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McDonald's all-day breakfast? Many people would be lovin' it, but ...(+video)

McDonald's all-day breakfast: The possibility is in the news after CEO opens the door to fresh ideas in an interview. But he doesn't commit to widespread rollout of all-day breakfast.

By Staff writer / April 27, 2013

A McDonald's restaurant in Del Mar, Calif. McDonald’s CEO Don Thompson says he'd consider all-day breakfast service.

Mike Blake/REUTERS

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Is McDonald’s about to offer all-day breakfast, borrowing a page from Denny’s, Jack in the Box, and IHOP?

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Could be.

The question is getting some big buzz because McDonald’s chief executive officer Don Thompson said he’s entertaining the idea.

And, well, when this mega restaurant chain is involved, it’s also because there are a lot of people out there who might like to order a McMuffin or a Sausage Burrito at noon or at dinner time.

But for those who might be salivating at the thought, don't hold your breath.

Mr. Thompson didn’t bring the topic up on his own. It came up when he was asked during a CNBC interview Friday:

“Yes we would consider it,” was his reply.

He followed up by saying the company needs to focus on making the most of its existing menu, that it offers all-day breakfast in some global markets, and that it’s looking into “innovative” ways of expanding breakfast hours.

So all-day breakfast is on the company's radar. But it’s been that way for some years now.

Marketing blogger Joseph Yi, at RewardMe.com, recently explained why it might not be in McDonald’s best interest to make pancakes and other items available all day: “The Law of Scarcity states that when a person perceives that something ... they want is in limited quantity [then] the value of the object will be greater than if it were to be abundant.”

Maybe McDonald's could sell more Egg McMuffins by offering them all day, Mr. Yi says. But in the process, it might lose some cachet as the go-to place in the realm of hot fast-food breakfasts. It would give customers less reason to visit a restaurant by 10:30 a.m. (or 11 a.m. in some places).

That doesn’t mean McDonald’s won’t make the all-day plunge. But it may explain why it hasn’t happened yet, and why Thompson didn’t answer the question with a simple “yes” or “I’m lovin’ it.”

Thompson did say the company is trying to be faster on its feet regarding business opportunities.

The company reported a rise in earnings for the latest quarter, but weak revenue growth disappointed investors.

At the company’s innovation center near Chicago, Thompson said “we socialize” ideas that are emerging from markets all around the world. Those include everything from menu options to delivery methods and how to use things like mobile apps and social media to connect with customers.

Globally, breakfast items are a big opportunity.

In a recent conference call with investment analysts, Thompson pledged to “feature even more compelling new products in the United States especially in our four key growth categories of chicken, premium beef, breakfast, and beverages.”

He cited breakfast item Egg White Delight, as well as premium McWraps and a Blueberry Pomegranate Smoothie, as promising menu additions.

Thompson dropped another intriguing hint: He said offering home or workplace delivery is a "big, big opportunity."

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