgrounds?
    The new McDonalds here in Dublin, Ga. is one of them…..McDonald’s has always been about children….and prices that any family can afford…..please reply…thanks…bg

  8. You should ask the McDonald’s in Dublin. But several factors are considered by operators in deciding layouts, including area demographics and liability insurance costs.