Saturday, October 24, 2015

A Disclaimer For All Day Breakfast

Last weekend, I enjoyed my first ever afternoon Egg McMuffin.  My visit to McDonald's for all day breakfast paralleled most of my visits to the Golden Arches; an unplanned stop where I happen to be hungry and a McDonald's just happen to be a few hundred yards away.  On that lethargic Saturday of errand running, McDonald's won out because the eggs and Canadian bacon were still sizzling well past sunrise.  And the novelty of all day breakfast didn't hurt in this decision.  

I stepped up to the counter and ordered my go-to; an Egg McMuffin and a hash brown.  The cashier, almost reflexively, quipped that hash brown were not served all day at this location and my only option was french fries and that didn't have the same appeal.

I discovered that day I should have read the fine print on McDonald's All Day Breakfast. About 10 percent of its locations exclude this deep fried delight from their all day breakfast menu because these kitchens don't have enough space for an additional deep fryer. It was an insurmountable operational challenge for McDonald's; however, the cost of disappointing a few would not outweigh the benefit of pleasing so many.       
This real problem is how McDonald's is choosing to combat this pitfall. To compensate for customers coming in for breakfast items and being let down, McDonald's is now promoting the fact that its all day breakfast service is limited.  "Menu items vary by location.  Deliciousness doesn't." is truly a disclaimer spun off into a slogan.

This slogan does more harm to the brand than good.  Although disclaimers and fine print provide a legal safety net for businesses, they incline customers to question what they deem to be true about a brand.  For McDonald's, its customers will have to wonder if their favorites are served all day. 

Branding is about creating an strong identity.  The best brands create a powerful authenticity by giving their customers a definitive identity they can know to be true.

As always, thank you for reading and for sharing. 

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