The saga of the discontinued All Day Breakfast at McDonald's may have had a silver lining all along. After the fast-food giant rolled back the popular offering during the pandemic, limiting breakfast purchases to morning hours only, customers were disappointed, to put it mildly. In fact, the one complaint Mickey D's seems to be receiving most frequently on Twitter is about wanting the beloved All Day Breakfast back.
But there have been clues along the way that point to the fact that All Day Breakfast was never completely gone. Several months ago, a local Florida newspaper reported on at least 15 locations that were still serving the beloved offering in the Sunshine state. And recently, McDonald's itself confirmed as much on Twitter. "All Day Breakfast is still available at participating locations," the company responded to a fan. (Related: The Saddest Restaurant Closures In Your State.)
This only brings about more questions: What are the locations that are still serving All Day Breakfast? And why are some restaurants doing it while others aren't?
We decided to investigate by conducting a phone canvas of McDonald's locations across the country. And our hopes were up as soon as the information started to pour in from the West Coast restaurants, confirming that Florida isn't the only place you can still get a McMuffin in the afternoon.
An employee that answered the phone at a McDonald's in Oxnard, Calif., said assuredly that the location still offered the entire breakfast menu all day long. In fact, he was a bit baffled by the question. He'd just moved from Florida, and all the McDonald's restaurants he knew of there, including the one he'd worked at, were still serving breakfast day and night.
A second location, in Fernley, Nev., responded with a firm yes to the All Day Breakfast question. "The owner just decided," said an employee when asked how long this had been the case.
These findings are promising. If you're willing to do some detective work and a bit of driving, the beloved Mickey D's breakfast is likely within reach at all hours of the day. More broadly, the phone canvas revealed that the chain's current approach to All Day Breakfast varies greatly and is left up to the discretion of the franchisees.
While most locations now operate with the 10:30 or 11 a.m. breakfast cut-off time, like all the locations we were able to reach in New York City, some split the difference, keeping it going until 2 p.m. However, among restaurants serving breakfast in the afternoon, many have restrictions on the menu items available: McMuffins, Hotcakes, and burritos are often available until 2 p.m., for example, but McGriddles hardly ever make the cut past 11 a.m.
In one sample from Salem, Ore., four McDonald's restaurants within five miles of each other handled the meal in different ways: while one spot served the new McCafe pastries—Apple Fritters, Blueberry Muffins, and Cinnamon Rolls—all day, another said that they did not sell any breakfast items at all past 10:30 a.m.
The reason for this may be the simple principle of supply and demand. A department manager at a location in Flagstaff, Ariz. explained that the company's corporate team is working with franchisees to decide which locations should keep the All Day Breakfast on the menu based on where it's most popular.
The switch, he says, is definitely due to how time-intensive breakfast is compared to other meals. Biscuits and McGriddles take around six minutes in the oven, compared to two minutes for other sandwiches. But when it comes to burgers? They're ready in 20 seconds, max. And McDonald's has made it clear that shaving off those precious few minutes from order fulfillment times is one thing they believe sets them apart from the rest.
For more on menu items you won't be able to get at McDonald's, check out 6 Menu Items McDonald's Stopped Selling This Year. And don't forget to sign up for our newsletter to get the latest restaurant news delivered straight to your inbox.