Most of us are used to pancakes, waffles, eggs, and bacon for breakfast, but McDonald’s takes breakfast to a whole new level. Beyond their Egg McMuffins and Hash Browns, McDonald’s also serves chicken McMuffins with breaded chicken. If that sounds a little out of left field, you’ll be even more surprised with our top 10 untold truths of McDonald’s breakfast.
Breakfast McChicken “healthier” than the sausage versions
At the start of the year, McDonald’s introduced the Chicken McGriddle and McChicken Biscuit — two breakfast sandwiches with a crispy McChicken patty. The McChicken Biscuit uses a buttery biscuit in place of typical burger buns or an English muffin, whereas the Chicken McGriddle places the patty in between two pancakes. If chicken in the morning wasn’t weird enough for you, how about chicken between pancakes?! Although consuming poultry in the hours of the A.M. may seem weird for some, it’s actually not too out of the ordinary for other places around the world. These sandwiches are a little high in sodium and the McChicken Biscuit is particularly high in saturated fat, but they are actually a better option than their sausage counterparts. If these aren’t available at your location, McDonald’s also released the Chicken McMuffin: a chicken patty with mayo and a slice of American cheese sandwiched between buttered English muffins. Chicken for breakfast — who would’ve thought?
McDonald’s breakfast was only added in the 70s
While McDonald’s was founded in 1940, breakfast only became an option in the early 1970s. One of the franchise owners, Herb Peterson, wanted to be able to open his restaurants in the morning but assumed no one would come around that early for a burger and fries. So, he decided to invent a breakfast that would still fall under the umbrella of “fast food” and created the Egg McMuffin: a toasted English muffin with egg, bacon, and melted cheese. It took three whole years for the chain to officially add the sandwich to their menu because it was so different from what the restaurant was known for. By 1973 it had become a staple on the menu, and by 1976, McDonald’s had introduced a full breakfast menu. Peterson’s intentions were well-received because, by 1981, breakfast accounted for a surprising 18% of McDonald’s total revenue. We have Herb Peterson to thank for the expanded chain’s breakfast menu; it was the success of his sandwich that kickstarted the whole thing!
McDonald’s all-day breakfast
All-day breakfast was a huge customer demand before it finally launched in 2015, and for good reason. Breakfast is not only the most important meal of the day, but it’s also arguably the tastiest! You can now order breakfast at McDonald’s no matter the time of day or night. (Hot cakes for supper, here we come!) In fact, one study revealed that McDonald’s breakfast was most frequently purchased around lunchtime. Most of these customers also ordered lunch menu items with their breakfast. It seems this way, the clientele was happy and McDonald’s also saw profits rise. When it debuted, McDonald’s breakfast was increasingly popular in the U.S. By 1987, a quarter of all breakfasts that were consumed outside of people’s homes were from the restaurant. So it’s no wonder the chain’s breakfast is so popular, especially in today’s busy, fast-paced environment.
No burgers in the morning
For those who work night shifts, and are wanting a McDonald’s supper while the rest of the world is just waking up, this entry is for you. As of now, you can only get non-breakfast McDonald’s menu items after 10:30 A.M. Part of the reason for this is that the chain claims customer demand isn’t large enough, despite the thousands of tweets asking for early-morning Big Macs. According to a former McDonald’s employee, the request for burgers in the morning stretches as far back as the 70’s, when the Egg McMuffin was first created. As the breakfast menu expanded, employees had to cook both menu items on the same equipment but at different temperatures. Eggs don’t cook at the same temperature as burger patties, for example. In 2012, when McDonald’s was asked about the absence of morning burgers, the restaurant confirmed there simply isn’t enough grill space. However, in the same response, the food chain gave this same reasoning for why they didn’t offer all-day breakfast at the time. McDonald’s now does offer all-day breakfast which they launched due to strong customer demand. So, it might be worth getting out those metaphorical pitchforks (and real forks, of course) and showing McDonald’s some enthusiasm for early-morning burgers and fries.
The hotcakes are alarmingly unhealthy
Who doesn’t love pancakes — sorry, hotcakes — for breakfast? Next time you’re craving them, you might be better off sticking with a good ol’ fashioned homemade recipe… or maybe just a box mix. If you’re insistent on McDonald’s hotcakes hitting the spot, however, then here’s the disturbing nutritional information. A single order of hotcakes with butter and syrup clocks in at an extravagant 600 calories. Just as a refresher, the average male between the ages of 19 and 30 needs about 2,400 calories a day, depending on their lifestyle. And that’s not all — if you happen to start off your day with the caloric horror show that is McDonald’s “Big Breakfast” (scrambled eggs, a sausage patty, biscuits, hash browns, and syrup) with hotcakes, you’re looking at 1340 calories. Yikes! Even so, the greatest disappointment of this meal has to be the maple syrup — or lack thereof. The syrup isn’t maple at all! It’s actually just flavored corn syrup, which probably isn’t surprising to the majority of people, but it really makes a difference when it comes to flapjacks. Despite this downfall, McDonald’s prides themselves on their inclusion of real butter with their hotcakes, so at least we can look forward to that!
Fresh eggs are only in the Egg McMuffin
Each item on McDonald’s breakfast menu that comprises eggs is made a little differently. Generally, eggs that meet requirements are sent directly to McDonald’s locations, while those that don’t are mixed with other ingredients like modified starch, salt, and citric acid. These eggs will be made into what is called the “folded egg” that is used in biscuit, bagel, and McGriddle sandwiches.Alternatively, their “Big Breakfast” scrambled eggs are packed in liquid form with an added preservative and cooked on-site for the first time with butter. Egg McMuffins, on the other hand, are made with freshly cracked eggs. The eggs are cracked into a metal egg ring in order to keep the right shape for the sandwich. These are called “round eggs” and you can order them on any breakfast sandwich to ensure you’re getting fresh eggs, as opposed to the precooked or prepackaged liquid egg (you’re welcome).
McDonald’s aiming to use only cage-free eggs
In an effort to support farmers and the well-being of livestock, McDonald’s is making progress towards using only cage-free eggs in restaurants in the U.S., U.K., Canada, France, Germany, and Australia. In 2015, less than one percent of the U.S.’s supply chain of eggs was cage-free. Now, they make up to 33 percent, which rounds out to 726 million eggs. By 2025, the fast-food chain hopes to source 100 percent of its eggs cage-free which will equal 2.2 billion eggs. According to one veterinarian, cage-free barns means easier observation of and care for the birds. Chickens are housed in an open environment where they are free to engage in natural behaviours: perching, dustbathing, jumping and flying. The farms provide special training and education for the staff and are adopting new technology, which means an increased dedication to the care of the birds. Currently, 14,000 McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. are receiving these ethically sourced eggs.
McDonald’s Canada coffee beans are ethically sourced
Who doesn’t love a fresh, hot brew of coffee in the early mornings? McDonald’s Canada recently partnered with the Rainforest Alliance in order to ensure their McCafé is made and served with 100 percent Rainforest Alliance Certified coffee beans. If you visit a McDonald’s location in Canada, look forward to the reassurance that your coffee is made with ethically sourced arabica beans. They are grown and harvested according to rigorous standards implemented to protect forests, wildlife, and support other coffee farmers and harvesters around the world. This means they are paid a fair wage, have access to healthcare, clean water and sanitation, and their children can stay in school longer. McCafé’s menu offers a large range of coffee beverages to choose from including: lattes, cappuccinos, americanos, espresso, mochas, and, of course, its Premium Roast Brewed Coffee which you can get hot or iced.
Breakfast options around the world are pretty different
If you’re a frequent traveller, you may have noticed the different international options at the restaurant that you can’t get in North America. Australia offers an English Brekkie Wrap, which is essentially a tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, a sausage patty, bacon, and BBQ sauce. New Zealand’s Georgie Pie Bacon ’N’ Egg comprises bacon and scrambled eggs baked into a pie crust. Saudia Arabia offers Halloumi Muffins, with Halloumi being a type of cheese that’s common in Middle Eastern dishes. These muffins are halal and vegetarian — they are basically the Saudia Arabian version of North America’s Egg McMuffin with halloumi, lettuce, tomato, and olive paste. In Hong Kong, you can actually get a bowl of twisty pasta for breakfast. It comes in either chicken broth or tonkatsu broth and is topped with egg or sausage or both. Some honorable mentions include Egypt’s McFalafel, Thailand’s pork porridge, and Malaysia’s chicken porridge. When it comes to breakfast, McDonald’s has the tastes of the world covered, no matter where you are.
McDonald’s Canada is working hard to go green
Recently, McDonald’s has acknowledged its environmental impact on air, land, and water, particularly in its supply chain. The chain has since been working towards its goal to make its packaging and production more sustainable. In 2020, they are aiming to source all of their fiber-based packaging from recycled material or forests where no deforestation occurs. The food chain is also swapping out their cups for ones that use less plastic. The McCafé beverage cups will use 20% less material than they previously did. McDonald’s is also focusing on reducing pesticides on potatoes, as well as on crops. The most notable change, and the one many are most excited about, is their commitment to advance a more sustainable beef production. They claim that they are striving to improve environmental practices when it comes to the production of beef, in turn bettering the livelihoods of farmers and positively contributing to animal health and welfare. They are also unveiling two “Green Concept Restaurants” in London, Ontario and Vancouver, BC, which will serve as testing locations for new economically friendlier initiatives. McDonald’s has also implemented some new measures to reduce their carbon footprint globally. They introduced 20 percent smaller napkins produced with recycled fiber, swapped the McWrap carton for a wrapper, removed the foam from the breakfast platter and gravy bowl, and discarded the outer layer of paper around their small coffee cup. So you can worry a little less about contributing to environmental pollution when you enjoy McDonald’s breakfast!