The Real Reason McDonald’s Won’t Serve Burgers in the Morning

Nobody does breakfast like McDonald’s.

You may not have to rush to McDonald’s in the morning to get breakfast anymore, but, there was a time when students across America dragged themselves out of bed before 10 a.m. to nurse their hangovers with Egg McMuffins and greasy hash browns. And believe it or not, they did get up that early just for McDonald’s. Chances are it was better than your dining hall food, and it was probably cheaper too, given the cost of higher education.

These days you can get Mickey D’s breakfast around the clock, and all is right with the world. But this is just the latest addition to their breakfast food history, spiced with amazing innovations and controversies alike. In fact, there’s probably quite a lot you don’t know about McDonald’s breakfast. Here are some of the more surprising facts about your favorite meal from the Golden Arches.

It’s been around for a while

Like most McDonald’s innovations, selling breakfast items was the idea of a franchisee. Jim Dellegatti, inventor of the Big Mac and franchise operator, wanted to have his restaurant open during morning hours. So in 1970, he started selling coffee and other breakfast items during the four hour window when most McDonald’s were closed. By 1971, he was doing 5 percent of his business during this shift.

But it was another franchisee who really put breakfast on the map for the fast food industry — Herb Peterson, who operated a McDonald’s in Santa Barbara, California. He asked Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s System, Inc., to come visit his restaurant over a Christmas holiday. It was there that he planned to show Kroc a new item he had been working on: an egg sandwich served with cheese and a slice of Canadian bacon. According to company lore, Kroc liked it so much he ate two in a row, then brought the idea back to executives. This humble sandwich, which was officially launched shortly after senior management were introduced to it, became the cornerstone of the McDonald’s breakfast menu. By 1976 McDonald’s had a full, established breakfast menu, years before the competition got into the game.

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