Kale Yes: Can Breakfast Bowls and Chobani Wake Up McDonald’s?


McDonald's breakfast bowls Chobani

McDonald’s initially tested all-day breakfast in Southern California, expanded it in October and has since rode it recently to its biggest boost of sales momentum in the last few years.

Now the brand is hoping to turbo-charge its all-day breakfast commitment by testing healthier “breakfast bowls” in its SoCal market, which encompasses about 800 locations. Whether this experiment ultimately expands, however, depends on how customers take to the menu.

Three new breakfast bowls can be found on the region’s menu under a new section dubbed “Simple Delights,” along with two Chobani co-branded treats.

One bowl consists of kale, spinach, bruschetta and cheese; another is based on egg whites and turkey sausage. The third bowl is heartier, with scrambled eggs, chicken chorizo, shredded cheddar jack cheese and pico de gallo, plus a hash brown on the side.

McDonald's Chobani

Also new and being tested withe the SoCal outlets is a McDonald’s co-branded partnership with Chobani Greek-style yogurts for use in its parfaits and McCafe smoothies in the region, which already offers the Create Your Taste customized menu platform.

“Primarily, it’s our way of saying we accept that McDonald’s is changing, and it’s because we are listening to the customer,” Max Gallegos, McDonald’s SoCal region marketing director, told the San Diego Union-Tribune“The breakfast bowl is one of those things that bubbled up. While customers love all-day breakfast, they said they would love a portable solution in the way of a breakfast bowl.”

McDonald's breakfast bowls kale

But, Gallegos cautioned, even if the bowl succeeds in its healthy eating-oriented SoCal test, that doesn’t mean the items will join staples such as the Egg McMuffin in McDonald’s all-day breakfast menu, even in the region. “We want to make sure there’s positive consumer feedback,” he said.

Even ultimately, the squeaky-healthy bowls could end up just becoming regional fixtures, part of McDonald’s strategy under new CEO Steve Easterbrook of creating greater regional differentiation as well as customization.

“You may see lobster rolls somewhere else in the country,” Gallegos told the Union-Tribune. “It’s customizing our  menus to make things more regional, whereas before it was more standard across the country. That’s what’s exciting to us.”