McDonald's brings back bagels as breakfast staple

MONEY & BUSINESS: McDonald’s brings back bagels as breakfast staple



Call it a schmear campaign.

Thousands of McDonald’s locations have put bagels back on the menu — after the company discontinued the breakfast item four years ago.

The Chicago-based fast-food giant – which earlier this week announced a partnership with Krispy Kreme doughnuts – has seen a surprising surge in demand for the doughy delight, according to franchise owners.

McDonald’s removed breakfast bagels from its menu in 2020. McDonald’s

“I am hearing from operators who just rolled out that they are selling more bagels in one day than an entire week five years ago,” one franchisee told The Post. “That is crazy, nostalgia is real.”

The bagels began appearing on menus quietly last year in just a couple of markets, but they had “phenomenal success” and now “everyone wants to replicate that,” the franchisee added.

A public spreadsheet lists locations from California to even New York, the bagel capital of the world, as more and more McDonald’s customers seek out the bagels.

No official launch is planned, a McDonald’s rep told The Post on Friday.

“Though Bagel Sandwiches are not available nationwide, they are a regional offering and currently available at participating McDonald’s in select markets,” the spokesperson said.

McDonald’s stopped serving bagels as a standalone item on its all-day breakfast menu in 2020.

At the time, they were considered a flop or a “low-performing item” that was expendable as McDonald’s simplified its menu to focus on its core items, the franchisee told The Post.

McDonald’s customers across the country have been posting photos of their bagel finds across the country. TikTok/cynthiaalovexo

But now about a third of the nearly 14,000 US locations have put them back on the menu, according to the franchisee, who did not want to be identified.

Fans heralded the return on social media, with one Facebook group — titled “Where’s my McDonald’s Bagel” — amassing more than 12,000 members.

“ARLINGTON, TX she’s BACK and soo GOOD,” posted one member this week.

One person posted a photo showing the bagel being substituted as the breading in an Egg McMuffin.

Thousands of McDonald’s franchisees have quietly brought bagels back, starting last year, according to social media posts. Nathan Papes/Springfield News-Leader / USA TODAY NETWORK

“Just FYI, AFTER I had already paid, the cashier mentioned I could’ve used the McDonald’s app and could’ve gotten the bagel for $1.50!!! They have it under Rewards on the app. You’ll click on $1.50 breakfast sandwich…it expires in 3 days..I’ll be going back tomorrow to get it for $1.50! Lol,” posted another customer.

This bagel boom comes as McDonald’s teamed up with Krispy Kreme, announcing that all of the fast-food giant’s 13,500 eateries in the US will sell the doughnuts by 2026.

The partnership will begin later this year, when customers can order three varieties, including the original glazed, the chocolate iced with sprinkles and the chocolate iced kreme filled.

After a lull of new menu items, McDonald’s appears to be gearing up to add more items, experts say.

The fast food giant said in February that low-income customers have all but stopped dining at its restaurants because of food inflation. REUTERS

“The last few years we have just been doing flavor extensions with sauces, but we haven’t introduced a bunch of new ingredients and essentially a new line of breakfast sandwiches,” the franchisee said.

The company has also been lambasted by customers complaining about its affordability. One posted a receipt for an $18 Big Mac meal while others recently decried the lack of dollar menu items. 

McDonald’s chief executive Chris Kempczinsk said during an earnings call in February that the company had all but lost low-income diners or those earning less than $45,000 a year due to food inflations pressures.

“I think what you’re going to see as you head into 2024 is probably more attention to what I would describe as affordability,” Kempczinski said on the earnings call with Wall Street analysts.



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