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Love it or hate it, McDonald's is seeing more customers with all-day breakfast

Lawrence Lewitinn
·Lawrence Lewitinn

McDonald's (MCD) franchisees may not be happy about all-day breakfast, but customers are loving it, according to the latest data from Foursquare.

“McDonald's should be quite happy," said Foursquare chief operating officer Jeff Glueck "We're seeing a significant lift of about 9% in foot traffic to McDonald's U.S. locations. There are 14,000 locations, so 9% more people walking into every McDonald's location on average – that's pretty significant.”

Courtesy of Foursquare
Courtesy of Foursquare

The latest move by the Golden Arches was meant to compete with the likes of Taco Bell and Starbucks (SBUX), but the breakfast boost hasn't been as big for McDonald's as it was for Taco Bell, at least initially.

Yum Brands’ (YUM) Taco Bell saw a 25% increase in foot-traffic when it first began serving breakfast items throughout the day in 2014. Though that bump up was significantly more than McDonald’s recent 9% boost, Taco Bell had not been in the breakfast business before, whereas Mickey D’s has been a player for a while.

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Foursquare has been using data from its 55 million users to analyze market trends, such as the impact of all-day breakfast. Foursquare users can “check-in” at locations actively, but Foursquare also tracks its users’ passively at any of the locations in its global database.

“Thanks to Wi-Fi triangulation and lots of other data science, GPS, and Bluetooth beacons, we are able to identify when a phone spent five minutes in one of these sixty five million businesses,” Glueck explained. “The data really becomes the world's largest foot traffic panel in over one hundred countries.“

Foursquare has used its information to make forecasts, accurately predicting that Apple (AAPL) would sell 13 million iPhones the weekend the iPhone 6s was released.

For McDonald's, Glueck expects in visits to track the same pattern that Taco Bell experienced last year, albeit by a lower magnitude. “If we follow the same trajectory as Taco Bell, this might fall down over the next couple months to a 1% to 2% increase in foot traffic,” he said, describing the move as a short-term win for the company.

Courtesy of Foursquare
Courtesy of Foursquare

“Whether it's a game changer the way Taco Bell’s launch was, that remains to be seen, he said. "It may not have a game-changing impact long term, but it's really, really nice to see this lift in visits after about seven quarters of same store sales declines. This is a real shot in the arm for McDonald’s.”

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