McDonald's Perception Scores Lifted By All Day Breakfast

YouGov BrandIndex Says Golden Arches At Highest Level Since Late 2013

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McDonald's Egg McMuffin
McDonald's Egg McMuffin Credit: McDonald's

A new survey suggests McDonald's is winning back adult patrons, as the struggling fast-food giant posted its highest perception scores since late 2013, gains that may in part stem from its decision to offer breakfast all day.

The findings released Wednesday by YouGov BrandIndex measured responses over the course of 2015 from about 22,000 adults 18 and over. YouGov said positive sentiment about the chain grew strongly around Sept. 24, roughly three weeks after McDonald's said it would embark on an All Day Breakfast strategy and nearly two weeks before the chain officially began that service.

YouGov, which does consumer perception research, said McDonald's had been below the fast-food sector's average perception score for more than a year. Then, its score rose to the top of the industry around Sept. 24.

The firm said responses from frequent breakfast eaters -- those who eat breakfast at a restaurant at least once a month -- suggested particularly encouraging findings for McDonald's in the areas of buzz, general impression and purchase consideration.

The purchase consideration scores are important for McDonald's, which is trying to reverse a prolonged sales slump. YouGov said it found that currently 46% of frequent breakfast eaters said they would consider McDonald's the next time they buy fast food, up from 39% in early August. The average fast-food chain has a 15% response in that area, the firm said.

YouGov said 7,000 breakfast eaters were interviewed as part of its research and that McDonald's is not a client.

McDonald's has made a variety of changes to woo diners, such as updating the look of many restaurants, offering more customization and pledging to serve only eggs that are raised cage-free in the next few years, once there are enough to supply the chain.

Still, the fast feeder continues to face perception challenges from a variety of groups. For example, it is the main target of an ongoing union-backed push for $15 minimum hourly wages.

Also, on Wednesday the National Educators Association and more than 50 state and local teachers unions publicly pushed on McDonald's to end McTeacher's Nights fundraisers. In those locally-organized events, teachers and school administrators work behind the counter for a few hours, and a percentage of sales go to the school. The push to end McTeacher's Nights is being organized by Corporate Accountability International and Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. In a statement, the groups called the program "the corporation's most exploitative form of kid-targeted marketing."

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